Wednesday, April 5, 2017

AAPI figure skaters shine at World's championships

Maia and Alex Shibutani won a bronze medal at the World Figure Skating Championship
BROTHER AND SISTER, Maia and Alex Shibutani, won the bronze medal in ice dance at the 2017 World Figure Skating Championships in Helsinki, Finland last weekend.

They led a figure-skating team loaded with Asian American and Pacific Islander athletes.
Nathan Chen fell twice but four quaduple jumps impressed the judges enough to give him fourth in the men's competition. Combined with Xxxxx seventh-place finish, the U.S. men scored enough to give the U.S. three entries in the 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.
Sixteen-year old Karen Chen faltered in the short program but came through the free-skate phase to place fourth, out of the medal competition but good enough to qualify the U.S. three spots in next year's Olympics.
Madison La'akea Te-Lan Hall Chock and her partner Evan Bates made some mistakes in their final dance routine but still managed a seventh place finish, again assuring the U.S. three positions for the Olympics.
The World's competition determined the number of spots for each nation. The final Olympic figure skating team will be named after the U.S. Championships that will be held in San Jose, Calif. this December and next January. Watch their free-skate, below:

The Shibutani siblings pick up their third World medal after winning the silver medal in 2016 and another bronze medal in 2011. “We’re so proud with how we skated at this World Championships,” Maia Shibutani said. “Our programs have grown so much over the course of the season. The audience for both of the performances was fantastic and as athletes and people who are trying to put our creative souls into these programs, that means so much.”
The dance team of Chock and Bates had to overcome a loss of balance by Bates on Saturday during a twizzle. Despite that, Chock and Bates were proud of their accomplishments this season, which included five international medals.

“Every year that we compete together, we get stronger,” Chock said. “We’re now at the five-year mark and we still have a long way to go. We haven’t reached our potential yet. Things are going to be good for us this summer. We’re going to train really hard.”

The third dance team of Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue garnered a ninth-place finish and likely be one of the teams to compete for the three spots for the Olympics. 

In the men’s competition, the United States notched two top-10 finishes. Nathan Chen finished sixth while teammate Jason Brown finish seventh.

High-flying Nathan Chen (No relation to Karen Chen), who has taken the sport of figure skating by storm over the past four months with his daring athleticism that includes including a never-before attempted six quads in his routine, was disappointed in falling on two of his attempts.

“It’s a good step for me,” Nathan said. “It’s a good experience for me. I feel sorry for some (of the mistakes that I had), but it’s a good step. Whatever happened, happened, and I just have to put it behind me.”

Teenager Karen Chen came from behind to finish fourth, the best result among the American women skaters.

The pressure was intense for Karen Chen, who is competing in her first senior World Championships.

She saw that teammate three-time U.S. champion Ashley Wagner had faltered in her free program in Helsinki finishing seventh.

“So I knew I needed to skate pretty close to clean,” Chen, from Fremont, Calif. told reporters afterward.

“At first, it was overwhelming,” Chen said. “Right when that thought came into my head my body felt tense all of a sudden. Because I wanted to prove to myself I can do it — I could skate very well under pressure.”

The poised teenager came through - she landed five triple jumps - by finishing fourth thereby giving the United States’ Olympic team a third slot for the Olympics Only a few minor miscues towards the end of her routine prevented her from medaling.

The U.S. Championships will be Dec. 29, 2017-Jan. 7, 2018 in San Jose, California to determine who will represent the United States in South Korea in February.