Decisions, Decisions, Decisions: How to Decide the US Men’s Olympic Team

And we all thought the US ladies selection process would be filled with drama…after some surprising results in the men’s event at US Nationals, the selection committee is left to decide which men will compete next month in Pyeongchang.

Nathan Chen will most certainly go after winning his second consecutive national title, hitting five quads, scoring over 300 points, winning the Grand Prix Final, and the list goes on.  This was the cleanest program he’s had all season and was a good stepping stone for him in his quest for the Olympic podium.

Ross Miner skated the free program of his life to take home the silver medal, beating Vincent Zhou by just over a half point.  He hit a quad salchow and skated clean with Level 4s and almost all positive GOEs.  It’s been a while since he has had international success, but he did win a Four Continents medal in 2012 and last went to Worlds in 2013.  However, he did not skate cleanly in practice all week and missed four quad salchows in the warmup.  It is really unclear if this was a turning point for him or if it was just the performance of his life and unlikely to be repeated.  At 26 (almost 27) years old, this is almost certainly his last shot at an Olympic team.

Vincent Zhou won the bronze medal with a five quad attempt free skate.  He had three of those quads judged under-rotated and one down-graded but it was one of his better programs this season.  Even with all those calls, he still beat Miner on the technical score in the free skate.  One of the higher criteria for the Olympic team is placement at 2017 Worlds and with a 2nd place finish at nationals last season, Zhou normally would have been sent to Worlds, but was only sent to Junior Worlds instead where he won the title.  He is only 17 years old and could have a chance at an Olympic Games four years from now, but this could also be a chance for him to gain some experience in preparation for that event.

Adam Rippon had some major errors in his free skate, dropping to 4th overall.  He went for his quad lutz as he has all season and fell and under-rotated it.  He also under-rotated a triple flip + triple toe combination plus singled a lutz and singled a salchow.  That is a lot of mistakes for one program, but he has been skating clean programs all season.  He was 5.5 points back from 3rd and 6 points back from 2nd.  He does not have scores from Worlds or Nationals last season, but he was injured.  He had qualified for the Grand Prix Final last season and was the reigning National Champion, so there is reason to assume he would have done reasonably well at nationals.  At 28 years old, this is likely his final chance to make an Olympic team.

Grant Hochstein had the short program of his life to land himself in the final group, but made some mistakes in his free skate.  Finishing off the podium here and not having any major international results this year, likely takes him out of the conversation for the Olympic team.

Jason Brown tried to put the quad toe in his free skate for the first time since his early events this season.  It did not at all look competition ready and was downgraded.  He also had an under-rotated triple axel and triple loop.  Even with a quad toe in the program, his base value for jumps for his short program and free skate combined is still less than Vincent Zhou’s free skate alone.  He has to be absolutely perfect and even then he doesn’t have a chance to win or medal unless others make mistakes.  His technical score was very low at this event, and Chen in his first two jumps alone had half the technical score that Brown had in his entire program.  Brown finished a whopping 20 points off of third place, which likely will be taking him out of contention.  He went to the Olympics in Sochi but in four years hasn’t been able to develop a quad and it is unlikely to be there within the next five weeks.

Here are the criteria (note there is no weights or percentages given to determine how much each event counts toward the final decision):

2018 US Championships

2 18 Ross Miner, SC of Boston 6 88.91 2 185.60 274.51
3 16 Vincent Zhou, SC of San Francisco 5 89.02 3 184.81 273.83
4 19 Adam Rippon, SC of New York 2 96.52 4 171.82 268.34
5 17 Grant Hochstein, SC of New York 4 92.18 5 163.13 255.31
6 20 Jason Brown, Skokie Valley SC 3 93.23 6 160.45 253.68

 

2017 Grand Prix Final

5th: Adam Rippon (254.33)

6th: Jason Brown (253.81)

 

2017 World Championships

7th: Jason Brown

 

2017 Grand Prix Events

2nd NHK Trophy: Adam Rippon (261.99)

2nd Skate America: Adam Rippon (266.45)

2nd Skate Canada: Jason Brown (261.14)

4th Cup of China: Vincent Zhou (256.66)

4th NHK Trophy: Jason Brown (245.95)

6th Skate America: Ross Miner (219.62)

9th Internationaux de France: Vincent Zhou (222.21)

9th Cup of China: Grant Hochstein 216.44

11th Rostelecom Cup: Grant Hochstein (206.09)

 

2017 Four Continents

6th Jason Brown

9th Grant Hochstein

 

2017 Challenger Series

2nd Finlandia Trophy: Vincent Zhou

2nd Lombardia Trophy: Jason Brown

3rd Finlandia Trophy: Adam Rippon

4th Ondrej Nepela Trophy: Grant Hochstein

5th Finlandia Trophy: Ross Miner

6th Autumn Classic International: Ross Miner

 

2017 US Championships

2nd: Vincent Zhou

3rd: Jason Brown

4th: Grant Hochstein

5th: Ross Miner

WD: Adam Rippon

 

2017 World Junior Championships

1st: Vincent Zhou

 

I think it’s going to come down to Ross Miner, Vincent Zhou, and Adam Rippon for the final two spots.   Between these three, Rippon qualified for the Grand Prix Final, winning two silver medals on the Grand Prix circuit.  In head to head competition Rippon won silver at Skate America (beating Nathan Chen in the free skate) while Miner finished 6th (some 40 points back).  At Finlandia Trophy, Vincent Zhou finished 2nd, Adam Rippon finished 3rd, and Ross Miner finished 5th.

If you look at this season, Rippon has been consistent again and again with one bad performance at nationals while Miner has not had good performances and hasn’t hit the quad all season, but had a great performance here.  Based on his performances last season and the technical difficulty in his programs, I think Zhou is getting a spot on the team.  The only box he doesn’t check is the Grand Prix Final, and his Grand Prix scores are second only to Rippon and Brown (not including Nathan Chen).  He has the highest ceiling on his programs and even has more difficult planned than Nathan Chen.  If he can get these programs clean, the US will have a formidable 1-2 combination.

There is also the team event to consider.  Nathan Chen would seem like a shoo-in to send for both the short and long programs, however that is seven quads for him to execute before his own event begins and a lot of chances for him to be injured.  I would send Chen in the short program, let him get his legs underneath him and feel the Olympic ice and get a shot at a team medal.  The only other US skater with a quad in the short program is Zhou and he hasn’t skated a clean short all season.  However, several US men have top ten free skates and Rippon has the best score of the men in consideration.

However, with all of this being said, it has never been done before that a silver medalist has been skipped over for a team in favor of a 3rd and 4th place finisher.  It is much easier to argue that a 4th place finisher who was very close to 3rd but has a better resume should get to go, but skipping someone up two whole places is a lot to ask.  And it’s unclear how much the selection committee values nationals results over all other competitions.

While I love Miner and his skating and he definitely had the type of moment you dream of in an Olympic year, my gut says Chen, Zhou, Rippon.

2018 US Nationals Senior Men’s Free Skate

GROUP 1

Jordan Moeller: 58.08 TES + 67.78 PCS -1.00 = 124.86  Total: 180.21

  • I love the subtle opening to this program drawing a one footed figure on the ice
  • Nice quad salchow
  • Triple axel step out
  • Double axel
  • Popped his lutz in what was intended to be a three jump combo
  • Good triple loop
  • Triple flip
  • Triple lutz + half loop + double salchow
  • Triple lutz
  • Nice layback position in his closing spin
  • Quad salchow and triple axel were judged under-rotated as was the triple flip

Scott Dyer: 47.25 TES + 64.62 PCS = 111.87 Total: 172.04 and into 2nd place

  • Triple flip a bit two footed and step out downgraded
  • Single axel
  • Double loop
  • Love the entrance to his camel spin that picks up speed in time with the music building
  • Triple axel step out downgraded
  • Triple lutz two footed + single loop + double salchow under-rotated
  • Triple flip step out and hand down
  • Triple salchow off in the air but hangs on to it
  • Triple toe
  • Level 4 on the spins

Ben Jalovick: 60.49 TES + 61.72 PCS = 122.21  Total: 178.33 and into 2nd place

  • Double axel, upper body a bit down on the landing but he stands up
  • Good triple flip + triple toe (edge call)
  • Triple lutz
  • Big triple lutz + single loop + triple salchow with hands down on final jump and under-rotated
  • He has such a nice low, stretched out sit spin position
  • Triple loop + double toe with one arm overhead
  • Triple salchow
  • Double axel
  • Double lutz turn out
  • Level 4 on the final spin

Daniel Kulenkamp: 60.00 TES + 59.80 PCS -2.00 = 117.80 Total:177.95 and into 3rd place

  • Single axel
  • Triple flip + triple toe under-rotated
  • Good triple loop
  • Just a minor choreographic choice, but I disliked that on the word up, he bent down to grab his leg for a catch foot position in his spin
  • Lots to like about his step sequence with a nice light quality and floating movements
  • Triple lutz + single loop + triple salchow off in the air and falls
  • Triple flip hand down and fall
  • Double axel + double toe
  • Triple lutz
  • Double axel
  • He earned Level 4 on his first two spins

Kevin Shum: 54.57 TES + 56.72 PCS = 111.29 Total: 163.33 and into 5th place

  • Double axel with good height
  • Triple lutz + triple toe
  • He’s a very gifted skater with nice edges and a good feel for this music; I would just like to see him loosen up his shoulders and head to match his movements
  • Triple loop + double toe + double loop
  • Triple flip a bit close to the boards
  • Triple lutz two footed
  • Triple loop just looked like he got stuck in the ice and never got up, less tangled, two footed
  • Single salchow
  • Double axel over-rotates a bit and steps out of it
  • Finished after the music
  • Level 4 on his first spin and Level 4 on the step sequence

 

GROUP 2

Tomoki Hiwatshi: 80.69 TES + 73.36 PCS = 154.05  Total: 217.53 and into 1st place

  • Quad toe (under)+ triple toe
  • Popped axel
  • Triple axel + double toe
  • Good positions in the camel spin with a nice catchfoot
  • Really nice qualities of movement in this step seqeunce
  • Good triple loop
  • Triple salchow
  • Double axel
  • Super difficult triple lutz + single loop + triple flip
  • Triple lutz
  • Best program he’s skated all season
  • Gorgeous Ina Bauer, nice spiral and great cantilever
  • When he’s on he really does have the whole package and there is so much potential there
  • Positive GOEs on every element of that program and the quad because of the under-rotation
  • Level 4 on two spins

