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Cain, LeDuc, and Bartholomay all competed pairs with other partners over the past few years, but Stellato is brand new to pairs and hadn’t been to the U.S. Championships since 2000. Old is the new new. 3) Karen Chen mesmerizes with minimal-

ism in the short It’s a program that requires perfection, and

Jackie Wong’s top 10 moments from the 2017 U.S. Championships

Te U.S. Championships has always proven to be a memorable event, and this year’s edition was no different. Te week was full of fantastic skating and produced incredible moments. Here are my top 10 moments, in no particular order. 1) Nathan Chen leaves everyone speechless Everyone expected Nathan Chen to win,

and he lived up to everyone’s expectations and then some. He made history at every turn, becom- ing the first person ever to land five clean quads in one program, and established a new standard in American skating. 2) Cain/LeDuc and Stellato/Bartholomay

turn old into new Four veterans returned to the U.S. Champi-

onships with a new outlook and a new start. Ash- ley Cain/Timothy LeDuc and Deanna Stellato/ Nathan Bartholomay breathed new life into the pairs short program and established themselves as ones to follow going into the Olympic season.

that’s exactly what Karen Chen delivered in her On Golden Pond short program. It was a career-de- fining, and perhaps career-changing, performance that guided her to her first U.S. title. 4) Te Shibs show how hip-hop is done I’ve noted that their hip-hop short dance was

underappreciated all season, but Maia Shibutani/ Alex Shibutani certainly got their due at the U.S. Championships. Not only are they students of the genre, but they also have the swagger to make this short dance their own. 5) Wagner-Nagasu-Zhang back again Tey did it in 2008 and 2009, but who

would have thought it would take eight years for Ashley Wagner, Mirai Nagasu and Caroline Zhang to all finish in the top five at the U.S. Championships again? Who would have even thought it would happen again? Such resilience and longevity — it was inspiring to witness. 6) Chock/Bates bring a different look Tey wanted inspiration and they got it.

Madison Chock/Evan Bates turned to Christo- pher Dean and Rohene Ward to overhaul their look this season. Teir free dance, to David Bow- ie’s “Under Pressure,” marked a huge risk and a huge departure, but the result is the kind of dance that will set them apart from the rest. 7) Brown finds his triple Axel at the right


After a stress fracture threatened to ruin his World team chances, Jason Brown trusted in his

Kansas City natives Mike Coughlin, his son and U.S. Championships event cochair John Cough- lin, and former Kansas City resident and judge Lorrie Parker attended the U.S. Figure Skating officials dinner in downtown Kansas City. More than 100 officials attended the event, hosted by the local organizing committee.

team and their plan for him to peak at the right moment in Kansas City. And to the surprise of almost everyone, he started landing clean triple Axels at the very end of the week for his free skate, and he would not have made the World team without them.

8) Rabbitt fires up the crowd It was a showstopper. Sean Rabbitt skated

the free skate of his career and brought the crowd to its feet, showing everyone what it means to sell a program and have everyone in the audience give him all the cash in their pockets for it. 9) Hicks shakes off disastrous short A medal contender coming in, Courtney

Hicks found herself in 18th place after a mis- take-filled short program. But she rediscovered her form with a sixth-place free skate. And while her chances were out the window after the short, her free showed her resilience, fight and will to #GetUp. 10) Phan returns for the love of skating A former U.S. junior champion, Dennis

Phan never had the senior career he imagined. So after some soul-searching, he returned after retir- ing in 2010 and skated for the love of the sport. He said he wanted to inspire others, and by the sounds of the audience, he most certainly did. Jackie Wong is a figure skating analyst at Rock-

er Skating and a frequent guest host of icenetwork’s podcast Ice Talk. He has been involved in figure skat- ing for more than 20 years as a skater, coach, choreog- rapher and judge. You can find him at rockerskating. com and on Twitter and Instagram for comprehen- sive coverage of figure skating events all season long.

U.S. junior ice dance champions Rachel and Michael Parsons are the recipients of the seventh annual Ron and Gayle Hershberger Award. Te award, which rotates among the four skating dis- ciplines, is given to the athlete(s) who have the highest total program component scores at the U.S. Championships at the junior level. Te Ron and Gayle Hershberger Fund was established through gifts made in tribute to Ron’s long-term service to U.S. Figure Skating and to Gayle’s sup- port of her husband. Hershberger served as U.S. Figure Skating president from 2005 to 2009. He sat on the board of directors from 1990 to 2010. He and Gayle presented the Parsons the award during a break in the action in Kansas City.

30 MARCH 2017

SKATING magazine Editor Troy Schwindt pre- sented the Michelle Kwan Trophy to Readers’ Choice Award winners Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani during a break in the action at the Smucker’s Skating Spectacular.


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