Monday, 18/6/2018 | : : UTC-7
Skate Today


Sears Center in suburban Chicago, IL rocked through the rafters during the Men’s free programs on Saturday evening as a repeat gold medalist, a hometown favorite and the reining World Junior champion collected medals from ISU dignitaries.

Tatsuki Machida (JPN) opened his Beethoven, ”Symphony No. 9” free program with a 4T, 4T+2T and a 3A+3T that earned 38.5 points and made it clear he had come to win. The 2013 World silver medalist gave it his all.

“My new program is very challenging for me. I have to give my 120 percent otherwise the performance will not make it. It’s very hard and challenging,” said the tired Machida.

The audience appreciated the shy champion’s efforts and rewarded him with a standing ovation. Japanese flags waved throughout the arena.

“To perform in front of the spectators is much harder than practice. It was not easy today, but after hearing how the spectators responded to my performance, everything was rewarded,” smiled the happy gold medalist.

Jason Brown (USA) trained in various rinks in the Chicago area prior to his 2013 move to Colorado. Adoring fans filled the Sears Centre to cheer on the local kid.

“There was so much pride being from Chicago. Being out on the ice and being surrounded by so many loved ones and people I grew up with was such a huge privilege and to get that support was beyond me,” bubbled the excited Brown.

The silver medalist moved up from 3rd after the short program with an artistic performance to Triston and Isolde that earned an 81.36 Component score. Brown completed five clean triples and received Level4 for his spins and step sequence.

Brown’s performance ended with a Midwestern tornado-like storm of stuffed animals blitzing the ice.  Not since Michele Kwan hung up her skates has there been such an avalanche of toys.

“I partnered with the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicago land and Northwest Indiana. Everything that is being thrown in the ice will be donated to local Ronald McDonald House. They also need paper towels, and so we are donating those as well. I’m so unbelievably thankful that so many people brought them and threw them out on the ice. It’s a group effort, and we’re all in it together,” commented the former Windy City resident.

Nam Nguyen (CAN) placed 7th in the short and 2nd in the free to win a bronze medal at his Senior Grand Prix debut.

The reining World Junior Champion opened with a 4S, followed by eight clean triples. Nguyen navigated the La Strada carnival character from playfulness to sadness while earning Level4 spins and step sequence.

His infectious smile lit up the Sears Centre and earned a standing ovation from the appreciative audience. The Canadian youngster was saluted with an enormous maple leaf flag waving up and down the aisle.

“For a 16 year-old like me at his first senior Grand Prix, winning a medal is pretty cool,” grinned the excited teen.

Nguyen earned a personal best total score of 232.24

Jeremy Abbott (USA) four-time US National champion dropped from 2nd in the short to 6th in the free and placed 5th overall. He had to wait for the flood of stuffed animals to be removed from the ice prior to his skate.

Questioned whether it impacted his performance, Abbott smiled,

“Actually I loved it.  It made me relax a little bit. You get on the ice and are a little jittery, but that barrage of teddy bears, signs and rolls of Bounty paper towels that I had to skate around, made me laugh and put me in a comfortable place”

Dennis Tan (KAZ), 2014 Olympic bronze medalist placed 4th in both programs.

Douglas Razzano (USA) vaulted from a 10th place score in the short to 5th place in the free and ended up 8th in the standings.

“I do not like short programs, but I’m just going to do them for the next two weeks solid until I compete at Graz,” announced the Arizona skater.

The next Grand Prix event for the top men:

  1. Machida – Trophee Bompard
  2. Brown – Rostelecom Cup
  3. Nguyen – Cup of China
  4. Ten – Trophee Bompard
  5. Abbott – NHK Trophy
  6. Pitkeev – Trophy Bompard

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