Sean Rabbitt: 69.44 TES + 71.80 PCS = 141.24  Total: 214.46 and into 2nd place

  • Triple flip + triple toe
  • Triple axel a bit rough on landing, downgrade
  • Off on the takeoff of the triple loop and two footed
  • Really getting the crowd into the program on the step sequence
  • Nice, easy triple flip
  • Spiral into triple lutz
  • Double axel
  • Triple salchow + triple toe
  • Double axel + double toe + double toe
  • He definitely is a fun skater to watch and he does the performance, steps, and spins so well with great choreography and attention to detail
  • Level 4 on everything

Sebastien Payannet: 53.84 TES + 60.76 PCS -3.00 = 111.60 Total: 172.89 and into 6th place

  • Good triple axel attempt but sat down on it
  • Double axel
  • I love his choreography and the details in his program
  • Triple lutz + double toe
  • Triple flip hand down
  • Triple toe
  • Triple lutz fall
  • Triple salchow hand down
  • Triple salchow + double toe turnout
  • This piece of music really demands a clean performance to be effective and he has the choreography to back it up if he goes clean
  • I also find his costume to be a bit distracting as it has an awkward neckline and it really keeps drawing the eye away from his skating
  • Went over the end of his music

Emmanuel Savary: 48.56 TES + 64.92 PCS -1.00 = 112.48 Total: 177.13 and into 6th place

  • Triple toe
  • Double salchow
  • Triple flip + double toe no flow on landing
  • Triple loop
  • Triple flip fall
  • Double axel
  • Triple salchow
  • Triple toe two foot landing
  • He has a lot of nice qualities but the jumps just weren’t there today

Max Aaron: 74.81 TES + 74.44 PCS = 149.25 Total: 224.20 and into 1st place

  • Quad toe flip out and hand down
  • Double salchow
  • Triple loop
  • Popped toe into a double
  • Triple axel + double toe
  • Triple axel
  • Triple lutz + single loop + triple salchow
  • Double axel
  • Finished just after his music
  • Such a shame that he couldn’t have redemption after his short program
  • He did earn positive GOEs on everything except for the opening quad attempt and had Level 4 on two of his spins

 

ICE RESURFACING

GROUP 3

Jimmy Ma: 77.75 TES + 69.38 PCS = 147.13 Total: 222.41 and into 2nd place

  • Quad toe low landing and turns out of it
  • Triple loop
  • Triple axel + double toe a bit of a pause between jumps
  • Triple axel step out
  • Triple flip + triple toe
  • Triple flip + double toe
  • Triple salchow step out
  • Triple lutz
  • Level 4 last two spins and steps

Alexander Johnson: 75.44 TES + 77.58 PCS = 153.02 Total: 232.62 and into 1st place

  • Triple axel + double toe
  • Triple axel
  • Triple lutz + half loop + triple flip a loss of flow on the last jump
  • Double axel + triple toe
  • Double loop
  • Triple flip a bit back on the heel
  • Triple salchow nicely done
  • This program has such a nice ease and flow to it and the choreography matches the music well
  • Double axel
  • Great camel spin positions from him
  • Level 4 step sequence and final spin

Aleksei Krasnozhon: 68.58 TES + 73.42 PCS -1.00 = 141.00  Total: 223.58 and into 3rd place

  • Quad loop stands up on it, downgraded
  • Triple salchow
  • Triple axel back on his heel and then a fall
  • Triple flip + double toe + double loop a bit scratchy and tight
  • Triple axel (under)+ triple toe
  • Triple lutz + double toe
  • Triple lutz a little down on one side on the landing but hangs on
  • Looking a little fatigued through the last half of this program
  • The artistic side is something that he still needs to work on and will be the big push to move him from the junior level to the senior
  • Double axel
  • Level 4 on step sequence and 2 spins

Andrew Torgashev: 60.63 TES + 76.06 PCS -1.00 = 135.69  Total: 217.01 and into 6th place

  • Triple axel two footed the landing and fell, downgraded
  • Popped into a double toe
  • Triple lutz step out
  • Triple flip + triple toe
  • This choreography seems really marked through and he’s not fully committing to it; but this is a complicated story for a young skater to emote to
  • Triple lutz + single loop + triple salchow hand down
  • Triple flip + double toe under-rotated
  • Triple loop
  • He’s really fighting for every jump in this program
  • Double axel
  • Much better commitment, power, and passion through the step sequence really selling it through the final minute of the program
  • Level 4 step sequence and first two spins

Timothy Dolensky: 75.15 TES + 78.12 PCS -2.00 = 151.27  Total: 236.33 and into 1st place

  • Quad salchow fall
  • Triple axel really hard fall, slipping off his edge and his shoulder got stuck behind him
  • He is such am amazing skater to watch with so many interesting qualities and great choreography and he really feels the music better than almost any one else in this field
  • Lunge into a camel spin
  • Triple axel hand down + double toe
  • Triple loop
  • Triple flip + double toe
  • Double ‘Tano lutz
  • Double axel + half loop + triple salchow two footed
  • Triple flip
  • Level 4 on two spins and step sequence

 

GROUP 4

Vincent Zhou: 98.47 TES + 87.48 PCS -1.00 = 184.75  Total: 273.83 and into 1st place

  • I love this opening edit of the music
  • Quad lutz + triple toe with both arms above head
  • Quad flip (under)
  • Quad salchow might have been slightly two footed (under)
  • Quad lutz upper body a bit down but he holds on (under)
  • Quad toe step out and fall (downgrade)
  • Triple axel + double toe
  • Triple axel two footed
  • I love the entire edit of this program and the passion and power in this step sequence–If he ever skates this program clean this step sequence is going to bring the house down
  • Triple Rippon Lutz + single loop + triple flip
  • Lots of reviews out there so we’ll see if the rotations hold up but this was an incredible program from him

Grant Hochstein: 78.71 TES + 84.42 PCS = 163.13  Total: 255.31 and into 2nd place

  • Double toe
  • Triple axel step out
  • Triple lutz
  • I’m so glad he brought back Les Mis for his last performance at the US Championships–definitely an iconic, breakthrough program for him
  • Lunge into a nice camel spin with a good donut position
  • Triple axel really scratchy landing but manages to not put a hand down
  • Triple lutz + single loop + triple salchow
  • Triple loop
  • Triple flip
  • This program has such a great build to it and is truly designed to bring an arena to their feet
  • Triple toe + double toe
  • Level 4 on his step sequence and final two spins

Ross Miner: 96.16 TES + 89.44 PCS = 185.60  Total: 274.51 and into 1st place

  • Nice quad salchow
  • Triple axel + double toe
  • Huge triple lutz + triple toe
  • What a start to the program for him…the audience has been with him from the first note
  • Lunge into a heel slide into a camel spin
  • Huge triple axel, chest slightly down on the landing
  • Good triple loop
  • Triple lutz + single loop + triple salchow
  • Triple flip
  • Miner hasn’t skated like this in years and what a time to have a skate like this!
  • Love this choreographic sequence–so cool and lots of little tricks
  • Double axel
  • Positive GOEs on everything but triple axel (just a slight negative) with Level 4 on everything

Adam Rippon: 80.24 TES + 92.58 PCS -1.00 = 171.82  Total: 268.34 and into 3rd place

  • Quad lutz fall (under)
  • Triple flip + triple loop
  • Double axel (planned)
  • He does choreography so well…you truly believe he is a bird out there on the ice from the arm motions to the little tilts of the head or look of the eyes
  • Triple axel + double toe + double loop
  • Nice triple axel
  • Triple flip + triple toe (under)
  • Popped salchow
  • Popped lutz
  • That is a huge amount of points left on the table and he needs all the jumps he has with positive GOEs to compete–it’s going to be really close
  • Level 4 on his spins and steps

Jason Brown: 69.81 TES + 91.64 PCS -1.00 = 160.45 Total: 253.68 and into 5th place

  • Quad toe two footed and just popped off his feet and fell into the wall, downgrade
  • Triple axel step out, under
  • Triple loop a bit two footed, under
  • Gorgeous spin with so much speed in the catch foot camel
  • Triple axel two footed
  • Triple lutz
  • Triple flip just missed the entrance on the second jump and stumbles through it
  • Triple lutz + single loop + triple salchow
  • Double axel
  • There is a lot of points left on the table with this program.  His program was worth so much less compared to everyone else so he needed to be perfect
  • He earned Level 4 on everything

Nathan Chen: 115.86 TES + 94.92 PCS = 210.78  Total: 315.23 and into 1st place

  • Quad flip + triple toe
  • Quad flip
  • Triple loop
  • This is such a modern, edgy program and it really does set him apart from some of the other skaters
  • Quad toe + double toe
  • Quad toe a little forward on the landing but otherwise nice
  • Quad salchow
  • Through five quads and not one review called
  • Popped axel
  • Triple flip + double toe + double loop
  • All positive GOEs except for popped axel and all Level 4
Place Start Name Short Program Free Skate Total Score
Place Score Place Score
1 21 Nathan Chen, Salt Lake Figure Skating 1 104.45 1 210.78 315.23
2 18 Ross Miner, SC of Boston 6 88.91 2 185.60 274.51
3 16 Vincent Zhou, SC of San Francisco 5 89.02 3 184.81 273.83
4 19 Adam Rippon, SC of New York 2 96.52 4 171.82 268.34
5 17 Grant Hochstein, SC of New York 4 92.18 5 163.13 255.31
6 20 Jason Brown, Skokie Valley SC 3 93.23 6 160.45 253.68
7 15 Timothy Dolensky, Atlanta FSC 7 85.06 9 151.27 236.33
8 12 Alexander Johnson, Braemar-City of Lakes FSC 10 79.60 8 153.02 232.62
9 10 Max Aaron, Broadmoor SC 12 74.95 10 149.25 224.20
10 13 Aleksei Krasnozhon, Dallas FSC 8 82.58 13 141.00 223.58
11 11 Jimmy Ma, SC of New York 11 75.28 11 147.13 222.41
12 6 Tomoki Hiwatashi, DuPage FSC 15 63.48 7 154.05 217.53
13 14 Andrew Torgashev, Panthers FSC 9 81.32 14 135.69 217.01
14 7 Sean Rabbitt, Glacier Falls FSC 13 73.22 12 141.24 214.46
15 1 Jordan Moeller, Northern Ice SC 20 55.35 15 124.86 180.21
16 3 Ben Jalovick, Centennial 7k SC 19 56.12 16 122.21 178.33
17 4 Daniel Kulenkamp, FSC of Southern California 18 60.15 17 117.80 177.95
18 9 Emmanuel Savary, University of Delaware FSC 14 64.65 18 112.48 177.13
19 8 Sebastien Payannet, Los Angeles FSC 16 61.29 20 111.60 172.89
20 2 Scott Dyer, All Year FSC 17 60.17 19 111.87 172.04
21 5 Kevin Shum, SC of Boston 21 52.04 21 111.29 163.33

