US Figure Skating Championships 2021: Final Results for Saturday Events

Blake SchusterSenior Analyst IJanuary 17, 2021

Nathan Chen reacts after finishing his routine during the men's short program at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
John Locher/Associated Press

The battle between Nathan Chen and Jason Brown to become the top men's figure skater in the United States continued Saturday at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas as the duo stepped onto the ice for its short program. 

However, the 2021 U.S. Figure Skating Championships featured another contender ready to crash the party: Vincent Zhou. 

The skater out of SC of San Francisco posted a 107.79 in his first appearance in front of the judges this weekend, finishing the day in second place behind Chen (113.92 points), the defending champion. Brown (100.92) ended the day in third.

What looked like a two-man duel for the gold medal suddenly has turned into a three-way race to the top of the podium.

Here's how the action played out in the men's championship:

        

Men's Short Program Results

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1. Nathan Chen, 113.92

2. Vincent Zhou, 107.79

3. Jason Brown, 100.92

4. Yaroslav Panoit, 83.74

5. Maxim Naumov, 83.53

6. Jimmy Ma, 82.30

7. Camden Pulkinen, 80.08

8. Joseph Kang, 79.30

9. Tomoki Hitwatashi, 75.51

10. Dinh Tran, 74.03

11. Eric Sjoberg, 74.01

12. Jordan Moeller, 71.09

13. Joonsoo Kim, 69.04

14. Ryan Dunk, 65.60

15. Peter Liu, 56.92

16. Aleksei Krasnozhon, 54.53

17. Mitchell Friess, 48.88

Full scoring breakdown via U.S. Figure Skating

           

Chen finished first in the short program for the second straight year after posting a 114.13 in 2020. Brown finished behind him with 100.99 points. The two nearly replicated those scores Saturday, but a noticeably improved Zhou has amped up the pressure on both skaters. 

After recording a 94.82 in his short program last year, Zhou scored a 107.92 in Las Vegas thanks to nearly flawless quad lutz and triple toe loop combo that earned him 20.30 points. Neither Brown nor Chen even attempted the move. 

Instead, Chen's highest individual mark came on a quad flip and triple toe loop that earned him a 20.90 following a quad lutz the judges assigned a 15.64.

Brown's best move, a triple lutz and triple toe loop scored a 13.71. 

Since winning gold in 2015, Brown has earned two bronze medals and one silver at the U.S. Championships, while Chen is looking to capture his fifth consecutive gold medal.

Now both will have to worry about Zhou, who's working his way to a fourth podium appearance on the sport's biggest state in the United States. 

             

Championship Pairs

(Free Skate scores in parentheses)

1. Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier, 228.10 (150.64)

2. Jessica Calalang and Brian Johnson, 205.29 (133.99)

3. Ashley Cain-Gribble and Timothy LeDuc, 200.52 (134.71)

4. Audrey Lu and Misha Mitrofanov, 197.97 (128.41)

5. Emily Chan and Spencer Howe, 177.06 (116.65)

6. Olivia Serafini and Mervin Tran, 169.88 (110.65)

7. Katie McBeath and Nathan Bartholomay, 163.73 (105.50)

8. Laiken Lockley and Keenan Prochnow, 145.24 (99.90)

9. Evelyn Grace Hanns and Jim Garbutt, 140.93 (92.95)

Full scoring breakdown via U.S. Figure Skating

        

If the pairing of Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier didn't have the sport on notice before, it certainly does now. The duo is two-of-two with gold medals at both nationals and 2020 Skate America. 

What was already a runaway after the short program became even more of a rout Saturday when they scored a 150.64 in their free skate—16 points higher than any of their competitors. That gave them a nearly 28-point advantage over second-place finishers Jessica Calalang and Brian Johnson. 

The battle for silver proved much more compelling as second and fourth place were decided by just eight points. Ashley Cain-Gribble and Timothy LeDuc finished second in free skate, but it wasn't enough to earn anything higher than bronze. 

That made it all a rather drama-free evening for Knierim and Frazier, who twice scored more than 10 points on individual elements. A Group 5 axel lasso lift earned a 10.36 from the judges, while a Group 5 Reverse Lasso Lift gave the pairing a 10.08.

It was more than enough to walk away with a well-deserved gold medal. 

          

Championship Ice Dance

(Free Dance scores in parentheses)

1. Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue , 224.56 (134.90)

2. Madison Chock and Evan Bates, 222.93 (132.83)

3. Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker, 212.55 (127.27)

4. Caroline Green and Michael Parsons, 192.39 (112.29)

5. Molly Cesanek and Yehor Yehorov, 177.40 (106.29)

6. Lorraine McNamara and Anton Spiridonov, 162.86 (96.99)

7. Eva Pate and Logan Bye, 154.93 (90.56)

8. Livvy Shilling and Alexander Petrov, 131.10 (77.29)

9. Hilary Asher and Ryan O'Donnell, 122.68 (71.30)

10. Breelie Taylor and Tyler Vollmer, 100.76 (61.36)

11. Cara Murphy and Joshua Levitt, 96.91 (60.29)

Full scoring breakdown via U.S. Figure Skating 

            

Friday night saw the pairing of Madison Chock and Evan Bates set a U.S. Championships record with a score of 90.10 to barely move into first place after the rhythm dance. Less than a full point separated Chock and Bates from Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue. 

Saturday saw a reversal of fortunes as Hubbell and Donohue scored less than two points higher than Chock and Bates to take home the gold in another epic showdown.

Regardless of the outcome, the two pairings have proved themselves as the top duos in the nation for multiple years running. 

After Hubbell and Donohue won back-to-back titles in 2018 and 2019—with Chock and Bates behind them on the podium each year—Chock and Bates took over the top spot last season with Hubbell and Donohue finishing second. The 2021 competition saw them flip spots once again.

Meanwhile, Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker claimed the bronze medal at nationals for the third consecutive year after putting together a strong free dance featuring a curve lift combo the judges scored 14.44. 

As impressive as they were, it remains clear who runs the sport, and the pairing of Hubbell and Donohue doesn't seem ready to pass off the mantle anytime soon.