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Jin Boyang explains this season’s setbacks

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GRENOBLE, France — China’s Jin Boyang, the 2016 and 2017 World bronze medalist, is considered part of the original “quad squad” that took figure skating by storm these last three years (Yuzuru Hanyu, Shoma Uno, Nathan Chen and Jin). Jin was the first to land a quad Lutz-triple toe combination.

He was also nearly the first Chinese male singles skater to earn an Olympic medal, placing fourth in PyeongChang.

His follow-up Grand Prix campaign was a nightmare. He was fifth in Helsinki earlier this month and ninth at Internationaux de France last week.

Jin didn’t have high expectations for the fall events, attributing poor results to media pressure and logistical problems.

It started in the summer, when the Chinese federation announced that Jin would relocate to Toronto to train in Brian Orser’s camp. That struck like a hammer to Jin’s head.

“I felt a lot of pressure … both from the media and from my friends,” he said through an interpreter in Grenoble. “I was overwhelmed by that pressure.

“But it’s not the right place for me to speak of it at this moment. I’d like to be known for what I’m doing in competition, not because of these stories.”

It soon became apparent that Jin would stay in China.

Jin’s travel to both of his Grand Prix events was delayed. For Helsinki, the name on his ticket was different than the name on his passport.

“The day I was due to leave for France, I still had not received my visa,” he said. “I first had to re-book my flight for the next day. Then I was expecting my visa that day, but at 5:30 p.m. it was still not there, and the French embassy was closing at 6 p.m. I had to fly the next morning at 2 a.m.”

He was on the ice Thursday, one day before competition started.

“My practice sessions went rather well in Grenoble, but I certainly lacked confidence on the competitive ice,” Jin said. “It’s not that it created a big mental problem for me, but missing a flight three times can destabilize you, for sure.”

One thing was most visible in Grenoble, however: Jin improved his artistry significantly.

“After the Games I could spend a lot of time with Lori Nichol, my choreographer, discussing what kind of movements I could present in competition,” he said. “She told me to be a happy skater, a happy Boyang. She gave me confidence.”

Jin also disclosed a slice of his own personal history that few were aware of: his ballet past, something he shares with Chen.

“I was a good dancer as a child. I trained in ballet, Latin dances, jazz, you name it,” he said. “When I started to skate competitively, I was short, and I had to forget about ballet to start learning jumps. I had to focus on jumps, and I think that’s when I forgot about ballet.

“Coming back to dance now, I feel that I am now closer to the ideal skater I wanted to be originally. I have hired a Flamenco teacher myself to teach me the movements. I am also reviewing a lot of shows and TV videos to help me improve my artistry.”

Writer Feng Xiao interpreted the Jin interview.

As a reminder, you can watch the ISU Grand Prix Series live and on-demand with the ‘Figure Skating Pass’ on NBC Sports Gold. Go to NBCsports.com/gold/figure-skating to sign up for access to every ISU Grand Prix and championship event, as well as domestic U.S. Figure Skating events throughout the season. NBC Sports Gold gives subscribers an unprecedented level of access on more platforms and devices than ever before.

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Chloe Kim makes it five straight wins with Dew Tour title

Chloe Kim
Dew Tour
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Chloe Kim capped one of the greatest years in snowboarding history by repeating as Dew Tour champion in Breckenridge, Colo., on Sunday.

The 18-year-old PyeongChang gold medalist won a modified halfpipe contest with a 94.67-point first run on a course that combines slopestyle features with a halfpipe. She beat a field that included Olympic silver and bronze medalists Liu Jiayu and Arielle Gold.

Kim has won five straight contests — the X Games in January, the Olympics in February, the U.S. Open in March and, to open this season, victories the last two weekends. No other rider won the X Games, Olympics and U.S. Open in one year.

Kim decided to compete this season rather than enroll in college. She tweeted in March that she was accepted to Princeton.

She is expected to go for a fourth X Games Aspen title in five years next month, which would tie her for second all-time among women behind Kelly Clark, who has six halfpipe crowns.

The retired Gretchen Bleiler also won four X Games golds. Clark, a 35-year-old, five-time Olympian, said last month that she was undecided if she will compete again.

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Brittany Bowe grabs 20th World Cup win, ascends U.S. all-time list

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Olympic bronze medalist Brittany Bowe grabbed her third World Cup win this season and the 20th of her career, moving into solo fifth place on the U.S. all-time list on Sunday.

Bowe, whose PyeongChang medal came in the team pursuit, won a 1000m in Heerenveen, Netherlands, in 1:13.24, beating a field including Olympic silver and bronze medalists Nao Kodaira and Miho Takagi of Japan. She broke her own track record by .66 at the sport’s hallowed Thialf.

“That was one of the most perfect races I’ve skated this far, and I couldn’t be happier to do it here in Thialf,” Bowe said, according to the International Skating Union. “Every stroke was right, no missteps. This was definitely one of the best races in my career.”

Bowe earned a medal of every color in two days of racing in Heerenveen, adding to her 500m bronze and 1500m silver on Saturday. Bowe leads the season standings in the 1000m and is third in the 500m and 1500m.

There are two stops left this season — Hamar, Norway, in February and Salt Lake City in March, with the world championships in between.

“The real show is in February [at words],” Bowe said.

Bowe is returning from a July 2016 concussion that affected her for the entire 2016-17 season, including blood-pressure issues and fainting spells.

She returned in full for the 2017-18 Olympic season but did not make an individual podium between the World Cups and the Olympics, missing a 1000m medal in PyeongChang by .38 and in the 1500m by .28.

Before the concussion, Bowe in 2015 earned world titles and broke world records in the 1000m and 1500m.

On Sunday, the former Florida Atlantic basketball player passed three-time Olympic medalist Chris Witty for fifth on the U.S. World Cup wins list behind Bonnie Blair (69), Shani Davis (58), Dan Jansen (46) and Heather Bergsma (34), according to schaatsstatistieken.nl.

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