2018 US Nationals Senior Men’s Short Program

Vincent Zhou: 47.98 TES + 42.04 PCS -1.00 = 89.02 and into 2nd place

Jimmy Ma: 39.07 TES + 36.21 PCS = 75.28 and into 7th place

  • Big triple lutz with nice ride out
  • Great triple axel
  • Really interesting different choreography with a hip hop feel to it
  • Triple flip + triple toe step out and hand down on the second jump
  • His spins all need more speed
  • Really entertaining step sequence with lots of movement and getting the crowd fired up

GROUP 4

Nathan Chen: 57.91 TES + 46.54 PCS = 104.45 and into 1st place

  • Quad flip + triple toe with a smooth exit
  • Quad toe
  • Definitely a watered down program compared to what he is used to doing but still very difficult
  • Triple axel step out
  • The program really comes alive in the second half and I love this step sequence–this is everything a step sequence is supposed to be; power, movement, passion
  • Even his spins are better with more speed after the jumps are done
  • Really strong ending to this program

Scott Dyer: 26.39 TES + 33.78 PCS =60.17 and into 13th place

  • Triple flip + triple toe
  • Popped axel
  • Triple lutz two footed landing
  • I’m really enjoying the timing and choreography in this step sequence and it seems that he’s emoting better and committing to the choreography in the sections without lyrics

Andrew Torgashev: 42.54 TES + 38.78 PCS = 81.32 and into 7th place

  • Good triple axel but a bit of telegraphing into it
  • Nice triple flip
  • Triple lutz + triple toe a little off in the air and turned out but managed to hang on to it–he also may have taken off a second too early to get the bonus
  • Nice flexibility though his spins with a haircutter and a catch foot upright position and some nice twisted sit variations

Adam Rippon: 49.62 TES + 46.90 PCS = 96.52 and into 2nd place

  • Gorgeous, effortless triple flip + triple toe
  • Nice triple axel
  • Everything about this program is calm, cool, and collected
  • Triple lutz
  • Nice to see him really let loose on the step sequence and play to the crowd
  • Gorgeous layback spin, timed right with the music
  • Spectacular program for him
  • All positive GOEs and all Level 4s

Jason Brown: 45.94 TES + 47.29 PCS = 93.23 and into 3rd place

  • Triple axel two footed
  • Triple flip + triple toe–the entrance to that jump comes out of nowhere and is really woven into the choreography
  • Really nice triple lutz
  • He needed to be perfect and made an error on a big jump, earning a negative GOE and receiving an under-rotation

Tomoki Hiwatshi: 32.19 TES + 32.29 PCS -1.00 = 63.48 and into 15th place

  • Fall on quad toe
  • Triple axel really fights and barely hangs on
  • Triple lutz + double toe
Place Start Name Score
1 16 Nathan Chen, Salt Lake Figure Skating 104.45
2 19 Adam Rippon, SC of New York 96.52
3 20 Jason Brown, Skokie Valley SC 93.23
4 11 Grant Hochstein, SC of New York 92.18
5 14 Vincent Zhou, SC of San Francisco 89.02
6 13 Ross Miner, SC of Boston 88.91
7 9 Timothy Dolensky, Atlanta FSC 85.06
8 8 Aleksei Krasnozhon, Dallas FSC 82.58
9 18 Andrew Torgashev, Panthers FSC 81.32
10 10 Alexander Johnson, Braemar-City of Lakes FSC 79.60
11 15 Jimmy Ma, SC of New York 75.28
12 4 Max Aaron, Broadmoor SC 74.95
13 6 Sean Rabbitt, Glacier Falls FSC 73.22
14 7 Emmanuel Savary, University of Delaware FSC 64.65
15 21 Tomoki Hiwatashi, DuPage FSC 63.48
16 1 Sebastien Payannet, Los Angeles FSC 61.29
17 17 Scott Dyer, All Year FSC 60.17
18 3 Daniel Kulenkamp, FSC of Southern California 60.15
19 12 Ben Jalovick, Centennial 7k SC 56.12
20 2 Jordan Moeller, Northern Ice SC 55.35
21 5 Kevin Shum, SC of Boston 52.04

2018 US Nationals Senior Men’s Preview

As a group, these men have won 71 national medals.  They have earned three medals at Four Continents and seven World Junior medals.  They won 7 medals on the Grand Prix and 6 medals on the Junior Grand Prix this season in addition to 7 medals in the Challenger Series.  The 1st, 2nd 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th, 20th, 21st  place finishers from last year are returning along with the  and  1st place junior finishers.

For these men to compete at the international level, they need a quad in their short program and at least two in their free skate in addition to consistent triple axels, solid spins and program components in the 8s or higher.  Internationally, they need 90+ points in the short program, 176+ in the free skate and 261+ total.  The short program will be held on Thursday, January 4th with the free skate on Saturday, January 6th.

The men’s field is one of the more competitive and deep in the US right now, with five different men holding top ten scores and three men qualifying for the Grand Prix Final.  Three additional men in this field hold top ten junior scores, and two qualified for the Grand Prix Final.  In this field are the reigning Grand Prix Final and reigning Junior Grand Prix Final Champions.

Nathan Chen is the reigning national Champion and has not lost an event this season, defeating Yuzuru Hanyu and Shoma Uno in head to head events.  No matter what happens here, he should receive a spot on the Olympic team based on his resume the last two seasons, however, it would be a shock for him to not win, let alone miss the top three.  He holds the 2nd best total score internationally, but his best segment scores were set at different events.  The only thing he hasn’t done this season is break the 300 point mark, and that would be a big step for him at this event heading into the Olympics.  His short program has been the same throughout the season with a quad lutz + triple toe and quad flip and triple axel in the bonus.  He has been messing with his free skate layout, but as of now it looks like the quad salchow will be out of the program and he’ll be going for just 5 quads.  His most recent layout had a quad lutz + triple toe, quad flip, and quad lutz, quad toe + single loop + double salchow, and quad toe in the bonus.

Adam Rippon holds the 7th best total score internationally and won two medals en route to qualifying for the Grand Prix Final this season.  His short program has a triple flip + triple toe, triple axel, and triple lutz in the bonus.  He has been going for the quad lutz all season in the free skate, but hasn’t hit it so far.  He’s had some under-rotations and some downgrades, but usually stands up on it.  His success is largely due to skating clean programs after the quad with all positive GOEs, Level 4s and great program component marks.

Max Aaron won one medal on the Grand Prix this season and has the 9th best international score of the season, however his best segments were set at different events.  His short program has a quad toe + triple toe, quad salchow, and a triple axel in the bonus.  His free skate has a quad toe + double toe, quad salchow, and a quad toe in the bonus along with two triple axels.

Jason Brown has the 10th best score internationally this season, but his best segment scores came from different events.  He qualified for his first Grand Prix Final this season after Boyang Jin had to withdraw.  He hasn’t been including the quad in his programs at all, except for earlier this season but has been practicing it in San Jose.  His short program has a triple axel, triple flip + triple toe, and a triple lutz in the bonus.  A free skate with a quad would likely have a quad toe as the first jump with his triple axel + triple toe, triple lutz + half loop + triple salchow, and triple lutz + triple toe combinations in the bonus.

Vincent Zhou has the 10th best free skate internationally.  While he finished 2nd at Nationals last season, he was left off the World team as he didn’t have the required minimum scores, but he did take home the Junior World title.  His short program includes a quad lutz + triple toe, quad flip, and a triple axel in the bonus.  Like Chen, he is planning a five quad free skate with a quad lutz + triple toe, quad flip, quad salchow + double toe, and a quad toe and quad lutz in the bonus.  He also has an extremely difficult triple lutz + single loop + triple flip combination as the last jump in his free skate.

A few junior international skaters are competing at this event, and while the podium may be out of reach, they’re competing for a spot on the Junior Worlds team and setting themselves up for the post Olympic period.

Alexei Krasnozhon holds the best short program, 2nd best free skate, and best total scores as a Junior this season.  He is undefeated at the junior level and is the reigning Junior Grand Prix Final Champion.  He has one quad in his junior level free skate and it will be interesting to see what he does here for a senior level program.

Andrew Torgashev holds the 8th best total score internationally as a junior, and had a great season qualifying for the Junior Grand Prix Final, however his scores got worst as the season went on, and he scored under 200 points at the Final.

Tomoki Hiwatshi did not qualify for the Final, but he did win two medals on the Junior Grand Prix and has the 10th best score this season.  He is a former World Junior medalist, but hasn’t had as much success nationally the last few years.

With all of these quads, clean programs have been hard to come by this season, and most skaters have been tweaking their programs, changing the quads or rearranging the layouts, which means the muscle memory is not as high.  But by this point in the season, we should be expecting to see clean programs.

Nathan Chen has the highest planned base value for jumps in the short program with 40.78 points.  Vincent Zhou is a close second with 39.55 points.  Of the top five men competing, Rippon and Brown sit way back, each with a base value of 24.70 points.  If everyone hits their jumps cleanly, Rippon and Brown need 16 more points from GOEs and PCS than Chen and Zhou receive which would be almost impossible.

The difference is even more glaring in the free skate where Zhou has a planned base value of 97 points and Chen has a base value of 86 (largely due to a double salchow he had at his last two events while he was trying for a quad salchow and will likely be replaced with a higher value jump).  Rippon, Aaron, and Brown (if he goes for the quad toe) are all on equal footing around 71-74 points.

If Brown goes for the quad toe in the free skate, his total base value for all the jumps in both his short program and free skate is 95.44 points.  Zhou’s planned base value for his free skate alone is nearly 2 points higher.  However, jumps are only part of the game and Zhou did not win a medal on the Grand Prix while Brown qualified for the Final.

