Nathan Chen

Gracie Gold, Ashley Wagner
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Grand Prix figure skating assignments announced; Olympic champions absent

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Nathan ChenAshley WagnerKaren Chen and Maia and Alex Shibutani headline Skate America in November, highlighting this fall’s Grand Prix assignments announced Friday.

Gracie Gold is at Cup of China and Internationaux de France, also in November.

U.S. champion Nathan Chen and Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu will both debut at Rostelecom Cup, the first of six Grand Prix events, in late October.

That will mark an early season test for Chen, an 18-year-old who beat Hanyu at the Four Continents Championships at the PyeongChang Olympic venue last February but fell to sixth at worlds won by Hanyu in April.

Chen’s top challengers at Skate America in Lake Placid, N.Y., are world bronze medalist Jin Boyang of China and training partner and 2016 U.S. champion Adam Rippon.

Grand Prix Assignments: Men | Women | PairsIce Dance

Wagner, a three-time U.S. champion coming off her least successful season in six years, and the surprise U.S. champion Karen Chen are both entered in Skate Canada in October and Skate America.

Russian Yevgenia Medvedeva, the two-time reigning world champion, is entered in Rostelecom Cup and NHK Trophy in Japan. She’ll face Olympic bronze medalist Carolina Kostner of Italy in both events, as well as Mariah Bell and Mirai Nagasu, who finished three-four at the U.S. Championships in January.

The two-time U.S. champion Gold, who changed coaches after a disastrous season, will get an up-close look at Russian world junior champion Alina Zagitova at her two events in China and France.

Polina Edmunds, the youngest U.S. competitor across all sports at the Sochi Olympics at age 15, is entered in France as well. Edmunds hasn’t competed since the January 2016 U.S. Championships due to a bone bruise in her right foot.

Sochi Olympic champion Adelina Sotnikova is not entered in any Grand Prix events.

She has not competed since placing sixth at the December 2015 Russian Championships but recently hired four-time Olympic medalist Yevgeny Plushenko as a new coach.

Also absent from the Grand Prix lists are Olympic pairs champions Tatyana Volosozhar and Maksim Trankov after Volosozhar gave birth to their daughter Feb. 16.

The Russian pair hasn’t competed since finishing sixth at the 2016 World Championships, their first time outside the top two in 19 top-level international competitions together.

Sotnikova and Volosozhar and Trankov could still be added to Rostelecom Cup as there are open spots for Russians in each discipline at that event.

Skate America, the biggest annual international event in the U.S., is one month later in this season’s calendar, taking place Thanksgiving weekend.

Here’s the full Grand Prix schedule:

Rostelecom Cup (Moscow) — Oct. 20-22
Skate Canada (Regina) — Oct. 27-29
Cup of China (Beijing) — Nov. 3-5
NHK Trophy (Osaka) — Nov. 10-12
Internationaux de France (Grenoble) — Nov. 17-19
Skate America (Lake Placid) — Nov. 24-26
Grand Prix Final (Nagoya, Japan) — Dec. 7-10

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MORE: Nathan Chen to address mistakes for next season

Nathan Chen ready to rest, then address mistakes for next season

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Nathan Chen finished his breakout season by landing four more quadruple jumps in his free skate at World Team Trophy in Tokyo on Friday.

“It’s great to now be able to get some rest,” the 17-year-old U.S. champion said, according to U.S. Figure Skating. “I’m ready for next season. I think today went well. I need to try more to get into the music and connect with the audience. I made some mistakes today, but I will address them all for next season.”

Chen placed fourth in the free skate at World Team Trophy, where the top six figure skating nations are competing for a team title similar to the Olympic team event.

NBCSN, NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app are airing coverage through Saturday (broadcast schedule here).

World Team Trophy Results

Chen, the youngest U.S. men’s champion since 1966, landed a record five quads in his free skate in winning the U.S. Championships in January and the Four Continents Championships in February.

He attempted six quads at worlds earlier this month, but fell twice en route to a sixth-place finish.

His free skate was comparatively less difficult at World Team Trophy.

Chen stepped out of the landing of one of his four landed quads and doubled a planned quad Salchow. He scored significantly fewer points artistically than the top three men — Olympic and world champion Yuzuru Hanyu and world silver medalist Shoma Uno of Japan and three-time world champion Patrick Chan of Canada.

Chen was second in Thursday’s short program, trailing only Uno.

He would have placed second overall behind Uno in total points, but this being a team event counting the short and long programs as separate results, the final men’s standings are not significant.

Quite a season for Chen, who is the brightest U.S. men’s skater since Evan Lysacek took gold at the 2010 Olympics. Chen managed to break U.S. scoring records after spending nearly half of 2016 off the ice due to hip surgery.

The pairs and women’s free skates, featuring world champion Yevgenia Medvedeva and U.S. champions Ashley Wagner and Karen Chen, will close World Team Trophy on Saturday.

The U.S., seeking its third straight team title, is in second place behind Japan after six of eight programs, but third-place Russia is strongest in the pairs and women’s events.

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MORE: Patrick Chan: Maybe ISU should put limit on quadruple jumps

Yevgenia Medvedeva earns record score, U.S. trails at World Team Trophy

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Russian Yevgenia Medvedeva became the first woman to break 80 points in an international short program to open World Team Trophy on Thursday.

Medvedeva, the two-time reigning world champion, tallied 80.85 points for her short, which included a triple flip-triple toe loop combination. Full results are here.

World Team Trophy is a team event that includes the top six nations from this season — U.S., Russia, Canada, France, Japan and China. Results (but not scores) from men’s, women’s, ice dance and pairs programs are added up to determine the winning nation.

Russia and Japan are tied for the lead through three of eight programs, with the U.S. one point behind. NBCSN, NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app will air coverage Thursday, Friday and Saturday (broadcast schedule here).

Three-time U.S. champion Ashley Wagner placed sixth in the women’s short program but with her highest international score of a subpar season.

“This was a show program, and I loved how the audience reacted to it, so I wanted that for my competitive experience this year,” Wagner said, according to U.S. Figure Skating.

Karen Chen, the surprise U.S. champion and worlds fourth-place finisher, was eighth Thursday. She performed a triple-double jump combination rather than a triple-triple and later singled a planned triple jump.

In the men’s short program, Olympic and world champion Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan was shockingly seventh. That’s his lowest standing in a short program since the 2013 World Championships.

Hanyu botched his first two jumping passes and scored 83.51 points, which is 27 points shy of his world record.

Japan’s Shoma Uno, the world silver medalist, earned a leading 103.53 points.

U.S. champion Nathan Chen was second in the short program with 99.28 points, landing two quadruple jumps and a triple Axel.

“I was really hesitant going into the Axel just because of what happened at worlds,” said Chen, who fell on his triple Axel in his worlds short program three weeks ago, when he wore faulty boots. “But the boots are better [now]. These are brand-new boots. They’re about a week old.”

Two-time world medalists Madison Chock and Evan Bates topped the short dance with a personal-best international score. All of this year’s world medalists in dance chose to skip World Team Trophy.

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MORE: Patrick Chan: Maybe ISU should put limit on quadruple jumps