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US FIGURE SKATERS PREPARING FOR OLYMPICS

Chen, Brown, continue to dominate

Figure+Skater+Nathan+Chen
Figure Skater Nathan Chen

Figure Skater Nathan Chen

commons.wikimedia.com

commons.wikimedia.com

Figure Skater Nathan Chen

Ian Kirk, Staff Writer

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PYEONGCHANG-As the Winter Olympics draw closer, U.S Figure Skating’s star athletes are gearing up for competition. The ISU (International Skating Union) Grand Prix is the ultimate series of events and international competition that gears up for the Olympics, or in non Olympic years, Worlds. The U.S Figure Skating committee will send two or three of its Male, Female, Ice dance, and Pairs athletes to compete at each Grand Prix event. At each event, each U.S team will try to rack up points in order to make the Grand Prix Final in Nagoya, Japan. Points are awarded for placement on the podium, which includes 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place. There are in total six events in the Grand Prix season which include the Rostelecom Cup (Moscow, Russia), Skate Canada (Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada), Cup of China (Beijing, China), NHK Trophy (Osaka, Japan), Internationaux de France (Grenoble, France), and Skate America (Lake Placid, New York).

The U.S athletes have been faring well in the Grand Prix season. The top female athletes including Ashley Wagner, Karen Chen, Mirai Nagasu, and Mariah Bell, are placing very high at their respective events. Karen Chen, the 2017 U.S  National Champion, placed 7th at Skate Canada, which gained her a little amount of points. Ashley Wagner, also competing at the same event, earned the Bronze Medal, giving her over 10 points. She is currently in the running for the Grand Prix Final. Both competitors are scheduled to skate at Skate America. Mirai Nagasu has been landing consistent triple axels across her many events. (A triple axel is a jump that rotates 3 and ½ revolutions in the air. Many women don’t do this jump, as their bodies cannot handle the force.) Although she has this huge advantage, her placements have been mostly off the podium. This may be reflected in her components scores. (Figure Skaters are judged off the IJS system. The IJS (International Judging System) is very technical. To save time, here is a simple explanation. There are technical scores and components scores. Technical scores are scores for the technical elements such as jumps, spins, and footwork sequences. Component scores are artistry, interpretation of the music, and skating ability.) Mariah Bell has also been competing in the Grand Prix season. She has placed 6th and 9th respectively at Rostelecom Cup and NHK trophy.

U.S men have been extremely successful. Nathan Chen, Jason Brown, and Adam Rippon are all gaining placements in the Grand Prix circuit. Nathan Chen, the 2017 U.S National Champion, is in a great spot for the grand prix final. His great 1st place performance at the Rostelecom Cup, (Which was backed up by four quad jumps (Quad Jumps are jumps that spin four times in the air)) , he sits currently in fourth place overall for the Grand Prix Final. His next competition is Skate America. Jason Brown has also been tearing up a storm. Known for his beautiful grace, fluidity, and spins, Jason has the ability to be the best without having the highest technical score. He finished 2nd at Skate Canada, and 4th at the NHK trophy. Adam Rippon, also know for his high component scores, placed 2nd at the NHK trophy. Most of the U.S men are set to compete at Skate America, along with other international superstars.

As the 2018 Olympic Winter Games draw closer, U.S Figure Skating is gearing up its athletes for placement. The governing body of U.S Figure Skating ultimately decides who goes to the Olympic team by placement at Nationals, and track record and consistency of a skater. For example, as skater could win Nationals, but not have placed well through the Grand Prix seasons, Worlds, or other ISU events. This skater has a decreased chance of making it onto the Olympic team. The events that U.S Figure Skating athletes will compete at in the Olympics are the team event, and the individual events, such as Ladies, Men’s, Pairs, and Ice dance.


https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/99/Nathan_Chen_at_2017_US_Figure_Skating_Championships.jpg https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ANathan_Chen_at_2017_US_Figure_Skating_Championships.jpg By Leah Adams (From the author) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]
, via Wikimedia Commons

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US FIGURE SKATERS PREPARING FOR OLYMPICS