Chen’s short programs have largely been solid this season, and he has the three highest total element scores for the short program, never dropping below 57 points, and over 10 points better than the next best competitor’s cleanest program.  Zhou has been all over the map, posting the 2nd highest score after Chen with 45.66 points and the lowest of the top 5 men at 32.12 points.

For program components, Chen again has the highest score, just over 45 points, but all three of Jason Brown’s scores come next and are within .3 of a point of each other.  Zhou holds the two lowest program component scores of any of these men.

In the free skate, Zhou and Chen are the only two to score about 100 points on their elements, while Aaron and Rippon have each scored above 90.  Brown has the three lowest technical scores, with his highest barely reaching the 80s.  However, Brown holds the top three program component scores and is the only one of the US men to top 90.  Rippon and Chen come next and again, Vincent Zhou has the two lowest scores.

For Zhou the most concerning thing is that he was able to skate a decent free skate and score over 100 points on the technical side on the free, still considered a gold standard to achieve, yet he was not able to win a medal.  He has never skated a clean short this season and often finds himself digging out of a hole, and his program component scores are not doing him any favors.  However, if he skates a clean program with five quads in front of his home crowd, he might see inflated PCS marks.

 

Short Program TES

Nathan Chen: 59.56 (SA)

Nathan Chen: 58.14 (GPF)

Nathan Chen: 57.57 (RC)

Vincent Zhou: 45.66 (CoC)

Jason Brown: 45.64 (SC)

Adam Rippon: 45.04 (SA)

Max Aaron: 44.50 (CoC)

Jason Brown: 44.30 (GPF)

Adam Rippon: 43.16 (NHK)

Adam Rippon: 42.59 (GPF)

Max Aaron: 41.54 (IDF)

Jason Brown: 40.58 (NHK)

Vincent Zhou: 32.12 (IDF)

Short Program PCS

Nathan Chen: 45.18 (GPF)

Jason Brown: 45.07 (SC)

Jason Brown: 44.78 (NHK)

Jason Brown: 44.72 (GPF)

Nathan Chen: 44.56 (SA)

Adam Rippon: 44.00 (SA)

Adam Rippon: 43.60 (GPF)

Nathan Chen: 42.97 (RC)

Adam Rippon: 41.79 (NHK)

Max Aaron: 38.61 (CoC)

Max Aaron: 38.10 (IDF)

Vincent Zhou: 36.57 (CoC)

Vincent Zhou: 36.00 (IDF)

Free Skate TES

Nathan Chen: 104.85 (RC)

Vincent Zhou: 102.35 (RC)

Max Aaron: 96.60 (CoC)

Nathan Chen: 95.75 (GPF)

Adam Rippon: 91.46 (NHK)

Adam Rippon: 88.91 (SA)

Vincent Zhou: 88.57 (IDF)

Nathan Chen: 86.68 (SA)

Max Aaron: 82.70 (IDF)

Adam Rippon: 81.78 (GPF)

Jason Brown: 80.77 (SC)

Jason Brown: 75.71 (GPF)

Jason Brown: 72.73 (NHK)

Free Skate PCS

Jason Brown: 90.66 (SC)

Jason Brown: 90.08 (GPF)

Jason Brown: 89.86 (NHK)

Adam Rippon: 88.50 (SA)

Nathan Chen: 88.44 (GPF)

Nathan Chen: 88.40 (RC)

Adam Rippon: 87.36 (GPF)

Nathan Chen: 87.08 (SA)

Adam Rippon: 85.58 (NHK)

Max Aaron: 79.98 (CoC)

Max Aaron: 75.86 (IDF)

Vincent Zhou: 75.08 (CoC)

Vincent Zhou: 69.52 (IDF)

 

My podium predictions:

Gold: Nathan Chen

Silver: Adam Rippon

Bronze: Vincent Zhou

Pewter: Jason Brown

 

Bios of the competitors:

Max Aaron: He is 25 years old and represents the Broadmoor Skating Club.  He won bronze at Cup of China and placed 7th at Internationaux de France.  He won silver at the US International Figure Skating Classic.  He finished 9th last season, is the 2016 Silver Medalist, 2015 Pewter Medalist, 2014 Bronze Medalist, 2013 Champion, finished 8th in seniors in 2012, is the 2011 Junior Champion, 2010 Junior Bronze Medalist, finished 13th in juniors in 2008, 5th in novice in 2007, is the 2006 Intermediate Bronze Medalist and the 2005 Juvenile Champion.  He has the 9th best free skate and 9th best total scores internationally.

Jason Brown: He is 23 and represents the Skokie Valley Skating Club.  He finished 7th at Worlds and 6th at Four Continents last season.  He won silver at Skate Canada and placed 4th at NHK Trophy to qualify for the Grand Prix Final where he finished 6th.  He won silver at Lombardia Trophy.  He is the 2013 Junior Worlds Silver Medalist and the 2012 Junior Worlds Bronze Medalist.  He is the reigning Bronze Medalist, 2015 Champion, 2014 Silver Medalist, finished 8th in 2013, 9th in 2012, 7th in 2011, is the 2010 Junior Champion, 2009 Novice Bronze Medalist, 2008 Intermediate Silver Medalist and 2007 Juvenile Champion.  He has the 9th best short program, 8th best free skate, and 10th best total scores internationally.

Nathan Chen: He is 18 years old and represents the Salt Lake Figure Skating Club.  He finished 6th at Worlds and is the reigning Four Continents Champion.  He won gold at Rostelecom Cup and gold at Skate America to qualify for the Grand Prix Final where he won gold.  He won gold at the US International Figure Skating Classic.  He is the 2014 World Junior Bronze Medalist.  He is the reigning Champion, 2016 Silver Medalist, finished 8th in 2015, is the 2014 Junior Champion, 2013 Junior Bronze Medalist, 2012 Junior Champion, 2011 Novice Champion, 201o Novice Champion, 2009 Intermediate Silver Medalist, 2008 Juvenile Bronze Medalist and placed 10th as a juvenile in 2007.  He has the 4th best short program, 3rd best free skate, and 2nd best total scores internationally.

Timothy Dolensky: He is 25 and represents the Atlanta Figure Skating Club.  He placed 6th at the US International Figure Skating Classic.  He finished 7th last season, 7th in 2016, 14th in 2015, 13th in 2014, is the 2012 Junior Silver Medalist, 2010 Novice Bronze Medalist, finished 15th in intermediate in 2007, 15th in intermediate in 2006 and 9th in juvenile in 2005.

Scott Dyer: He is 26 and represents the All Year Figure Skating Club.  He placed 14th last season, 11th in 2016, 18th in 2014, 10th in 2012, 13th in 2011, is the 2010 Junior Pewter Medalist, the 2007 Novice Pewter Medalist and the 2006 Novice Pewter Medalist.  He won gold at Southwest Pacific Regionals and bronze at Pacific Coast Sectionals to qualify for nationals.

Tomoki Hiwatshi: He is 17 years old and competes for the DuPage Figure Skating Club.  He won bronze at JGP Latvia and bronze at JGP Italy.  He is the 2016 World Junior Bronze Medalist.  He finished 15th last season, is the 2016 Junior Champion, finished 5th in juniors in 2015, is the 2013 Novice Champion, 2012 Intermediate Champion, the 2011 Juvenile Champion and finished 6th in Juvenile Boys in 2010.  He has the 10th best short program and 10th best total scores internationally as a junior.

Grant Hochstein: He is 27 and represents the Skating Club of New York.  He finished 9th at Four Continents last season.  He placed 11th at Rostelecom Cup and 9th at Cup of China.  He placed 4th at Ondrej Nepela Trophy.  He is the reigning Pewter Medalist, 2016 Pewter Medalist, finished 9th in 2015, 11th in 2014, 15th in 2013, 12th in 2012, 12th in 2011, 7th in 2010, is the 2009 Junior Pewter Medalist, finished 11th in junior in 2008, 12th in juniors in 2007, 8th in novice in 2005, is the 2004 Intermediate Pewter Medalist, and finished 10th in juvenile in 2003.

Ben Jalovick: He is 24 years old and represents the Centennial 7k Skating Club.  He finished 15th in seniors in 2016, 11th in juniors in 2015, 11th as a junior in 2014 and 17th as an intermediate in 2011.  He won gold at Southwestern Regionals and pewter at Midwestern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.

Alexander Johnson: He is 27 and represents the Braemar-City of Lakes Figure Skating Club.  He won silver at Nebelhorn Trophy and finished 9th at Golden Spin of Zagbreb.  He finished 6th last season, 6th in 2016, 11th in 2015, 7th in 2013, 15th in 2012, 17th in 2010, is the 2009 Junior Bronze Medalist, finished 7th in juniors in 2008, is the 2007 Novice Silver Medalist, finished 9th in novice in 2006, 5th in intermediate in 2005, 13th in intermediate in 2004, 12th in juvenile in 2003 and 16th in juvenile in 2002.  He won gold at Midwestern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.

Alexei Krasnozhon: He is 17 years old and represents the Dallas Figure Skating Club.  He placed 8th at Junior Worlds.  He won gold at JGP Croatia and gold at JGP Australia to qualify for the Junior Grand Prix Final were he won gold.  He won silver at Tallinn Trophy.  He is the reigning Junior Champion, 2016 Junior Bronze Medalist, and 2015 Junior Pewter Medalist.  He has the best short program, 2nd best free skate, and best total scores internationally as a junior.

Daniel Kulenkamp: He is 22 years old and competes for the Figure Skating Club of Southern California.  He finished 16th last season, 10th in 2016, 8th in juniors in 2015, 13th as a junior in 2014, 5th as a novice in 2013 and 12th in intermediates in 2011.  He won silver at Pacific Coast Sectionals to qualify for nationals.

Jimmy Ma: He is 22 years old and represents the Ice House of New Jersey Figure Skating Club.  He finished 20th last season, 16th in 2016, 18th in 2015, is the 2014 Junior Bronze Medalist, 2013 Junior Pewter Medalist, finished 5th as a novice in 2012 and 14th as an intermediate in 2010.  He won bronze at Eastern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.

