nathan chen
Getty Images

Top figure skating moments to celebrate National Get Up day

Leave a comment

Every year, the figure skating community marks the end of National Skating Month (January) with National Get Up day on Feb. 1.

U.S. Figure Skating is celebrating the third annual Get Up day in 2019.

“The first lesson in skating being how to fall down, and more importantly, how to get back up again, a lesson all participants can apply across all aspects of their lives,” USFS said in a press release.

All are encouraged to participate using the hashtag #WeGetUp on social platforms, sharing stories of those who are doing inspiring work in their communities or their own journeys.

That being said, with the U.S. Championships already in the books, let’s examine the best Get Up moments of the past 12 months.

Nathan Chen bounces back after rough short program to win the free skate in PyeongChang, and ultimately finish fifth in his first Olympic Games

Nathan Chen debuted at the PyeongChang Olympics in the team event, winning bronze alongside Maia and Alex Shibutani, Bradie Tennell, Mirai Nagasu, and Alexa Scimeca Knierim and Chris Knierim.

His individual skates, however, told a much different story. He dug himself into a hole by finishing 17th in the short program. But his free skate showed the Chen his longtime fans were used to. He attempted six quads, cleanly landing five, and ultimately won the phase to finish in fifth place overall.

Read: Nathan Chen on his ‘emotional roller coaster’

And, if that wasn’t enough, Chen continued his season at the world championships – and won by more than 50 points. He plans to defend his title in a few weeks.

Read: Nathan Chen wins world title by nearly 50 points after everyone falls 

Jason Brown went from fifth at nationals and missing the 2018 Olympic team to win bronze this year

Jason Brown said of the 2018 Olympic season, “It was kind of like my nightmare happened, and I survived. I’m not afraid anymore.”

The Sochi Olympian and 2015 U.S. Champion returned to 2019 nationals nearly reinvented. In the past year, he split with his longtime coach, moved to Toronto and has been steadily rebuilding all year.

He overcame a small costume mishap – leaving it behind when he won a December competition in Croatia – to win bronze in Detroit behind Nathan Chen and Vincent Zhou.

Read more: Jason Brown gaining traction in Toronto, building base for quad jumps

Madison Chock and Evan Bates return to U.S. podium despite abbreviated season

Madison Chock’s ankle injury – that she pushed through last season because “the Olympics were the most important thing” – finally was taken care of… even though it meant sitting out from competition for 10 months.

The couple, which owns two Worlds medals and have been to two Olympics together, didn’t compete for the first time this season until January. Then, they had the national championships to contend with.

The 2015 U.S. champions earned silver medals in Detroit and a spot at both the Four Continents Championships and the world championships.

More from U.S. Figure Skating Fan Zone: Madison Chock and Evan Bates are Just Getting Started

Ashley Cain and Timothy LeDuc’s plans to win nationals and compete at Worlds were nearly derailed when she suffered a concussion after a fall in competition

Ashley Cain fell on her head during a fall in competition in Croatia in December. She said later that she followed every concussion protocol in order to be ready to compete at nationals. The long-term goal was to compete at the world championships, but it had seemed at the time like a long shot.

The pair became first-time national champions in Detroit, though, and will be the U.S. representatives at the world championships, looking to win back more U.S. pair spots.

“We’ve been working toward that all year,” LeDuc said in an interview with us on Sunday.

“None of the pressure changes or anything like that,” Cain added. “Yes, we know now we’re the U.S. champions and we have a responsibility, but I think at this point we are ready to take on that responsibility. This is the year it was supposed to happen.”

More: Ashley Cain recovering after falling on her head at figure skating event 

Ting Cui rallies from 12th to fifth at nationals

Ting Cui fell twice in the short program in Detroit, but rallied with seven clean triples in the free skate for a fifth place overall finish. Her free skate, which scored 139.66 points, was third in the field.

And the year before, in the junior division, she rallied from 11th to win a bronze medal. It wasn’t a situation she was unfamiliar with.

“It’s one of my best programs in performance (quality) and one with the hardest jumps I’ve ever done, with the triple Lutz-triple toe loop and triple flip-half loop-triple Salchow,” Cui said afterward. “Definitely the best program in my career probably so far.”

More on Cui from our Reporters’ Notebook from nationals

Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker, sidelined over the summer with a concussion, have their best season to date

Jean-Luc Baker is now relatively symptom-free, he said, but the team missed a chunk of training over the summer while he was recovering from a concussion. The team had recently moved to Montreal to train.

