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Skate America 2020 Results: Nathan Chen Dazzles in Men’s Short Program

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Nathan Chen, of the United States, competes during men's short program in the International Skating Union Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series, Friday, Oct. 23, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/David Becker)

David Becker/Associated Press

Mariah Bell, Nathan Chen and the pairs teams of Alexa Scimeca Knierim and Brandon Frazier and Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue were the big winners on Friday at Skate America in Las Vegas. 

Bell and Chen finished first in the women’s and men’s short programs, respectively, while Scimeca Knierim and Frazier were No. 1 in pairs and Hubbell and Donohue finished atop the field in rhythm dancing.

Skate America is the first event in the 2020 ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating. This year’s series will feature the Cup of China, the 2020 Rostelecom Cup, the 2020 NHK Trophy and the Grand Prix Final.

Results, recaps and highlights from Friday can be found below encompassing all events.

Women’s Short Program

1. Mariah Bell (USA): 76.48

2. Bradie Tennell (USA): 73.29

3. Audrey Shin (USA): 69.77

4. Karen Chen (USA): 68.13

5. Amber Glenn (USA): 67.85

6. Paige Rydberg (USA): 63.91

7. Lin Shan (CHN): 59.29

8. Sierra Venetta (USA): 59.28

9. Finley Hawk (USA): 59.12

10. Starr Andrews (USA): 57.20

11. Pooja Kalyan (USA):  55.50

12. Gracie Gold (USA): 46.36

Men’s Short Program

1. Nathan Chen (USA): 111.17

2. Vincent Zhou (USA): 99.36

3. Keegan Messing (CAN): 92.40

4. Tomoki Hiwatashi (USA): 87.17

5. Alex Krasnozhon (USA): 78.06

6. Aleksei Bychenko (ISR): 77.48

7. Ilya Malinin (USA): 76.75

8. Maxim Naumov (USA): 70.91

9. Camden Pulkinen (USA): 69.09

10. Joseph Kang (USA): 68.08

11. Jimmy Ma (USA): 63.36

12. Daniel Samohin (ISR): 61.60

Pairs, Short Program

1. Alexa Scimeca Knierim and Brandon Frazier (USA): 74.19

2. Jessica Calalang and Brian Johnson (USA): 71.08

3. Audrey Lu and Misha Mitrofanov (USA): 67.52

4. Ashley Cain-Gribble and Timothy Leduc (USA): 64.21

5. Tarah Kayne and Danny O’Shea (USA): 59.86

6. Olivia Serafini and Mervin Tran (USA): 59.67

7. Emily Chan and Spencer Akira Howe (USA): 55.58

8. Anna Verinkov and Evgeni Krasnopolski (ISR): 48.23

Pairs, Rhythm Ice Dance

1. Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue (USA): 85.30

2. Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker (USA): 81.15

3. Christina Carreira and Anthony Ponomarenko (USA): 78.63

4. Caroline Green and Michael Parsons (USA): 74.98

5. Molly Cesanek and Yehor Yehorov (USA): 66.01

6. Lorraine McNamara and Anton Spiridonov (USA): 63.50

7. Eva Pate and Logan Bye (USA): 59.61

8. Emily Monaghan and Ilias Fourati (HUN): 54.88

All results via U.S. Figure Skating Fan Zone

Bell Takes First in Women’s Short Program

Bell edged out Bradie Tennell by just 3.19 points for the victory:

ISU Figure Skating @ISU_Figure

Mariah Bell 🇺🇸 leads the way after the Ladies Short Program at Skate America with 76.48 points 🤩

#GPFigure #FigureSkating https://t.co/5fDAX6zAsS

Bell was able to come away with the win even after being forced to call a late wardrobe audible:

IFS Magazine @ifsmagazine

Mariah Bell said her short program costume did not fit well, so she wore the long program costume for the short tonight and will wear it also for the free skate tomorrow.