Ross Miner: He is 26 and represents the Skating Club of Boston.  He finished 6th at Skate America.  He placed 6th at the Autumn Classic International and 5th at Finlandia Trophy.  He is the 2012 Four Continents Bronze Medalist.  He finished 5th last season, 5th in 2016, 6th in 2015, 7th in 2014, is the 2013 Silver Medalist, 2012 Bronze Medalist, 2011 Bronze Medalist, 2009 Junior Champion, 2008 Novice Silver Medalist, 2006 Intermediate Champion and finished 8th in intermediate in 2005.

Jordan Moeller: He is 22 years old and represents the Northern Ice Skating Club.  He placed 10th at Lombardia Trophy.  He finished 10th last season, 13th in 2015, is the 2014 Junior Silver Medalist, 2013 Junior Pewter Medalist, finished 5th as a novice in 2012 and 14th as an intermediate in 2010.  He won bronze at Midwestern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.

Sebastien Payannet: He is 23 and represents the Los Angeles Figure Skating Club.  He finished 21st last season, 14th in 2016, and 20th in 2015.  He won silver at Southwest Pacific Regionals and pewter at Pacific Coast Sectionals to qualify for nationals.

Sean Rabbitt: He is 27 and represents the Glacier Falls Figure Skating Club.  He placed 8th at the US International Figure Skating Classic.  He finished 8th last season, 9th in 2016, 12th in 2015, 14th in 2014 and 19th in 2013.  He won gold at Pacific Coast Sectionals to qualify for nationals.

Adam Rippon: He is 28 and represents the Skating Club of New York.  He won silver at NHK Trophy and silver at Skate America to qualify for the Grand Prix Final where he placed 5th.  He won bronze at Finlandia Trophy.  He is the 2010 Four Continents Champion and the 2008 and 2009 World Junior Champion.  He is the 2016 Champion, 2015 Silver Medalist, placed 8th in 2014, 5th in 2013, is the 2012 Silver Medalist, finished 5th in 2011, 5th in 2010, 7th in 2009, is the 2008 Junior Champion, finished 6th in juniors in 2007, 11th in juniors in 2006, is the 2005 Novice Silver Medalist, finished 6th in intermediate in 2004 and 7th in juvenile in 2003.  He has the 7th best free skate and 7th best total scores internationally.

Emmanuel Savary: He is 20 years old and represents the University of Delaware Figure Skating Club.  He finished 13th last season, 13th in 2016, 12th in juniors in 2012, 5th in juniors in 2011, is the 2010 Novice Silver Medalist, 2009 Intermediate Champion and 6th in Juvenile in 2007.  He won pewter at Eastern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.

Kevin Shum: He is 20 years old and represents the Skating Club of Boston.  He is the 2015 and 2016 Junior Silver Medalist, finished 6th in juniors in 2014, is the 2012 Novice Pewter Medalist, finished 9th as a novice in 2011 and 6th as an intermediate in 2010.  He won silver at Eastern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.

Andrew Torgashev: He is 16 years old and represents the Panthers Figure Skating Club.  He placed 25th at Junior Worlds last season.  He won silver at JGP Belarus and placed 4th at JGP Italy to qualify for the Junior Grand Prix Final where he placed 6th.  He placed 6th at the Warsaw Cup.  He finished 11th last season, is the 2015 Junior Champion, 2014 Novice Pewter Medalist, 2013 Intermediate Men’s Champion, 2012 Juvenile Boys Champion and 2011 Juvenile Boys Bronze Medalist.  He has the 9th best short program, 8th best free skate, and 8th best total scores internationally as a junior.

Vincent Zhou: He is 17 years old and represents the Broadmoor Skating Club.  He is the reigning World Junior Champion.  He placed 4th at Cup of China and 9th at Internationaux de France.  He won silver at Finlandia Trophy.  He is the reigning Silver Medalist, finished 8th in 2016, is the 2013 Junior Champion, 2012 Novice Champion, 2011 Intermediate Champion and placed 5th in juvenile in 2010.  He has the 10th best free skate score internationally.

2017 Grand Prix Final Men’s Results

Short Program

PL. Name Nation TSS TES PCS SS TR PE CO IN Deduction StN.
1 Nathan CHEN  USA 103.32 58.14 45.18 9.00 8.79 9.11 9.07 9.21 0.00 #6
2 Shoma UNO  JPN 101.51 57.04 46.47 9.36 9.11 9.32 9.32 9.36 2.00 #5
3 Mikhail KOLYADA  RUS 99.22 55.51 44.71 9.07 8.75 8.89 9.00 9.00 1.00 #4
4 Jason BROWN  USA 89.02 44.30 44.72 8.93 8.82 8.93 8.93 9.11 0.00 #1
5 Sergei VORONOV  RUS 87.77 45.16 42.61 8.54 8.29 8.64 8.46 8.68 0.00 #3
6 Adam RIPPON  USA 86.19 42.59 43.60 8.68 8.46 8.82 8.75 8.89 0.00 #2

Free Skate

PL. Name Nation TSS TES PCS SS TR PE CO IN Deduction StN.
1 Shoma UNO  JPN 184.50 94.14 91.36 9.36 8.96 9.00 9.18 9.18 1.00 #6
2 Nathan CHEN  USA 183.19 95.75 88.44 8.96 8.61 8.86 8.93 8.86 1.00 #4
3 Mikhail KOLYADA  RUS 182.78 95.58 89.20 9.07 8.75 8.75 8.96 9.07 2.00 #5
4 Sergei VORONOV  RUS 178.82 91.90 86.92 8.68 8.39 9.00 8.57 8.82 0.00 #2
5 Adam RIPPON  USA 168.14 81.78 87.36 8.71 8.43 8.79 8.86 8.89 1.00 #1
6 Jason BROWN  USA 164.79 75.71 90.08 9.00 8.93 8.89 9.11 9.11 1.00 #3

 

Total

PL Name Nation SP FS Points
1. Nathan CHEN  USA 1 2 286.51
2. Shoma UNO  JPN 2 1 286.01
3. Mikhail KOLYADA  RUS 3 3 282.00
4. Sergei VORONOV  RUS 5 4 266.59
5. Adam RIPPON  USA 6 5 254.33
6. Jason BROWN  USA 4 6 253.81

2017 NHK Trophy Men’s Results

Short Program

PL. Name Nation TSS TES PCS SS TR PE CO IN Deduction StN.
1 Sergei VORONOV  RUS 90.06 49.18 40.88 8.25 7.89 8.39 8.21 8.14 0.00 #6
2 Alexei BYCHENKO  ISR 85.52 45.84 39.68 7.93 7.57 8.11 8.07 8.00 0.00 #10
3 Jason BROWN  USA 85.36 40.58 44.78 8.82 8.82 8.93 9.07 9.14 0.00 #11
4 Adam RIPPON  USA 84.95 43.16 41.79 8.32 8.11 8.43 8.36 8.57 0.00 #9
5 Keegan MESSING  CAN 80.13 42.37 38.76 7.75 7.50 7.86 7.79 7.86 1.00 #3
6 Kazuki TOMONO  JPN 79.88 43.80 36.08 7.29 6.93 7.39 7.18 7.29 0.00 #2
7 Dmitri ALIEV  RUS 77.51 39.40 39.11 7.96 7.79 7.68 7.93 7.75 1.00 #8
8 Deniss VASILJEVS  LAT 76.51 38.54 38.97 7.86 7.54 7.82 7.82 7.93 1.00 #7
9 Michal BREZINA  CZE 76.24 37.28 39.96 8.07 7.61 8.07 8.00 8.21 1.00 #5
10 Hiroaki SATO  JPN 75.95 40.56 35.39 7.25 6.82 7.14 7.07 7.11 0.00 #1
11 Nam NGUYEN  CAN 65.82 32.76 35.06 7.14 6.75 6.96 7.25 6.96 2.00 #4

Free Skate

PL. Name Nation TSS TES PCS SS TR PE CO IN Deduction StN.
1 Sergei VORONOV  RUS 181.06 94.34 86.72 8.71 8.29 8.89 8.68 8.79 0.00 #9
2 Adam RIPPON  USA 177.04 91.46 85.58 8.54 8.29 8.75 8.46 8.75 0.00 #6
3 Alexei BYCHENKO  ISR 166.55 85.85 80.70 8.14 7.89 8.18 8.07 8.07 0.00 #10
4 Jason BROWN  USA 160.59 72.73 89.86 8.89 8.93 8.79 9.11 9.21 2.00 #11
5 Deniss VASILJEVS  LAT 158.29 76.43 81.86 8.11 7.89 8.21 8.29 8.43 0.00 #4
6 Keegan MESSING  CAN 155.67 74.59 81.08 8.18 7.86 8.18 8.11 8.21 0.00 #7
7 Kazuki TOMONO  JPN 152.05 75.69 77.36 7.71 7.46 7.79 7.86 7.86 1.00 #8
8 Nam NGUYEN  CAN 148.69 78.49 70.20 7.21 6.68 7.00 7.07 7.14 0.00 #1
9 Dmitri ALIEV  RUS 145.94 70.52 77.42 7.89 7.50 7.61 7.89 7.82 2.00 #3
10 Michal BREZINA  CZE 144.21 66.35 79.86 8.07 7.79 7.89 8.11 8.07 2.00 #5
11 Hiroaki SATO  JPN 123.25 55.67 68.58 7.04 6.54 6.75 7.00 6.96 1.00 #2

Total

PL Name Nation SP FS Points
1. Sergei VORONOV  RUS 1 1 271.12
2. Adam RIPPON  USA 4 2 261.99
3. Alexei BYCHENKO  ISR 2 3 252.07
4. Jason BROWN  USA 3 4 245.95
5. Keegan MESSING  CAN 5 6 235.80
6. Deniss VASILJEVS  LAT 8 5 234.80
7. Kazuki TOMONO  JPN 6 7 231.93
8. Dmitri ALIEV  RUS 7 9 223.45
9. Michal BREZINA  CZE 9 10 220.45
10. Nam NGUYEN  CAN 11 8 214.51
11. Hiroaki SATO  JPN 10 11 199.20
Withdrawn
Yuzuru HANYU  JPN

2017 NHK Trophy Men’s Preview

Mikhail Kolyada is the only top competitor done with his Grand Prix events, and he sits at 26 points overall.  Definitely enough to keep him in the running, but there are still six open spots available.

