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Top figure skating moments to celebrate National Get Up day

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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.

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Katie Ledecky wins race by 30 seconds, takes back No. 1 ranking

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In her last race of the year, Katie Ledecky ensured she would finish 2019 as the world’s fastest 1500m freestyler.

Ledecky clocked 15:35.98 at the U.S. Open in Atlanta, winning the longest event on the Olympic pool program by 29.97 seconds. Typical for Ledecky, who owns the nine fastest times in history. This one came in at No. 8. Full meet results are here.

Ledecky scratched the 1500m free final at the summer world championships due to illness. Italian Simona Quadarella went on to win that title in 15:40.89, which was the world’s fastest time this year until Saturday night.

“I didn’t have time on my mind at all today. I just wanted to have a consistent swim,” Ledecky, undefeated in 1500m free finals for nine years, said on NBCSN. “That’s probably the best mile that I’ve had in a while.”

The women’s 1500m freestyle debuts at the Olympics in Tokyo. Ledecky is expected to add that to her Rio Olympic individual lineup of 200m, 400m and 800m frees, assuming she is top two in each event at the June Olympic trials.

In other events Saturday, Erika Brown handed Simone Manuel a rare defeat in the 100m freestyle. Brown, a University of Tennessee senior, clocked 53.42 and lowered her personal best by .71 between prelims and the final. Brown moved from sixth to fourth in the U.S. rankings this year, upping her stock as a contender to make the Olympic 4x100m free relay pool via a top-six finish at trials.

Brown previously lowered her personal best in the 50m free on Thursday. She ranks third in the U.S. this year in that event.

Emily Escobedo dealt Lilly King a rare domestic defeat in the 200m breaststroke. Escobedo lowered her personal best by .87 and clocked 2:22.00, moving to seventh fastest in the world this year and remaining fourth among Americans.

In the men’s 200m breast, Olympic champion Dmitriy Balandin of Kazakhstan was beaten by Cody Miller, the Olympic 100m breast silver medalist. Both were slower than their best times this year.

The next significant swim meet is a Tyr Pro Series stop in Knoxville, Tenn., from Jan. 16-19.

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Mikaela Shiffrin runner-up in Lake Louise downhill

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LAKE LOUISE, Alberta (AP) — Here’s a scary thought for her competition: Mikaela Shiffrin is still getting comfortable with the intensity and the speed of the downhill.

That’s why podium finishes are still a little surprising even to her.

The American three-time overall World Cup champion finished runner-up to Nicole Schmidhofer of Austria in a downhill race Saturday. Schmidhofer cruised through the course in 1 minute, 49.92 seconds to edge Shiffrin by 0.13 seconds. Francesca Marsaglia of Italy wound up third.

Schmidhofer has four career World Cup wins, with three of them arriving at Lake Louise.

Known as a tech specialist, Shiffrin is steadily getting up to speed in the speed events. This was Shiffrin’s fourth career World Cup podium finish in the downhill, which includes a Lake Louise win in 2017.

So, does Shiffrin anticipate this kind of downhill success?

“No, no, no,” the 24-year-old from Colorado said. “It’s certainly not normal (for a downhill podium). Even racing downhill doesn’t feel normal. But I feel every year like I have more experience and get more comfortable.”

Shiffrin currently sits at 62 World Cup wins, which ties her with Austrian great Annemarie Moser-Proell for second-most on the women’s side. Lindsey Vonn had 82 wins before her retirement.

“I’m certainly more comfortable with the long skis,” Shiffrin said of downhill racing. “Right now, it’s enjoying it, because speed is a little bit extra for me. My goal is to be able to succeed in speed as well. It’s making the transition and trying to have fun with it.”

Czech Republic skier and snowboarder Ester Ledecka finished fourth Saturday. She was the surprise winner of Friday’s season-opening downhill, which was delayed and shortened by heavy snowfall on the mountain. The race Saturday was restored to its full length.

Next up, a super-G on Sunday.

“It’s always been a little bit tricky for me from downhill skis to super-G skis and to change the timing a little bit,” Shiffrin said. “I’m going to have fun.”

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