Nathan Chen wins fifth U.S. figure skating title, joins Olympic legend

Nathan Chen
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Nathan Chen, in landing four clean quadruple jumps in Sunday’s free skate, won the U.S. Figure Skating Championships for a fifth consecutive year. He became the first American man to accomplish the feat since two-time Olympic champion Dick Button more than 60 years ago.

Chen, undefeated since placing fifth at the PyeongChang Olympics, prevailed by a giant 30.9 points over Vincent Zhou.

“It’s incredible, something that I’ll truly cherish,” Chen said on NBC. “Dick has been an inspiration for all skaters since he won his seven in a row. It’s incredible to be able to try to follow in his footsteps.”

Jason Brown was third as the standings were unchanged from after Saturday’s short program at fan-less Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.

Chen totaled 322.28 points, down from the last two years after he erred on his first jumping pass Sunday. Chen stepped out of the landing of a quad Lutz and put two hands on the ice. It was his first negatively graded jumping pass at nationals since 2018.

“I was a little timid today,” said Chen, who attempted five quads in a program at nationals for the first time since 2018. “I didn’t really attack all my elements, just focused on trying to conserve energy. That’s not the right approach.”

FIGURE SKATING NATIONALS: Full Results | World Championships Team

While still a runaway, it was the smallest margin of victory of Chen’s five national titles. The other four margins (58.21, 55.44, 40.72 and 37.29) were the largest for any discipline since the 6.0 scoring system was thrown out in 2006.

Zhou and Brown also had jumping errors Sunday.

Zhou, who was within striking distance after the short program should Chen make significant errors, fell on a quad Lutz and singled a planned quad flip.

“I kind of had a moment of telling myself check yourself before you wreck yourself, but then I checked myself for too long,” Zhou, who landed two quads, said of the failed Lutz. “I’m not happy with myself for throwing away my first 300-point opportunity.”

Brown fell on his opening quad toe loop and singled a planned triple Axel. He has yet to land a clean, fully rotated quad in competition.

“Overall, I’m pretty pleased with how the event went, a bit disappointed in today,” said Brown, who skated a clean short program with a higher artistic score than Chen and Zhou.

Chen, Zhou and Brown make up the U.S. team for March’s world championships in Stockholm, which are still on to cap an international season significantly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

At worlds, Chen is expected to face two-time Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan for the first time since December 2019.

Chen outscored Hanyu in their last five head-to-head programs and can consolidate 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic favorite status with a third consecutive world title.

Chen entered the 2018 Olympics as arguably the favorite, then was shockingly 17th in the short program to take him out of the medal picture.

“I went to the Olympics, didn’t do well and had my worst fears sort of materialize,” Chen said. “If [a gold medal in 2022] doesn’t happen, it’s not like my legacy or who I am is ultimately diminished. … Whether or not I get that title at the Olympics is not going to define me.”

Zhou and Brown are both in the world championships medal mix, too.

Zhou, who considered quitting skating a year ago after failing to balance training with freshman classes at Brown University, joined Chen and Hanyu on the podium at the most recent world championships in 2019.

Brown, a 2014 Olympian, has outscored Chen artistically. Though Brown has never landed a clean, fully rotated quadruple jump in competition, he ranked fourth in the world last season by best total scores.

Since Button won seven consecutive national titles in the 1940s and ’50s, Scott HamiltonBrian Boitano and others won all four U.S. titles in an Olympic cycle, but Chen surpassed their streaks while bridging quadrennials.

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Ilia Malinin wins U.S. Figure Skating Championships despite quadruple Axel miss


One year ago, Ilia Malinin came to the U.S. Championships as, largely, a 17-year-old unknown. He finished second to Nathan Chen in 2022 and was left off the three-man Olympic team due to his inexperience, a committee decision that lit a fire in him.

After the biggest year of change in U.S. figure skating in three decades, Malinin came to this week’s nationals in San Jose, California, as the headliner across all disciplines.

Though he fell on his quadruple Axel and doubled two other planned quads in Sunday’s free skate (the most ambitious program in history), he succeeded the absent Chen as national champion.

Malinin, the world’s second-ranked male singles skater, still landed two clean quads in Friday’s short program and three more Sunday. He totaled 287.74 points and prevailed by 10.43 over two-time Olympian Jason Brown, a bridge between the Chen and Malinin eras.