Yuzuru Hanyu will be a quad leader at this event, going for two quads in the short program and at least three quads in the free skate.  This will be a good indicator of how well he is healing from his injury if he can include the quad loop in his program and land it cleanly.  The rest of the top competitors plan quads in both of their programs, but are often sporadic in their success (Aliev, Voronov, Nguyen) or only plan one quad and have not been very successful (Brown, Rippon).

Two of the Japanese competitors are making their Grand Prix debut here.  Dennis Vasiljevs and Dmitri Aliev are the youngest at 18 while Sergei Voronov is the veteran at 30.  Yuzuru Hanyu is the only one in the field to have scored over 300 points, and no one else has even scored above 280.

Yuzuru Hanyu suffered an upset when he lost to Nathan Chen at Rostelecom Cup.  However, he has not been competing at full strength all season.  At the Autumn Classic International, he set the best short program score with a quad salchow and a quad t0e + triple toe.  At Rostelecom Cup, he went for the quad loop but it was under-rotated and he fell on his combo.  His program components were also significantly lower in Russia, in the low to mid 9s and he received no 10.00 marks, compared to 9 for his short program at ACI.  He won the free skate in Russia, even though he was edged out on the technical side.  He landed a quad lutz, quad salchow, and quad toe + double toe.  He popped one quad toe into a double but he also landed two triple axels and he only earned a slight negative GOE on the quad salchow.  Overall, he received 13 points from GOEs and had program components in the low to mid 9s.  He needs a gold medal to guarantee a spot in the Final while a silver would keep him in contention.   He has the best short program, score, 2nd best free skate score, and 3rd best total scores.

Jason Brown won a silver medal at Skate Canada.  He went for a quad toe in his short program at Lombardia Trophy (downgraded and fall), but in Canada he went for the safer triple lutz and triple flip + triple toe combination.  Brown is all about the total package, but one thing he could do to compensate for the lack of quad would be to backload the program and put all of his jumps in the bonus, instead of just one.  His program components at both events were in the high 8s to low 9s.   While his free skate in Italy did not include a quad, he went for the quad toe at Skate Canada, and it was under-rotated and had a fall.  He also under-rotated his triple axel and singled a loop near the end of the program.  His highest value element was his triple axel + triple toe in the bonus that earned him 15.37 points.  At both events he had program components in the high 8s to mid 9s.  He has been playing with his layouts thoughout the season, but hasn’t successfully hit a clean quad in competition, so it is unlikely we will see more than one attempt from him here.  He needs a gold medal to guarantee him a trip to his first ever Grand Prix Final, while a silver will keep him in contention.  He has the 8th best short program, 6th best free skate, and 8th best total scores.

Dmitri Aliev finished 6th in his Grand Prix debut at Rostelecom Cup.  He won’t be able to qualify for the Final, but he could be in the running for his first career Grand Prix medal.  His short program includes a quad toe and a triple lutz + triple toe combination.  He earned all positive GOEs and had program components in the high 7s to low 8s.  He struggled in the free skate at that event and didn’t finish in the top six for that segment.  He has the 9th best short program score.

Sergei Voronov is starting his 12th season on the Grand Prix circuit.  His career has been a bit sporadic, but he has won six career medals, and even qualified for the Final in 2014, winning bronze.  However, he has never won a gold medal.  He won silver at Ondrej Nepela Trophy and gold at Minsk-Arena Ice Star to start his season.  At Ondrej Nepela, he fell on a quad toe in his short program but also landed a triple lutz + triple toe.  His program components were in the low to mid 7s.  He didn’t fall on the quad toe in Minsk, but it did receive a negative GOE.  His program components were slightly better, in the mid to high 7s.  He didn’t have a good free skate at Nepela, but at Ice Star, he landed a quad toe + triple toe and a quad toe with two triple axels.  He even received a Level 4 for his step sequence.  His program components were in the mid 7s to mid 8s.  He has the 10th best free skate score.

Nam Nguyen finished 7th at Rostelecom Cup, so he doesn’t have a shot at the Grand Prix Final, but he can try and win his second career Grand Prix medal.  He has the 10th best short program score, but that was set at Autumn Classic International, where he hit a quad salchow + triple toe and a quad toe.  At Rostelecom Cup, he didn’t place in the top 6 for his short program.  His free skate at that event only included two quads (one under-rotated and a fall and a third one popped), but the rest of the program was better.  His program components are a bit on the low side, with most in the mid 7 range.

Adam Rippon is going into his 10th season on the Grand Prix.  He has medaled five times, and qualified for the Final for the first time last season.  He has never won gold, and has only won a silver medal one time.  He missed US Nationals and the opportunity to compete at Four Continents and Worlds last season due to a foot injury.  He started this season with a bronze medal at Finlandia Trophy.  His short program includes a triple flip + triple toe and a triple lutz.  He earned all positive GOEs and had program components in the low to mid 8s.  His free skate did include a quad lutz but he fell and it was under-rotated, earning just 4.50 points.  He also under-rotated a triple lutz at the end of the program and had a messy landing on a triple axel.  His program components were in the low to mid 8s and he earned Level 4 for his step sequence and spins.

 

My podium predictions:

Gold: Yuzuru Hanyu

Silver: Jason Brown

Bronze: Adam Rippon

 

Bios of the competitors:

Keegan Messing, CAN: He finished 8th at Skate Canada.  His personal best is 248.30.  He is 25 years old.

Nam Nguyen, CAN: He placed 8th at Four Continents.  He finished 7th at Rostelecom Cup.  He is the 2014 World Junior Champion.  His personal best is 245.21.  He is 19 years old.

Michal Brezina, CZE: He placed 17th at Worlds and 12th at Europeans last season.  He finished 6th at Skate Canada.  He is the 2013 European Bronze Medalist and 2009 World Junior Silver Medalist.  His personal best is 243.52.  He is 27 years old.

Alexei Bychenko, ISR: He finished 10th at Worlds and 5th at Europeans.  He won bronze at Rostelecom Cup and placed 4th at NHK Trophy last season.  He is the 2016 European Silver Medalist.  His personal best is 255.52.  He is 29 years old.

Yuzuru Hanyu, JPN: He is the reigning World Champion and Four Continents Silver Medalist.  He won silver at Rostelecom Cup.  He is the 2014 Olympic Champion; 2014 World Champion; 2015 and 2016 World Silver Medalist; 2012 World Bronze Medalist; 2011 and 2013 Four Continents Silver Medalist; and 2010 World Junior champion.  His personal best is 330.43.  He is 22 years old.

Hiroaki Sato, JPN: This is his Grand Prix debut.  His personal best is 184.78.  He is 21 years old.

Kazuki Tomono, JPN: He finished 9th at Junior Worlds.  He placed 4th at JGP Japan last season and won bronze at JGP Sloevenia.  This is his Grand Prix debut.  His personal best is 225.30.  He is 19 years old.

Deniss Vasiljevs, LAT: He placed 14th at Worlds and 7th at Europeans.  He finished 8th at Rostelecom Cup.  His personal best is 239.00.  He is 18 years old.

Dmitri Aliev, RUS: He is the reigning World Junior Silver Medalist.  He finished 6th at Rostelecom Cup.  His personal best is 247.31.  He is 18 years old.

Sergei Voronov, RUS: He finished 4th at Skate America and won bronze at Cup of China last season.  He is the 2014 European Silver Medalist and 2015 European Bronze Medalist.  His personal best is 252.55.  He is 30 years old.

Jason Brown, USA: He placed 7th at Worlds and 6th at Four Continents.  He won silver at Skate Canada.  He is the 2013 World Junior Silver Medalist and 2012 World Junior Bronze Medalist.  His personal best is 273.67.  He is 22 years old.

Adam Rippon, USA: He won bronze at Skate America and bronze at Trophee de France last season to qualify for the Grand Prix Final where he finished 6th.  He is the 2010 Four Continents Champion and 2008 and 2009 World Junior Champion.  His personal best is 267.53.  He is 27 years old.

2017 Skate Canada Men’s Results

Short Program

  Pl. Name Nation TSS
=
TES
+
PCS
+
SS TR PE CO IN Ded.
StN.
1 Shoma UNO JPN 103.62 57.12 46.50 9.29 9.14 9.46 9.32 9.29 0.00 #12
2 Patrick CHAN CAN 94.43 48.01 46.42 9.39 9.18 9.14 9.32 9.39 0.00 #11
3 Jason BROWN USA 90.71 45.64 45.07 8.79 8.96 9.11 9.00 9.21 0.00 #10
4 Alexander SAMARIN RUS 84.02 46.40 37.62 7.79 7.18 7.61 7.50 7.54 0.00 #9
5 Keegan MESSING CAN 82.17 45.75 37.42 7.68 7.32 7.39 7.46 7.57 1.00 #1
6 Jorik HENDRICKX BEL 82.08 41.89 40.19 7.93 7.82 8.04 8.11 8.29 0.00 #8
7 Michal BREZINA CZE 80.34 42.09 38.25 7.79 7.25 7.68 7.71 7.82 0.00 #7
8 Takahito MURA JPN 74.82 38.35 36.47 7.54 7.04 7.25 7.32 7.32 0.00 #6
9 Nicolas NADEAU CAN 74.23 38.48 36.75 7.39 7.11 7.36 7.46 7.43 1.00 #2
10 Paul FENTZ GER 68.48 34.91 34.57 7.00 6.82 6.75 7.07 6.93 1.00 #3
11 Jun Hwan CHA KOR 68.46 31.78 36.68 7.43 7.18 7.39 7.36 7.32 0.00 #4
12 Brendan KERRY AUS 63.19 31.20 33.99 6.96 6.71 6.57 6.93 6.82 2.00 #5

