Thursday, February 15, 2018

Revisiting U.S. Nationals: Men's Final Recap: Expect the Unexpected

January 6, 2018:

I just calculated that this is my 23rd consecutive year watching the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, and every year I love it even more! As usual, the men’s event was my favorite. Tonight we saw 18-year-old Nathan Chen extend his undefeated season with an impressive arsenal of quads to secure a 40.72 point victory. Chen has now strengthened his case as a gold-medal threat at the Olympics next month in South Korea. But that result was expected. What happened after that was more interesting. We saw 17-year-old Vincent Zhou attempt 5-quads in a heartfelt effort to prove that he’s not the future of the sport, he’s the here and now. We saw a 26-year veteran come out of nowhere to give the performance of his life when it mattered most. We saw a 28-year-old veteran, who we thought was a sure-lock for the Olympic team prove that nothing is ever sure. We saw another medal favorite crumble under the pressure in a shocking result. Now the Olympic committee has to decide: do they send a veteran who on the night delivered the goods, or do they choose the veteran who on the night did not deliver, but delivered every other time on the world stage? Will they give the nod to youth to cultivate the future, or will they give the nod to the veteran on the strength of his past? We will find out Sunday morning when the official team is announced.

Tonight’s event showed us that on the way to fulfilling a dream, you have to fight tooth and nail, never give up—even when others count you out, to be confident, but not over confident, and to know how to handle disappointment with your head held high. Sometimes you don’t get what you want, but you can walk away knowing that you tried. This is figure skating. This is sport. This is life. 💪⛸🏅🌟

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