Figure Skating

Nathan Chen wins third straight Skate America title


When Jason Brown had to withdraw from an event in late September, he couldn’t help but wonder if the lingering effects from an August car accident that left him with a concussion would ever subside.

The 2015 U.S. champion’s concern was legitimate, considering he competes in a sport where he’s constantly spinning on thin blade and doing programs that call for him to orient himself.

Saturday he put his worries to rest.

While two-time world champion Nathan Chen, also of the United States, won Skate America for the third straight time, scoring 196.38 points in the free skate for a total of 299.09, Brown took the silver medal at 255.09, his first competition since the accident. Russian skater Dmitri Aliev finished with a score of 253.55 to take third.

For Brown, who admitted he is still getting acclimated to being on the ice, fighting “through bits and pieces” of his programs, his long program was even more impressive considering it was without any quad elements, while both Chen and Aliev had them in their routines.

“I think it speaks to the quality that I’ve been working so hard to continue to improve,” said Brown, who has now medaled four times in five Skate America events. “I work on the quad jumps every single day and I put in so much time into them. It’s definitely frustrating at times. They’re getting better and more consistent in practice but bringing them into a competition setting is a different animal.”

Especially since it’s only been roughly a month since he suffered from severe headaches while spinning on the ice.

“I do think there was a period of time of feeling these symptoms and not being able to push past a certain point, you do get a little nervous,” Brown said.

Russia’s Anna Shcherbakova dazzled in the late session with a long program that included a quad lutz/triple toe loop combination and a second quad lutz, and a costume color change mid-routine. She earned a personal-best 160.16 and the gold medal with an overall score of 227.76.

Bradie Tennell, the 2018 U.S. national champion, took the silver at 216.44, while Russia’s Elizaveta Tuktamysheva came away with the bronze with a final tally of 205.97.

Kaori Sakamoto (202.47) finished fourth, while Wakaba Higuchi (181.32) was sixth.

In pairs, China’s Cheng Peng and Yang Jin won the gold at 200.89. Russia’s Daria Pavliuchenko and Denis Khodykin took second at 196.98, and Americans Haven Denney and Brandon Frazier earned the bronze at 192.70.