US Women's Olympic Figure Skating 2018: Top Scorers, Highlights from Free Skate

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistFebruary 23, 2018

USA's Bradie Tennell competes in the women's single skating free skating of the figure skating event during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at the Gangneung Ice Arena in Gangneung on February 23, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Mladen ANTONOV        (Photo credit should read MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)
MLADEN ANTONOV/Getty Images

The disappointing Winter Olympics for the U.S. figure skating team came to a conclusion Thursday night in Pyeongchang, South Korea. 

The women's free skate, which took place Friday in South Korea, was supposed to serve as a redemption skate for the three American participants rather than a push for the medal places.

After Mirai Nagasu, Karen Chen and Bradie Tennell suffered from falls in the short program, the goal for the free skate was to stay upright and leave South Korea on a high note, if possible.

Chen, who entered the second half of the competition in 10th place, was the first of the trio to hit the ice, and she did little to improve on her standing. In fact, the 18-year-old regressed in the final rankings and ended up 11th.

The 2017 U.S. women's champion failed to inspire at the Gangneung Ice Arena, as Christine Brennan of USA Today noted:

While Chen left observers wanting more with her performance, the 20-year-old Tennell finished her Olympics strong, as she eclipsed her teammate in the standings with a performance that earned a score of 128.34, which was nine points better than Chen's 119.75.

The 20-year-old was the highest-placing American in ninth with an overall score of 192.35, while Nagasu was 10th and Chen took 11th.

Tennell's appearance at the Olympics was a surprise from the start, as she came out of relative obscurity to win the 2018 U.S. Figure Skating Championships and clinch a spot on the Olympic team over the more experienced Ashley Wagner.

USA's Bradie Tennell competes in the women's single skating free skating of the figure skating event during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at the Gangneung Ice Arena in Gangneung on February 23, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Mladen ANTONOV        (Photo
MLADEN ANTONOV/Getty Images

At the time of her performance, Tennell landed in second place with an overall mark of 198.10, but she came nowhere close to the champions of the event, who cruised over 200 points.

Fifteen-year-old Alina Zagitova of the Olympic Athletes from Russia earned gold with a tremendous free skate that put her total up to 239.57 points. Her teammate Evgenia Medvedeva took second with a score that was less than a point behind Zagitova, while Canada's Kaetlyn Osmond rounded out the medal positions in third.

Despite not placing high on the podium, Tennell enjoyed her final Olympic skate, as NBC Olympics showed us on Twitter:

If there was any promise heading into the free skate, it came in the form of Nagasu, who had a program worthy of landing in the top five.

The 24-year-old set a high standard for herself during the team event, as she landed the first triple axel by an American woman in Olympic competition.

Nagasu fell on her triple axel attempt in the short program, and she disappointed at the start of her routine in the free skate, as she didn't get enough air to even try the jump. As NBC Olympics' Nick McCarvel noted, Nagasu's most difficult jump ending up hurting her the most:

Due to the slip-up at the start of her performance, Nagasu wasn't able to garner a high mark, as she slid in between Tennell and Chen on the overall chart. Her final combined score was 186.54 after the free skate earned a mark of 114.61 points.

With the women's trio failing to excel in their competition, the Americans left the figure skating rink in Pyeongchang with a pair of bronzes from the team event and the ice dance through Alex and Maia Shibutani.

Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.

Statistics obtained from Olympic.org.

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