Free Skate

Pl. Name Nation TSS
=
TES
+
PCS
+
SS TR PE CO IN Ded.
StN.
1 Shoma UNO JPN 197.48 106.32 91.16 9.29 8.89 9.04 9.11 9.25 0.00 #10
2 Jason BROWN USA 170.43 80.77 90.66 8.86 9.04 9.04 9.07 9.32 1.00 #12
3 Alexander SAMARIN RUS 166.04 87.68 78.36 8.04 7.54 8.14 7.71 7.75 0.00 #8
4 Michal BREZINA CZE 156.70 79.62 77.08 7.79 7.43 7.75 7.64 7.93 0.00 #5
5 Jorik HENDRICKX BEL 155.23 75.23 80.00 8.00 7.79 8.04 7.96 8.21 0.00 #7
6 Nicolas NADEAU CAN 155.20 77.56 77.64 7.75 7.46 8.04 7.68 7.89 0.00 #4
7 Patrick CHAN CAN 151.27 61.41 90.86 9.25 9.18 8.71 9.11 9.18 1.00 #11
8 Jun Hwan CHA KOR 141.86 72.14 70.72 7.21 6.86 7.18 7.04 7.07 1.00 #3
9 Brendan KERRY AUS 138.37 71.23 67.14 7.04 6.39 6.75 6.68 6.71 0.00 #1
10 Keegan MESSING CAN 135.58 59.16 78.42 7.79 7.68 7.57 7.96 8.21 2.00 #9
11 Paul FENTZ GER 133.12 65.54 68.58 7.04 6.64 6.89 6.86 6.86 1.00 #2
12 Takahito MURA JPN 111.84 40.14 71.70 7.46 7.07 6.86 7.25 7.21 0.00 #6

Total

FPl. Name Nation Points SP FS
1 Shoma UNO
JPN
301.10 1 1
2 Jason BROWN
USA
261.14 3 2
3 Alexander SAMARIN
RUS
250.06 4 3
4 Patrick CHAN
CAN
245.70 2 7
5 Jorik HENDRICKX
BEL
237.31 6 5
6 Michal BREZINA
CZE
237.04 7 4
7 Nicolas NADEAU
CAN
229.43 9 6
8 Keegan MESSING
CAN
217.75 5 10
9 Jun Hwan CHA
KOR
210.32 11 8
10 Paul FENTZ
GER
201.60 10 11
11 Brendan KERRY
AUS
201.56 12 9
12 Takahito MURA
JPN
186.66 8 12

2017 Skate Canada Men’s Preview

Four of these men are making their Grand Prix debuts at this event, including World Junior Bronze Medalist, Alexander Samarin.  The youngest competitor is Jun Hwan Cha who is making his Grand Prix debut at age 18, while the oldest is Michal Brezina at age 27.  Only Shoma Uno has scored above 300 points, and additionally, only Patrick Chan has scored over 290.

This event will be very interesting as it will pit artistry against the technical side, as these competitors don’t have quite as much fire power as last week.  Shoma Uno is definitely the favorite coming into this event, and he has been able to add an impressive arsenal of quads to his programs while also maintaining artistic excellence in his programs.  He was finally able to master the nerves last season and medal at Worlds for the first time.  Jason Brown may only attempt one or two quads in his programs but his grade of execution scores and program components are often enough to keep him in the mix with the top men.  And Patrick Chan was once the technical leader among men, and for years was the only one attempting two quads in a free skate.  Now he seems to be falling behind and even his artistry can’t seem to hold him up, as he finished 5th at Worlds for the second consecutive season.

Shoma Uno is going into just his third season on the Grand Prix, but he has never not won a medal, and never finished lower than 2nd place.  He has also qualified for two consecutive Grand Prix Finals and won two bronze medals.  He started his season with a gold medal at Lombardia Trophy where he sset new personal best scores across the board and is the only man to score above 300 points so far this season.  He landed a quad flip and a quad toe + triple toe in his short program.  His quad combination was in the bonus and earned all positive GOEs, earning 18.26 points overall.  His program components were solid, ranging from 8.85 to 9.25.  His free skate included a quad loop, quad salchow, quad flip, quad toe + double toe, and a quad toe.  The last three quads were in the bonus, and he earned positive GOEs on all but the quad loop.  In addition, he landed two triple axel combinations.  His GOE earned him 23 points and his program components were in the high 8s to mid 9s.  He has the 2nd best short program, best free skate, and best total scores.

Jason Brown is starting his fifth season on the Grand Prix.  He has won four medals total but has never qualified for the Grand Prix Final.  He won silver at Lombardia Trophy to start his season.  His short program there included a downgraded quad toe with a fall, earning only 1.20 points.  He also received negative GOEs on his triple axel.  The rest of the program was strong with all positive GOEs and Level 4 on his spins and steps.  His program components were in the high 8s and low 9s.  His free skate did not include a quad attempt and he had his triple + triple combination judged under-rotated.  The biggest issue from a technical side is that with the repetition of jump rules and no quads, he has to complete two double axels in his program, which are worth only 3.30 points or 3.63 in the bonus.  He also could backload his program more to make up some of the points, as he has five of the eight jumping passes in the bonus.  His GOEs earned him 13 points and his program components were in the high 8s to mid 9s.  He has the 6th best free skate and 7th best total score.

Brown’s biggest challenge in catching up to Uno comes down to the technical score.  Brown is well known for completing his elements extremely well and for making up points on the grade of execution, however, the GOE is factored based on the base value of the element.  So the higher the base value, the higher the potential gain from a GOE.  In the free skate at Lombardia Trophy, Uno earned 10 points MORE from GOE than Brown.  For example, Brown completed a double axel that earned three +2s, three +1s, and one 0 which gave him .70 points.  Uno completed a quad salchow that earned one +2, four +1s, and two 0s but earned .80 in GOE.  So although Uno’s element was not judged to be as clean as Brown’s, he received more points overall.

Jorik Hendrickx is competing in just his fourth Grand Prix event and has never finished higher than 6th place.  He won gold at Nebelhorn Trophy with personal best scores across the board earlier this season to earn himself an Olympic berth.  His short program includes a triple lutz + triple toe and a triple loop but he earned Level 4 on all of his spins and step sequences and had positive GOEs on all of his elements.  His program components were in the mid 7s to low 8s.  His free skate again did not include a quad, but he earned Level 4 on the steps and spins and had all positive GOEs, earning 11 points.  His GOEs were slightly higher in the high 7s to mid 8s.  He has the 9th best total score.

Keegan Messing is competing in his second ever Grand Prix event.  He finished 11th at this event in 2015.  He won bronze with personal best scores at Autumn Classic International to start the season.  His short program includes a quad toe and a triple lutz + triple toe combination.  His program components were in the mid 8s.  His free skate had a quad toe and a quad toe + double toe in the bonus but he earned Level 1 on one spin and his step sequence in addition to under-rotating a triple loop and receiving an edge call on a triple flip.  His program components were again in the mid 8s.  He has the 9th best short program score.

Patrick Chan will be competing in his 11th season on the Grand Prix.  He has 15 medals, 12 of them gold, and has qualified for the Final eight times, medaling four times.  However, he missed the podium at a Grand Prix event as recently as 2015 and hasn’t medaled at the Final since 2013.  He has not competed yet this season as he was breaking in some new boots and decided not to compete in the Challenger Series.  He often played it safe last season and did not put the quad in his short program, but he is one of only a handful of men to score over 100 points in the short program and 200 points in the free skate, however, he has never done so at the same event.  In fact, his personal best score was set way back in 2013.

 

My podium predictions:

Gold: Shoma Uno

Silver: Patrick Chan

Bronze: Jason Brown

 

Bios of the competitors:

Brendan Kerry, AUS: He placed 15th at Worlds and 11th at Four Continents.  He finished 10th at Skate America and 10th at Trophee de France.  His personal best is 236.24.  He is 22 years old.

Jorik Hendrickx, BEL: He finished 21st at Worlds and 4th at Europeans.  He placed 9th at Skate America and 6th at Trophee de France last season.  His personal best is 253.06.  He is 25 years old.

Patrick Chan, CAN: He placed 5th at Worlds and 4th at Four Continents.  He won gold at Skate Canada and gold at Cup of China last season to qualify for the Grand Prix Final where he finished 5th.  He is the 2014 Olympic Silver Medalist; 2011, 2012, and 2013 World Champion; 2009 and 2010 World Silver Medalist; 2009, 2012, and 2016 Four Continents Champion; and 2007 World Junior Silver Medalist.  His personal best is 295.27.  He is 26 years old.

Keegan Messing, CAN: His personal best is 248.30.  He is 25 years old.

Nicolas Nadeau, CAN: He finished 12th at Junior Worlds.  This is his Grand Prix debut.  His personal best is 224.76.  He is 20 years old.

Michal Brezina, CZE: He placed 17th at Worlds and 12th at Europeans last season.  He finished 4th at Skate Canada and 10th at Cup of China.  He is the 2013 European Bronze Medalist and 2009 World Junior Silver Medalist.  His personal best is 243.52.  He is 27 years old.

Paul Fentz, GER: He finished 20th at Worlds and 10th at Europeans.  This is his Grand Prix debut.  His personal best is 225.85.  He is 25 years old.

Takahito Mura, JPN: He finished 8th at Skate Canada and 5th at Trophee de France last season.  He is the 2014 Four Continents Champion.  His personal best is 268.43.  He is 26 years old.

Shoma Uno, JPN: He is the reigning World Silver Medalist and reigning Four Continents Bronze Medalist. He won gold at Skate America and silver at Rostelecom Cup last season to qualify for the Grand Prix Final where he won bronze.  He is the 2015 World Junior Champion.  His personal best is 319.84.  He is 19 years old.

Jun Hwan Cha, KOR: He finished 5th at Junior Worlds.  He won gold at JGP Japan and gold at JGP Germany last season to qualify for the Junior Grand Prix Final where he won bronze.  This is his Grand Prix debut.  His personal best is 242.45.  He is 18 years old.

Alexander Samarin, RUS: He placed 8th at Europeans and is the reigning World Junior Bronze Medalist.  He won gold at JGP Russia and gold at JGP Estonia last season to qualify for the Junior Grand Prix Final where he won silver.  This is his Grand Prix debut.  His personal best is 245.53.  He is 19 years old.

Jason Brown, USA: He placed 7th at Worlds and 6th at Four Continents.  He won silver at Skate America and finished 7th at NHK Trophy.  He is the 2013 World Junior Silver Medalist and 2012 World Junior Bronze Medalist.  His personal best is 273.67.  He is 22 years old.

2017 World Championships Men’s Preview

It’s all about the quads, bout the quads, no triples should be the motto of the men’s event at the World Championships in Helsinki.  Nathan Chen made history at the US Championships and again at Four Continents when he became the first man to land five quads in a free program.  Several skaters are attempting quad lutzes and quad flips and even quad loops.