Instead of losing that time, the team has come back this year stronger than ever. The 2018 Four Continents champions won their first Grand Prix gold medal at NHK Trophy in Japan and qualified for their first-ever Grand Prix Final. They had never been higher than fourth at U.S. Championships, but in Detroit, they broke through for a bronze medal.

Their season isn’t over yet, either; Four Continents and Worlds are still to come.

More: Kaitlin Hawayek, Jean-Luc Baker signal ice dance arrival at Grand Prix Final 

Mirai Nagasu, a two-time Olympian, has hip surgery and finds a new role in the sport

She didn’t compete at the U.S. Championships in January, but Mirai Nagasu still played a role. She had surgery on her hip in September but made her commentary debut on the Bridgestone Ice Desk as an analyst.

“For me to be given the opportunity to be a part of the Ice Desk, is something I am really grateful for,” she told NBCSports.com/figure-skating in Detroit. “I’m grateful to my skating and to have found it at such a young age; I think that’s where I’m at right now – being humble and being grateful for everything I have in my life.”

Read: Mirai Nagasu makes commentating debut at U.S. Championships

As a reminder, you can watch Four Continents and the world championships 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.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Finn Christian Jagge, 1992 Olympic slalom champion, dies at 54

Finn Christian Jagge
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Finn Christian Jagge, the surprise 1992 Olympic slalom champion, has died at age 54, according to Norway’s Olympic Committee.

Jagge’s wife, Trine-Lise Jagge, posted on Facebook that he died of an acute illness.

Jagge, then 25, won the slalom at the Albertville Games in Savoie, France, stunning defending champion Alberto Tomba of Italy. Jagge had the fastest first run by 1.07 seconds and relegated Tomba to silver by .28 of a second after the second run. Tomba was going for his fourth straight Olympic gold medal.

Jagge’s father won a Norwegian record 42 national tennis championships. His mother competed in Alpine skiing at the 1960 and 1964 Olympics, according to Olympedia.org.

Jagge won his first Norwegian national title at age 18. After knee and back injuries, he won seven World Cup slaloms in the 1990s, retiring in 2000.

Vår største kjærlighet, vår største helt og klippe. Verdens beste Pappa og verdens beste MesterHubby, døde i dag, etter akutt sykdom❤️Det er ubeskrivelig vondt og vi er helt knust.

Posted by Trine-Lise Jagge on Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Alex ‘Chumpy’ Pullin, Olympian, world champion snowboarder, drowns in spearfishing accident

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Alex “Chumpy” Pullin, an Olympian and world champion snowboarder, drowned while spearfishing on Australia’s Gold Coast on Wednesday.

A police spokesperson said a 32-year-old man, later identified as Pullin, was unresponsive when taken from the water and died despite receiving CPR from lifeguards and emergency treatment from paramedics.

The accident happened at Palm Beach around 10:40 a.m. local time. Pullin had been diving on an artificial reef when he was found by a snorkeler.

“Another diver was out there and located him on the sea floor and raised the attention of nearby surfers who sought lifeguards to bring him in,” police said. “He didn’t have an oxygen mask. We understand he was free diving and spearfishing out on the reef.”

Pullin competed in Olympic snowboard cross in 2010, 2014 and 2018 with a best finish of sixth. He won back-to-back world titles in 2011 and 2013. He carried Australia’s flag at the Sochi Olympic Opening Ceremony in 2014.

“We are all in shock today as one of the most beloved members of our close snow sport community, Chumpy, has sadly lost his life in what appears to be a tragic accident,” Snow Australia CEO Michael Kennedy said in a statement. “He was a mentor to so many of our younger snowboarders, giving up his time to coach and provide advice to our future Olympians. His loss will be felt right across our community.

“We know it won’t just be here in Australia that Chumpy’s legacy will be remembered, but throughout the international snowboarding community. It wasn’t just his ability to deliver results that will be missed, but his leadership and the path that he laid for so many.”

His parents owned a ski and snowboard shop in the Australian Alps, where Pullin began riding at age 8. Older friends gave him the nickname “Chumpy,” and it stuck.

Pullin, who spent time as a frontman for the surf-reggae band love Charli, often brought a guitar with him while traveling for competitions.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.