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Two-time ISU World Figure Skating Champion Nathan Chen (USA) skated to a strong lead of 12 points in the Men’s Short Program ahead of Vincent Zhou (USA) and Canada’s Keegan Messing on Friday at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Guaranteed Rate Skate America.

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Nathan Chen (USA) at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating (USA) 2020 © Getty Images

Chen nailed a quad toe-triple toe combination, a quad flip, triple Axel and level-four spins and steps in his flamenco-themed routine to “Asturias” and “Cancion del Mariachi”. He posted a big score of 111.17 points. “Speaking of the program, I’m pretty happy with where I am, given the unusual circumstances what is going on,” the US Champion said. “The program itself is new to me and there is still a lot of work and improvement to be done to this sort of style. In this program, although it is oriented in Latin-American as well as Spanish music, I am not trying to necessarily hit the identical movements of those dances, but we’re more trying to bring out the character of the movie that it is drawing inspiration from,” he explained.

Zhou’s performance to “Vincent” (“Starry Starry Night”) featured a quad Lutz-triple toe, quad Salchow, triple Axel and a level four flying camel spin. The 2019 World bronze medalist scored 99.36 points. “I think I did a great job, especially with the components, the projection, the performance. I am proud of what I did tonight. I had some shaky practices, mentally maybe not the best day, but I got it together,” he added.

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Vincent Zhou (USA) at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating (USA) 2020 © International Skating Union (ISU)

Skating to “Perfect” by Ed Sheeran, Messing put out a strong performance as well. He produced a triple Axel, triple Lutz and an excellent spin. However, the quad toe in the combination was shaky and he slipped briefly in the footwork. The Canadian picked up 92.40 points. “I was overall very excited about how my performance went, this being the first time I’ve skated in front of a ‘crowd’ this year, I was very happy to put a clean program out there. I’m just really happy to go out and feel the butterflies again,” the 28-year-old skater noted.

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Keegan Messing (CAN) at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating (USA) 2020 © Getty Images

2019 ISU World Junior Figure Skating Champion Tomoki Hiwatashi (USA) sits in fourth (87.17 points) while Alexei Krasnozhon (USA) is fifth (78.06 points). 2016 ISU European Figure Skating silver medalist Alexei Bychenko (ISR) is not far behind in sixth with 77.48 points.

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ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating 2020

The ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final that was to be held as an Olympic Test Event on December 10-13 has been postponed. The ISU, in consultation with all stakeholders and considering the pandemic developments, is evaluating the continuation of the 2020/21 season, in particular the re-scheduling possibilities for the important Olympic Test Events.

About ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series

The ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series started in 1995 (previously known a s the ISU Champions Series) and consists of six invitational international senior events and the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final. Due to the current situation, the usual selection criteria do not apply. Please see the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating page for further information.