Great Park Ice Skaters Shine at US Nationals
Nathan Chen Wins Fourth Consecutive Title at U.S. Championships
When Nathan Chen was younger, he would occasionally cross paths with U.S. figure skating legend, Olympic champion, two-time World champion and four-time U.S. champion Brian Boitano.
When the two would see each other at shows – and if Chen found himself with an injury or dealing with another skating crisis – he would ask Boitano for his wisdom.
"He gave me some advice about mentally preparing yourself, sort of visualizing the program, every element of it," Chen said. "And that's stuff that I've carried on through my career, and it's definitely been very instrumental in how I prepare myself for competitions."
At the 2020 Toyota U.S. Figure Skating Championships, Chen etched his name into the U.S. Figure Skating history books alongside Boitano, winning his fourth consecutive U.S. title.
It's a feat not achieved since Boitano won four straight from 1985-88.
Chen scored 216.04 points for his free skate to music from the Rocketman soundtrack, giving him 330.17 points overall.
Knierims, Jessica Calalang & Brian Johnson star in Pairs Competition
"Redemption always feels good."
Following the pairs free skate at the 2020 U.S. Championships, Alexa Knierim summed up her and husband Chris Knierim's performances succinctly.
In Greensboro, the duo rebounded from a career-low seventh-place finish in 2019 to win their third U.S. title.
The Knierims scored 139.09 points for their free skate set to "Drop of Fragrance" by Maxime Rodriguez and "Experience" by Ludovico Einaudi, giving them 216.15 points overall.
In second place, Jessica Calalang and Brian Johnson won the free skate with 146.01 points in a routine set to "You Are the Reason" by Calum Scott and Leona Lewis, earning an overall total of 213.57. Calalang and Johnson also train in Irvine, California, with the Knierims.
"We were both very excited that we performed our program like that here at the U.S. Championships in our second season together," Calalang said. "I don't think either of us have had that kind of performance at the U.S. Championships."
Mariah Bell Dazzles for Silver Medal Finish
Mariah Bell improved from third after the short program to win silver, her best career finish at a U.S. Championships. Her free skate to "Hallelujah" by K.D. Lang earned 151.99 points, giving her 225.21 points overall.
Bell was emotional in the last few moments of her program, and burst into tears upon seeing her score.
"It's a very special feeling," Bell said. "I haven't had that before in my career, so that was awesome. The coolest thing about it was how into it the crowd was. They were so loud. It was really, really cool. I just love to share what I get to do and what I love to do with an audience like that. I feel very fortunate to have had that experience."
First Junior Champions Crowned at U.S. Championships
In his third appearance at the U.S. Championships, Eric Sjoberg (Los Angeles FSC) skated a clean free skate with all positive grades of execution to score 202.38 total points and secure the silver medal. His program, set to "Winter in Buenos Aires" by Astor Piazzolla, featured three Level 4 elements. He scored 139.41 points, winning the free skate segment.