“This wasn’t the skate that I wanted,” said Malinin, who was bidding to become the second man to land six quads in one program after Chen. The Virginia chalked up the flaws at least partially to putting more recent practice time into his short program, which he skated clean on Friday after errors in previous competitions.


Brown, a 28-year-old competing for the first time since placing sixth at the Olympics, became the oldest male singles skater to finish in the top three at nationals since Jeremy Abbott won the last of his four titles in 2014. As usual, he didn’t attempt a quad but had the highest artistic score by 9.41 points.

Brown’s seven total top-three finishes at nationals tie him with Chen, Michael WeissBrian Boitano, David Jenkins and Dick Button for the second-most in men’s singles since World War II, trailing only Todd Eldredge‘s and Hayes Jenkins‘ eight.

“I’m not saying it’s super old, but I can’t train the way I used to,” Brown said after Friday’s short program. “What Ilia is doing and the way he is pushing the sport is outstanding and incredible to watch. I cannot keep up.”

Andrew Torgashev took bronze, winning the free skate with one quad and all clean jumps. Torgashev, who competed at nationals for the first time since placing fifth in 2020 at age 18, will likely round out the three-man world team.

Japan’s Shoma Uno will likely be the favorite at worlds. He won last year’s world title, when Malinin admittedly cracked under pressure in the free skate after a fourth-place short program and ended up ninth.

That was before Malinin became the first person to land a quad Axel in competition. That was before Malinin became the story of the figure skating world this fall. That was before Malinin took over the American throne from Chen, who is studying at Yale and not expected to return to competition.

Malinin’s next step is to grab another label that Chen long held: best in the world. To do that, he must be better than he was on Sunday.

“You always learn from your experiences, and there’s always still the rest of the season to come,” he said. “I just have to be prepared and prepare a little bit extra so that doesn’t happen again.”

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Mark McMorris breaks Winter X Games medals record; David Wise wins first title in 5 years

Mark McMorris

Canadian snowboarder Mark McMorris broke his tie with American Jamie Anderson for the most Winter X Games medals across all sites, earning his 22nd medal, a slopestyle gold, in Aspen, Colorado.

On the final run of Sunday’s contest, McMorris overtook Norway’s Marcus Kleveland with back-to-back 1620s on the last two jumps. McMorris’ last three Aspen slopestyle titles were all won on his final run (2019, 2022).

“It’s something I never thought would ever come to me as a kid from Saskatchewan,” McMorris, 29, said on the broadcast. “Everything’s just been a bonus since I became a pro snowboarder.”

In a format introduced three years ago, athletes were ranked on overall impression of their best run over the course of a jam session rather than scoring individual runs.

McMorris won his record-extending seventh X Games Aspen men’s slopestyle title, one day after finishing fourth in big air.

“It just keeps getting crazier because I keep getting older,” he said. “People just keep pushing the limits, pushing the limits. Last night was such a downer, almost bums me out, like, dude, do I still have it? … To have one of those miracle wins where you do it on the last run and someone makes you push yourself, those are the best feelings.”

McMorris won slopestyle bronze medals at each of the last three Olympics and reportedly said last February that he was planning to compete through the 2026 Milan-Cortina Winter Games.

Canadian Max Parrot, the 2022 Olympic slopestyle champion, is taking this season off from competition.

Anderson, a two-time Olympic snowboard slopestyle champion, is expecting her first child.

Later Sunday, American David Wise earned his first major ski halfpipe title since repeating as Olympic champion in 2018. Wise landed back-to-back double cork 1260s to end his winning run, according to commentators.

“I wouldn’t still be out here if I didn’t think I had a chance,” Wise, 32 and now a five-time X Games Aspen champ, said on the broadcast. “I’m not going to be the guy who just keeps playing the game until everybody just begs me to stop.”

U.S. Olympian Mac Forehand won men’s ski big air with a 2160 on his last run, according to commentators. It scored a perfect 50. Olympic gold medalist Birk Ruud of Norway followed with a triple cork 2160 of his own, according to commentators, and finished third.

Canadian skier Megan Oldham added slopestyle gold to her big air title from Friday, relegating Olympic champion Mathilde Gremaud of Switzerland to silver.

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