Nathan Chen (USA) prevailed over home town hero Shoma Uno of Japan in close a finish at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final in Nagoya (JPN) on Friday to take the title. Mikhail Kolyada of Russia earned the bronze medal in what was his debut at the ISU Grand Prix Final.
Chen opened his performance to “Mao’s Last Dancer” with a solid quad Lutz-triple toe combination and also produced a quad toe-single loop-double Salchow combination as well as three level-four spins. However, he stumbled on the quad flip, crashed on a downgraded quad toe and underrotated the second quad Lutz. The U.S. Champion picked up 183.19 points and was ranked second in the Free Skating, but held on to first place on 286.51 points overall, edging Uno by just 0.50 points. “Not really the performance I was expecting to do here but I will take it as a good experience and just try to improve from here. There were some technical things that I know I can fix and these things I just adjust as the season goes on. Especially the quad toe I know I was tired toward the end so I wasn't able to get the lift that I needed, but the only thing I can do is keep working on it,” Chen commented. “Now I just need the rest that I need heading into Nationals and focus on doing the best that I can there so that I can secure my spot for the Olympic Games,” the 18-year-old added.
Performing to “Turandot”, Uno went down on his opening quad loop but recovered to land a quad Salchow, a quad flip and two excellent triple Axels, but the first quad toeloop was on two feet and the second quad toe was landed forward and downgraded. The World silver medalist scored 184.50 points and won the Free Skating portion, but it was not enough to overtake Chen and he remained in second place on 286.51 points. “For the free program today, I was not that nervous. The quad toploop today was the jump my body was not ready for. I was fairly disappointed by that. I was proud of getting both quad Salchow and quad flip done. I just need to work on the toeloop from now on,” Uno shared.
Kolyada had to overcome a rough start into his Elvis Presley routine when he missed the quad Lutz and the quad Salchow, but recovered to produce a quad toe-triple toe, a triple Axel-double toe and three more clean triple jumps and three level-four spins. The Russian Champion earned 182.78 points and totaled 282.00 points. “It’s great, a great feeling. Being on the podium is a special feeling, I can’t put it into words, this word doesn’t exist yet in the Russian language. Now I am going with a positive feeling into Russian Nationals,” Kolyada said. “Basically I am pleased with my performance, because I rotated all three quads. The only thing I can myself scold for is the loop. I did a single instead of a triple. I just rushed it. Out of tiredness maybe, I wanted to finish the program faster,” he joked.
Sergei Voronov (RUS) delivered a strong performance that included a quad toe-triple toe and five clean triples to move up one spot to fourth place (266.59 points). Adam Rippon (USA) pulled up from fifth to sixth (254.33 points) while Jason Brown (USA) slipped from fourth to sixth (253.81 points).