Nick McCarvel of the Olympic Channel praised her efforts:

Nick McCarvel @NickMcCarvel

It’s an absolute honor to watch Mariah Bell figure skate

#SkateAmerica

He also called her skating performance “sensational” and “effortless.”

U.S. Figure Skating @USFigureSkating

Melted the ice with this one. 🔥

#SkateAmerica x @bradie_tennell https://t.co/FBIMFD24NV

It was a night to remember for Tennell as well, who nearly came away with the win.

Tennell spoke afterward about her increased confidence during her routine on Saturday, per FigureSkatersOnline:

“I feel like now that I’m older, I have more confidence in myself and I’m able to portray this fierceness [in her short] better than I was when I was a little bit younger. And it’s just really fun for me to be able to show that and perform that.”

Audrey Shin edged Karen Chen and Amber Glenn for third.

Chen Dominates Men’s Short Program Field

Chen hadn’t skated in nine months, but he was excellent on Friday evening en route to defeating his next-closest competitor, Vincent Zhou, by nearly 12 points.

He dazzled in an empty Orleans Arena in Las Vegas:

U.S. Figure Skating @USFigureSkating

.@nathanwchen did that. 👏

#SkateAmerica x @nathanwchen https://t.co/NQb9RKd584

Chen was pleased with his performance, per post-event comments:

FigureSkatersOnline @fsonline

Nathan Chen in the press conference: “I’m very happy where I’m in this season. Really fortunate to have an opportunity (competing at #SkateAmerica) like this.” https://t.co/q8VyXcXso8

Per Trisha Nguyen and Jamie Richardson of the Yale Daily News, Chen danced to music from the 1995 film Desperado starring Salma Hayek and Antonio Banderas. His free skate Saturday will feature music from American composer Philip Glass.

“I’ve never done this style of program,” Chen said in his press conference, per OlympicTalk.

“There’s still a lot of work and improvement to be done. 
I did the best that I can, considering that this is still very new to me.”

However, Chen looked quite comfortable during the routine en route to a great finish.

Scimeca Knierim, Frazier Set Bar High in Pairs

Scimeca Knierim and Frazier formed the first pair to skate on Friday, and their performance proved too strong for the rest of the competition, beating second-place finishers Jessica Calalang and Brian Johnson by 3.11 points. 

The two were making their international debut as a pair, but they looked phenomenal en route to finishing first:

ISU Figure Skating @ISU_Figure

International debut: check ✅! Alexa Scimeca Knierim and Brandon Frazier 🇺🇸 are currently leading the way in the Pairs Short Program, after having scored 74.19 points 😀

#GPFigure #FigureSkating https://t.co/lfgIXMfPZt

Scimeca Knierim used to skate with her husband, Christopher Knierim, but he stepped away from the sport this year.

She then began teaming with Frazier, whose partnership with Haven Denney ended earlier in 2020.

Scimeca Knierim and Frazier looked like they have been skating for years, however, en route to taking first.

Hubbell, Donohue Easily Top Competition in Rhythm Dancing

Aside from Chen, nobody delivered a cleaner performance Friday night than Hubbell and Donohue.

The pair, which also finished first in rhythm dancing in Skate America the past two years, once again eased past their competition with relative ease. In turn, they became the first tandem to win the event three times since Meryl Davis and Charlie White won four straight starting in 2010.

Team USA @TeamUSA

What a way to end the night! 🌟

@HubbellDonohue x #SkateAmerica https://t.co/mhVTXo9ksX

Hubbell and Donohue finished fourth, just off the podium, in the 2018 Winter Olympics but they’ve stuck together with an eye on gold at the 2022 Games in China.

Hawayek and Baker, the former junior world champions, posted their best result at Skate America to finish second. Carreira and Ponomarenko rounded out the podium.

The event wraps up Saturday with four more events: ladies free skate, men’s free skate, pairs free skate and free dance.

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