Javier Fernandez enters this event as the reigning two-time World Champion and five-time European Champion. He set a personal best defending his World title last season, scoring an impressive 314.93 points.  He has had a less than stellar season this year, placing 4th at the Grand Prix Final and failing to score over 300 points.  Most of this can be attributed to his technical performances which have not been clean this season.  His program components have been strong, with his best short program performance equal to that of Yuzuru Hanyu.  He has the highest program components score in the free skate this season, besting Hanyu.  In the short program he has a very slight technical disadvantage as he has the easier quad salchow and quad toe.  In the free skate, he only has three quads, putting him 10 or even 15 points behind the other top men in the field in planned jump content.  He has to skate perfectly clean if he wants to hold on to his World title.  He has the 2nd best short program, 3rd best free skate, and 3rd best total scores.

Yuzuru Hanyu is the two-time reigning World Silver Medalist.  He competed at Four Continents for the first time since 2013 and walked away with the silver medal.  He started his season with a silver medal at Skate Canada but was able to take home gold from the Grand Prix Final.  He was the first skater to score over 300 points and currently holds the record of 330.43.  However, he has not come close to that mark this season, scoring in the low 300s.  He is the first skater to land a quad loop and has it in both of his programs this season.  His short program includes a quad loop and a quad salchow.  He has five planned quads in his free skate, including the quad loop, two quad salchows, and two quad toes.  His jump content base value in the free skate is 90 points.  His biggest issue is skating his programs cleanly, and he hasn’t been able to skate a clean program, let alone two clean programs in competition this season.  He also has been bested on the program components this season by Patrick Chan and Fernandez.  He has the best short program, best free skate, and 2nd best total scores.

Shoma Uno is the reigning Four Continents Bronze Medalist.  He won a gold and silver on the Grand Prix circuit and took home bronze from the Grand Prix Final.  Last season, he finished a disappointing 7th at Worlds after he won bronze at the Grand Prix Final in his first senior season.  His personal best score is 288.05, set at Four Continents, however he crossed the 300 point threshold a few weeks ago at Coupe de Printemps, a senior B event.  These events are often overscored and thus do not count towards personal best scores, but it will be interesting to see how close he can get to that mark.  His short program includes a quad flip and a quad toe.  His free skate includes four quads, including a quad loop (new at Four Continents), quad flip, and two quad toes.  His planned base value of 84 for his jumps is well below the 90 point threshold that several other top competitors are aiming for, however, he has the best program components of any of the younger skaters.  For both of his programs, he is only within 3-4 points of the top program component scores handed out this season.  He has the 4th best short program, 5th best free skate, and 4th best total scores.

Nathan Chen is the reigning Four Continents Champion.  He won a silver medal at the NHK Trophy to qualify for the Grand Prix Final where he won the silver medal.  In just his first senior season, he has been setting record after record and making history with his programs.  His personal best was set at Four Continents and is 307.46, making him one of only three skaters to score above 300 points in major competition.  What is most impressive about him, is that he has the ability to land five quads in a program cleanly and receive positive GOEs on all of his elements.  He showed a bit of a crack in his armor at Four Continents but was still able to hold off some formidable competition to take home his first championship gold medal.  As expected, he has the best TES scores for the short program and free skate.  His short program includes a quad lutz and a quad flip, giving him the highest jump base value of the competition.  His free skate has a quad lutz, quad flip, two quad toes and a quad salchow.  His program components have been improving throughout the season, going from 40 points in the short program to 43 and from 79 to 88 in the free skate.  He has been working with Marina Zoueva this season, but he’s also a classically trained ballet dancer and it is likely that the increase in his scores is partially based on reputation as he’s made his mark in his first senior season.  His program components at Four Continents, were much higher than they were earlier in the season, and he admitted that he was focused on the technical elements and wasn’t able to put out as strong as an artistic performance as he has in the past.  He is definitely a sleeper for the gold medal, as he has the most difficult content and is the only one who’s been able to skate two clean programs this season, but the program components may hold him back if skaters like Hanyu are relatively clean and have a several point lead on him in that segment.  He has the 3rd best short program, 2nd best free skate, and best total scores.

Boyang Jin was the surprise bronze medalist at last year’s World Championships.  He was the first man to land a quad lutz+triple toe combination in competition.  He won a silver medal at Cup of China this season, but failed to qualify for the Grand Prix Final and he finished off the podium at Four Continents.  He has made strides in the performance quality of his skating, but he’s still behind the rest of the top men in this field.  His other main issue has been landing his jumps and completing them cleanly.  He gives a lot of points away with negative grades of execution.  His personal best came at last year’s Four Continents, where he scored 289.83.  His short program includes a quad lutz and a quad toe, while his free skate has a quad lutz, quad loop, quad salchow and two quad toes.  He has the most difficult free skate planned with the base value for the jumps over 95 points.  However, at Four Continents, where he first debuted his new free skate layout, his TES was only 100 points.  With missed jumps and negative GOEs he lost enough points that he was only able to gain 5 points over his planned jump base value with GOEs, three spins, a step sequence and a choreographic sequence.  And his program components really cost him points, as he’s scoring 10 points behind Nathan Chen in that segment.  Unfortunately, even if he landed a perfectly clean program, he might not have enough technical value to offset the deficits on the artistic side.  He has the 6th best short program, 7th best free skate, and 6th best total scores.

Patrick Chan finished 5th at Worlds last year and 4th at Four Continents last month.  He qualified for the Grand Prix Final after winning a pair of gold medals, but only finished 5th overall.  He takes a calculated risk with his short program, only going for one quad toe, which gives him a base value for his jumps 10 points less than Nathan Chen.  That’s a large gap to overcome, but he’s banking on a clean program and strong program components to make up the gap.  Unfortunately, Hanyu, Fernandez, Uno, and Chan can all put out clean short programs with two quads with strong program components.  This strategy works if other’s falter, but if they hit their jumps he might be out of contention for the podium before the free skate even begins.  He only plans two quads in his free skate, both quad toes.  His jump base value is 77 points, just below Fernandez, but nearly 15 points lower than Hanyu and Chen.  Between two programs he has 25 points to make up just in jumps to try and catch Hanyu and Chen.  His skating is effortless and he earns the high program components and GOEs he receives.  His personal best is just under 300 at 295.27 but that was set way back in 2013.  He has the 5th best short program, 4th best free skate, and 5th best total scores.

Jason Brown is in a similar boat to Patrick Chan.  He doesn’t have the technical firepower to compete with the top skaters, but is relying on superior spins, step sequences, and skating skills to push him into contention.  He suffered an injury that kept him out of US Nationals and didn’t allow him to attempt a single quad at Four Continents where he finished 6th.  His personal best is 268.38, set at Skate America this year where he landed a quad in competition for the first time.  His most difficult layout was at Skate America, where he attempted one quad toe in each program.  By pushing his combination to the second half of the short program, he has a slight technical advantage on Patrick Chan, but is still well below the rest of the field. Even with all of his gifts, his free skate planned jump content is 10 points less than Chan’s, 25 points less than Hanyu and Chen.  To try and make it to the podium he needs to find 35 points these skaters don’t have, or he needs a lot of mistakes at the top.  Plus, he’s losing ground in his sweet spot, the program component marks, with Chen beating him on program components in the short program.  Brown is still one of the few skaters to score above 90 in PCS in the free skate.  He has the 6th best free skate and 8th best total scores.

Denis Ten has missed a good chunk of the season due to injury.  He only was able to compete at one Grand Prix event, Trophee de France, where he won silver.  He wasn’t able to compete at Four Continents and he finished just 10th at the Asian Winter Games.  He was 11th at Worlds last season, his worst finish since 2011.  He has one quad toe in his short program and one quad toe in his free skate.  His personal best was set at Four Continents in 2015 when he scored 289.46.  He had the 9th best short program, 9th best free skate, and 7th best total scores.

Maxim Kovtun is the reigning European Silver Medalist.  He finished 18th at Worlds last season.  He finished 7th at his two Grand Prix assignments this season.  His personal best came at Europeans, where he scored 266.80.  He has two quads in each program, one toe and one salchow.  However, the rest of his free skate content is just not strong enough to compete with the top men, and he very rarely puts two clean programs together.  He has the 7th best short program, 10th best free skate, and 10th best total scores.

Mikhail Kolyada is the reigning European Bronze Medalist.  His personal best is 267.97, set at Worlds last year where he placed 4th.  He has a quad toe in his short program and a quad lutz and quad toe in his free skate.  He has the 8th best short program score.

Other skaters looking to crack the top ten at Worlds include Misha Ge (7th at Four Continents), Kevin Reynolds (3rd at Skate Canada), Alexei Bychenko (3rd at Rostelecom Cup), Jorik Hendrickx (4th at Europeans), and Keiji Tanaka (3rd at NHK Trophy).

Adam Rippon currently has the 10th best short program, 8th best free skate and 9th best total scores for the season and placed 6th at the Grand Prix Final, however, suffered an injury that took him out of US Nationals and the rest of this season.

 

My podium predictions:

Gold: Yuzuru Hanyu

Silver: Nathan Chen

Bronze: Javier Fernandez

 

The competitors:

Slavik Hayrapetyan, ARM:

Brendan Kerry, AUS:

Larry Loupolover, AZE:

Jorik Hendrickx, BEL:

Patrick Chan, CAN:

Kevin Reynolds, CAN:

Boyang Jin, CHN:

Chih-I Tsao, TPE:

Nicholas Vrdoljak, CRO:

Michal Brezina, CZE:

Valtter Virtanen, FIN:

Chafik Besseghier, FRA:

Moris Kvitelashvili, GEO:

Paul Fentz, GER:

Graham Newberry, GBR:

Alexei Bychenko, ISR:

Matteo Rizzo, ITA:

Yuzuru Hanyu, JPN:

Keiji Tanaka, JPN:

Shoma Uno, JPN:

Denis Ten, KAZ:

Deniss Vasiljevs, LAT:

Julian Zhi Jie Yee, MAS:

Michael Christian Martinez, PHI:

Igor Reznichenko, POL:

Jinseo Kim, KOR:

Mikhail Kolyada, RUS:

Maxim Kovtun, RUS:

Javier Fernandez, ESP:

Javier Raya, ESP:

Alexander Majorov, SWE:

Stephane Walker, SUI:

Ivan Pavlov, UKR:

Jason Brown, USA:

Nathan Chen, USA:

Misha Ge, UZB: