Event Previews

Skate America 2021 Preview: Men

What to Watch

If you’re looking to get in the Las Vegas gambling mood, Nathan Chen winning his fifth Skate America title will be the safest bet of the weekend. Though we have yet to see him or his two new programs this season, Chen’s consistency has been unparalleled over the last three seasons–he’s won every single event he’s entered since his disastrous short program saw him finish fifth at the 2018 Olympics. And apparently he’s looking to exorcise the last remaining demons from those Olympics by including a section from his 2018 short program music “Nemesis” in this year’s program. Whether that brings good luck or not remains to be seen, but it would take a real meltdown for Chen not to win the gold here.

For a far riskier bet, try predicting the rest of the men’s finishing order (I dare you). Vincent Zhou has looked strong through his first two outings of the season and has a good chance to make it a 1-2 finish for Team USA. Shoma Uno always has the potential to fight for a top podium spot, but is notoriously inconsistent, especially in early season events. Shun Sato and Daniel Grassl are both young guns with an arsenal of quads, oft-forgotten Russian Artur Danielian is a European silver medalist, and never count out the artistry of Kevin Aymoz.

Speaking of Aymoz, he will also be competing this weekend against countryman Adam Siao Him Fa. France has two Olympic spots and they are the most likely picks, but Siao Him Fa has been steadily improving and may see this year as an opportunity to dethrone Aymoz after being the National silver medalist three years running.

One skater very much hoping to make his case for an Olympic spot is Canada’s Nam Nguyen. With Keegan Messing earning two spots at Worlds and Roman Sadovsky confirming the spot at Nebelhorn, Nguyen is very much on the outside looking in and needs some strong Grand Prix results to put himself back in the mix.

Rounding out the field, Jimmy Ma was announced as replacement for the host spot with less than two weeks notice after Yaroslav Paniot withdrew for unspecified reasons. This will be Ma’s third Skate America appearance as he continues a run of improved form that started with a sixth place finish at last year’s Nationals and a pair pf silver medals from Cranberry Cup and US Classic already this year.

(Also, Michal Brezina is here. Nothing really to say about him; he’s just the only one who didn’t get a mention in the preview. But hey, he’s 31 and still competing, so good for him!)

The Field

Nathan CHEN
SP: 110.38
FS: 224.92
Total: 335.30
3x World Champion
3x GPF Champion
5x National Champion
Vincent ZHOU
SP: 100.51
FS: 198.50
Total: 299.01
3rd 2019 Worlds
3rd 2019 4CC
Shoma UNO
SP: 104.15
FS: 197.39
Total: 289.12
2018 Olympic silver medalist
4x National Champion
4th 2021 Worlds
SP: 96.71
FS: 178.92
Total: 275.63
3rd GPF 2019
9th 2021 Worlds
SP: 87.57
FS: 178.69
Total: 262.77
2015, 2019 National Champion
6th 2020 4CC
Czech Republic
SP: 93.31
FS: 167.32
Total: 257.98
4th GPF 2018
19th 2021 Worlds
SP: 79.30
FS: 177.86
Total: 255.11
2019 Junior GPF Champion
5th 2020 NHK Trophy
SP: 85.42
FS: 173.54
Total: 247.80
12th 2021 Worlds
National Champion 2019-2021
SP: 84.63
FS: 162.11
Total: 246.74
2nd 2020 Europeans
2019 National silver medalist
SP: 89.23
FS: 156.58
Total: 243.78
3x National silver medalist
11th Europeans 2020
Jimmy Ma
SP: 73.21
FS: 147.01
Total: 213.49
6th 2021 Nationals
2nd Cranberry Cup 2021

How to Watch

Find your local broadcaster here.

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