Chen joins Zhou Brown to build US team for Olympics Nation World News

Chen joins Zhou Brown to build US team for Olympics  AP News

Nashville, Tenn. ( Associated Press) — Three-time world champion Nathan Chen has declared 17-year-old Ilya Malinin to be the future of US figure skating.

Maybe so, but Malinin’s gift will not include the Beijing Olympics.

The difference belongs to Chen, who won a sixth consecutive national title on Sunday, and veterans Vincent Zhou and Jason Brown, who were selected by the selection committee over Malinin to represent the US team at the Games next month.

“This team is incredible, with just as much experience as we all have,” Chen said. “I think we’re going to have great skates out there regardless. And going back to the experience, I think it’s very important. I’ve been to events for the first time and things aren’t necessarily the same. Be it the way I wanted it to be. It’s really challenging.”

In fact, it was so tough four years ago that Chen stumbled through his short program at the Pyeongchang Games to dodge any chances of winning an Olympic medal. He finished a place behind Zhou in a disappointing fifth.

Meanwhile, Brown completely missed the 2018 squad after finishing ninth at the 2014 Games in Sochi.

“I’ve gone through every single scenario: the little kid who makes it, the guy who gets kicked out of the team. I feel that way for (Malinin),” said Brown, who didn’t like Malinin’s jumping ability. may touch, but accomplishes this with his artistry and command.

“It’s really tough,” Brown said. “When you look at the field there is no easy way. I am very proud of how dense the men’s field has become. It is worth mentioning that. Just watching (Malinin) grow and shine – that was incredible tonight. ,

The selection committee had to choose three skaters for the Olympics who did not finish at the national level: Alyssa Liu on the women’s team and Alexa Nirim and Brandon Frazier in the pair. Liu and Frazier tested positive for COVID-19 and withdrew.

The remainder of the roster consisted of the U.S. Women’s Competition. The champions are Maria Bell and Karen Chen; Gold medalists Ashley Cain-Gribble and Timothy Ledec in pairs; The title lists Madison Chalk and Evan Bates, plus Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue and Caitlin Havec and Jean-Luc Baker in ice dancing.

“It’s going to be a different game than we can imagine and other people’s experience, but I know we’ll be surrounded by such amazing people. The outfits look great too,” Baker said.

Like most young skaters, Frazier had developed a carefully crafted picture in his mind of what it would be like to learn that he finally made his Olympic dreams come true. But after his positive COVID-19 test, the reality looked completely different; He only had a FaceTime chat with Neerim while awaiting the negative tests, which would free him from his hotel quarantine.

“I never imagined it was like it really went down last night,” Frazier said on Sunday, four days after her positive test led the pair to withdraw from the US Figure Skating Championships and for a spot in the Winter Games. Forced petition.

“But that was when I knew it meant the perfect world to me,” Frazier said, “because it meant just as much to me.”

Gain-Gribble said she learned she was going after “finishing a giant pizza and cookie dough, so I felt great.” LeDuc, the first non-binary Olympic athlete, got his phone call while he was visiting his family’s Airbnb rental.

For Frasier, sitting alone in your hotel room?

“I hugged the crap out of that pillow,” he said with a Cheshire cat grin.

There was no play among the three dance teams selected. Chalk & Bates will continue the pace to record-setting wins at the national level in their third Olympics; Hubbell and Donohue will try to improve on their fourth-place finish at the 2018 Games in Pyeongchang; And Havec and Baker give the Americans a third team that can stand on the podium.

“It’s the honor of a lifetime. It’s the greatest honor we can achieve in our sport,” said Bates, who will make his fourth Olympic trip in 2010 after leaving with former teammate Emily Samuelson. “We’re lucky to go back for the third time or the fourth time, but it never gets old. It’s always special every time.”

Unlike their peers, Havec and Baker will be experiencing the Olympics for the first time. It’s been a long and difficult road for the pair, both of whom have come back from injury, including Howek last summer.

“With full transparency, I didn’t know what the injury course would look like as we entered the Olympic season. There was a lot of doubt whether we would be able to get back to a competition-ready place,” she said. “I think like- We’ve set ourselves up to keep growing as winter approaches.”

The three American teams, who are close friends as rivals and training partners, operate at the Gadbois Center in Montreal under the watchful eyes of Marie-France Dubreuil, Patrice Lauzon and Romain Heguenauer.

Also in line are 2018 Olympic silver medalists Gabriela Papadakis and Guillaume Cesareon, French ice dancers who had the highest scorers of the Grand Prix season and possibly their biggest competition in Beijing.

The three American dance teams plan to spend the next three weeks in Canada, serving as the last for Beijing. But like the rest of the US contingent, their biggest goal is not to make performance that much better, but to make sure they stay healthy with the ongoing COVID-19 at large.

“We’re in our own bubble of what we can control, and right now the No. 1 concern for all of us over the next 20 days is staying healthy,” Hubbell said. “We all have to travel and be on an airplane and be around people, and of course COVID is our number 1 concern. This is the next thing that can get in the way of all our dreams. We are going to work as hard as we can to do our best and represent Team USA with honors.”

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