US Figure Skating Championships TV Schedule 2022: Saturday Preview, Predictions

Michelle Bruton@@michelle_nflFeatured ColumnistJanuary 8, 2022

Nathan Chen of the United States skates his free program in the mens competition at Skate Canada International in Vancouver, British Columbia on October 30, 2021. (Photo by Geoff Robins / AFP) (Photo by GEOFF ROBINS/AFP via Getty Images)

There are two days of events left in the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Nashville, Tennessee, with the men's short program, free dance and pairs free skate left to come on Saturday, and the men's free skate wrapping things up Sunday afternoon. 

Friday night's women's free skate was upended when two-time national champion Alysa Liu, who came in third in Thursday's short program, withdrew after testing positive for COVID-19 Friday morning.

Mariah Bell took gold in women's free skate, while Karen Chen claimed silver and Isabeau Levito earned bronze. 

Liu is the highest-ranking U.S. woman this season, and her withdrawal does not necessarily endanger her chances of being named to her first Olympic team for the 2022 Games in Beijing. 

The U.S. Figure Skating Championships aren't an Olympic qualifying event; rather, a selection committee will name the team after taking into consideration results over the past year, dating back to the January 2021 U.S. Championships.

Liu will be able to petition for a spot on the Olympic team even though she didn't compete at the U.S. Championships, as will reigning U.S. champion pairs partners Brandon Frazier and Alexa Knierim after Frazier tested positive on Wednesday. 

In 2006, Michelle Kwan petitioned for a spot on the Olympic team after missing the U.S. Championships with a groin injury, though it ultimately kept her out of the Games. 

As long as COVID-19 doesn't continue to derail skaters' plans, let's take a look at the athletes who are scheduled to compete on Saturday and what events will be taking place at Bridgestone Arena. 


U.S. Figure Skating Championships 2022 Overview

Dates: Monday, Jan. 3 - Sunday, Jan. 9

Location: Bridgestone Arena; Nashville, Tennessee

TV: USA Network, NBC

Live Stream: Peacock 


U.S. Figure Skating Championships Remaining TV Schedule

Saturday, 3 p.m. ET: Men's Short Program (NBC)

Saturday, 6:45 p.m. ET: Pairs Free Skate and Free Dance (USA Network)

Sunday, 12:15 p.m. ET: Men's Free Skate (NBC)


Undoubtedly one of the highlights of Saturday's coverage will be Nathan Chen's performance in the men's short program, the same event that saw a singles medal at the 2018 Pyeongchang Games slip through his hands, finishing in 17th place after a fall. 

He came back to take gold at the World Figure Skating Championships in March 2018 and then went undefeated for the next three-and-a-half years before finishing third at Skate America in October, once again because of mistakes in his short program. 

Chen, now 22, doesn't need redemption, not by any means. But there's a lot riding on his short program performance Saturday afternoon. 

Chen, ranked No. 3 in the world, is again a medal favorite for the Beijing Games. But he has some serious competition in 2021 Skate America winner Vincent Zhou, who has been runner-up at nationals three times. 

World No. 2 Jason Brown, who was an alternate for the 2018 Games, could also earn himself a spot on the Olympic team with a strong finish at nationals. 

With Frazier and Knierim out, Jessica Calalang and Brian Johnson—the 2020 and 2021 U.S. silver medalists who train with them—are the skaters to watch in the pairs free skate

Ashley Cain-Gribble and Timothy LeDuc, the 2019 U.S. champions, could also enter the conversation for the Olympic team if they can take first or second. The pair finished first Friday night in the short program. 

The U.S. women's team will be announced on Saturday afternoon. The full U.S. Figure Skating Olympic team will be named by January 10. 

Saturday predictions: Nathan Chen wins men's short program; Cain-Gribble and LeDuc win pairs.