COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Notable performances during December earned figure skater Nathan Chen, luger Erin Hamlin and the ice dance team of Maia and Alex Shibutani Best of December honors for the Team USA Awards presented by Dow, the United States Olympic Committee announced today.
In his Grand Prix Series debut, Chen claimed the silver medal and became the first American man to earn a podium finish at the Grand Prix Final since Olympic champion Evan Lysacek won gold in 2009. At age 17, he recorded the highest-scoring free skate of the event, a career-best 197.55, which also marked the highest international free skate score ever posted by a U.S. man. His performance, set to "The Polovtsian Dances" by Alexander Borodin, featured the highest-scoring element of the event – a quadruple Lutz-triple toe combination worth 19.90 points, which helped yield a total score of 282.85.
Hamlin collected a pair of FIL World Cup gold medals in Park City, Utah. The 2014 Olympic bronze medalist won the two-run singles race and added another victory in the sprint event to claim her third and fourth career victories on the world cup tour. The two golds elevated the three-time Olympian to third place in the season-long world cup standings.
The Shibutani siblings claimed their first Grand Prix Final medal, a bronze, with a career-best 189.60 points. Their short dance, set to “That’s Life” by Frank Sinatra and Jay-Z, earned the second-highest score of the event at a personal-best mark of 77.97. They completed five elements – including three that received a Level 4, the highest level awarded in figure skating – with positive grades of execution across the board.
Each National Governing Body may nominate one female, one male and one team per discipline. An internal nominating committee selects five nominees from both the male and female categories, and three from the team category to advance to the voting round. Votes received from NGB representatives and select members of the media account for 50 percent of the final tally, with the other half determined by online fan voting via TeamUSA.org/Awards.
In addition to Dow, the presenting sponsor, the Team USA Awards are supported by Coca-Cola, DICK’S Sporting Goods, Kellogg’s, Samsung and USG.