US Figure Skating Championships 2018: Final Results, Highlights and Reaction

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJanuary 7, 2018

Madison Hubbell, left, and Zachary Donahue perform during the free dance event at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in San Jose, Calif., Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)
Tony Avelar/Associated Press

The U.S. Figure Skating Championships wrapped up Sunday, with the free dance routine in the Championship Dance competition ending the festivities.

Below, we'll break down all of the results with Olympic implications and recap Sunday's action and the major storylines from the competition.

              

Championship Results

Women

1. Bradie Tennell (219.51)

2. Mirai Nagasu (213.84)

3. Karen Chen (198.59)

(Olympic Qualifiers: Tennell, Nagasu and Chen)

         

Pairs

1. Alexa Scimeca-Knierim and Christopher Knierim (206.60)

2. Tarah Kayne and Danny O'Shea (200.80)

3. Deanna Stellato-Dudek and Nathan Bartholomay (197.65)

(Olympic Qualifiers: Scimeca-Knierim and Knierim)

                   

Men

1. Nathan Chen (315.23)

2. Ross Miner (274.51)

3. Vincent Zhou (273.83)

(Olympic Qualifiers: Chen, Zhou and Adam Rippon)

          

Dance

1. Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue (197.12)

2. Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani (196.93)

3. Madison Chock and Evan Bates (196.60)

(Olympic Qualifiers: Not yet announced, but the United States can send three teams, so it's all but guaranteed that the three teams above will get the nod.)

          

Recap

Tony Avelar/Associated Press

Most of the championship competitions had some level of drama, but none were decided by a slimmer margin than the Dance competition, which was decided by less than a point. Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue ultimately erased a three-point deficit coming into the day to slip past Maia and Alex Shibutani and earn first place.

It was a surprising development on a number of fronts, as Nick Zaccardi of NBC Sports noted:

Madison Chock and Evan Bates nearly stole first place themselves with a fantastic routine that earned a 118.99, the best mark on the day, but it wasn't enough to move them out of third place.

In the women's competition, Ashley Wagner griped about the judges' scoring that left her in fourth place and off the team for Pyeongchang. But there was less drama atop the competition, where Tennell left no doubt.

Ditto for the Pairs competition, where Alexa Scimeca-Knierim and Christopher Knierim were superb.

The men's competition is where things got hairy. Nathan Chen left little doubt he should be heading to the Olympics, as did Vincent Zhou.

That left the selection committee with a dilemma: Select Adam Rippon, who had a strong season but disappointing showing Saturday? Or Ross Miner, who had an epic performance Saturday but a weaker season and resume in international competitions?

Ultimately, Rippon earned the nod.

"Ross does amazing at U.S. Championships, but frankly he has struggled at some of the international competitions," U.S. Figure Skating president Sam Auxier said Sunday morning, per Zaccardi. "We weren't sure when we put him out at the Olympics that he would perform to the extent that there was a possibility for a medal."

Rippon was thrilled his body of work was considered.

"I feel like I have a really great resume. I'm really proud of the work that I've done over the past four years," he said, per Helene Elliott of the Los Angeles Times. "Four years ago I didn't know if I wanted to continue skating. And a year ago I was sitting in a cast, so I've had my share of ups and downs but I've been very consistent and I'm very grateful for this opportunity. And I feel that my experience will help me have my best performances at the Olympic Games, and it feels amazing to say that."

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