In the last major international competition before the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, U.S. champion Nathan Chen won the men’s figure skating title at the ISU Grand Prix Final on Friday in Nagoya, Japan.
The 18-year-old from Salt Lake City became the first U.S. man to win the prestigious title since Evan Lysacek in 2009. Lysacek was one of a number of men who followed up a winning performance at the Grand Prix Final with an Olympic gold medal months later, as the competition is often viewed as a predictor of the Games.
Japan’s Shoma Uno was second behind Chen, followed by Russia’s Mikhail Kolyada in third place. Team USA’s Adam Rippon was fifth and Jason Brown sixth.
The U.S. hadn’t had three men in the final since 2009, when Johnny Weir and Jeremy Abbott joined Lysacek at the competition. Next up for the U.S. men will be the national championships next month in San Jose, California.
Chen, who won Skate America last month as well as the Rostelecom Cup in October in Russia, executed a quad lutz and a quad loop in his short program Thursday to take the lead with 103.32 points ahead of Uno and Kolyada. He then finished second in the free skate with 183.19 points for a total of 286.51 to remain just barely ahead of free skate winner Uno, who totaled 286.01. Chen won the silver medal at the Grand Prix Final last year.
Several top names in men’s figure skating were not a part of the competition. Reigning Olympic and world champion Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan is recovering from a leg injury, 2014 Olympic silver medalist Patrick Chan of Canada withdrew from his second grand prix event to focus on training and Jin Boyang, who won bronze at the last two world championships for China, withdrew just last week, opening the door for Brown, who was the first alternate, to compete.
The Grand Prix Final wraps up early Saturday morning U.S. time with the pairs, ice dance and women’s free skates. The U.S. has three teams competing in the six-team ice dance field: Maia and Alex Shibutani, Madison Chock and Evan Bates, and Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue.