US Figure Skating announces men's nominations for 2018 Olympic team

US Figure Skating announces men's nominations for 2018 Olympic team

Chen's victory was one of the few aspects of the men's U.S. Figure Skating Championships that went as planned.

"It's been a really fun journey since 2002", he said with a smile. "I've always wanted to know what it feels like to be on the Olympic team". "This is definitely where I wanted to be, all that I dreamed of. He texted me right back and told me he was very happy to me". It's all happening so fast.

The messy part will be figuring out who will be joining Chen on Team USA.

American figure skater Adam Rippon has qualified for the 2018 Pyeongchang Games, making him the first openly gay US athlete to ever qualify for the Winter Olympics.

Miner, 26, started strongly with a quad salchow followed by pair of two-jump combination and only gained momentum through a program that ended with an overall score of 274.51, a personal best by almost 25 points, and second place.

"This is another big step to the games", he said. I still need time to really wrap my head around it.

That left Chen and Zhou as pretty obvious selections. "Their energy was flowing through my veins".

In the rink, Rippon is graceful, able to execute the esteemed "quad lutz", a quadruple spinning jump once thought impossible. But not this time as the 28-year-old is skating better than ever and determined to change his fate. But Rippon and Brown each struggled in the free skate, with Rippon dropping from second place after his short program to fourth and Brown going from third to sixth.

Chen knew that there was more than just the defense of his national title on the line: He was also skating to officially secure his Olympic debut.

"This was the first step that I needed to take to having that awesome comeback that I felt like I was going to have", Rippon said, referring to the foot injury he suffered nearly one year ago to the day, sidelining him from the 2017 US championships. "I just felt like it was gone".

Both Rippon and Brown fell on their quad, but they also had other uncharacteristic stumbles and mistakes throughout their programs.

"I'm disappointed. It's that simple". "I know what I'm capable of doing. Lutz this whole week has not been my forte, so I figured those would be the two safest jumps to put out today".

Grant Hochstein of Anaheim was sixth at 255,31.

"I knew there was a criteria set to make the Olympic team", he said.

Jason Brown, Ross Miner and Max Aaron will compete at the 2018 Four Continents Championships in Taipei City, Taiwan.

The process would seem to favor Rippon and Zhou.

Chen, who exhibited his laser focus and steely determination regardless of the situation this week, managed his best performance of the season when it mattered most.

"I skated a little bit like it was still broken", he said, exhibiting the candid humor for which he is known.

Nevertheless he was convinced he deserved a spot at the Olympics.

"I definitely feel ready", Zhou said in a press conference following the free skate Saturday night.

Zhou was fourth and ninth in his two Grand Prixs. The 2008 and 2009 world junior champion calls himself a "late bloomer" and won his first national title in 2016.

Miner insisted he wasn't a one-hit wonder.

"I had frustrations here and there throughout the season", he said. "I still have a way to go before I am able to do that. I put a clean competition and at the end of the day I did my job and it's up to them to decide what they decide but I think I deserve to be there".

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