FIGURE SKATING: Chen comes from behind to win at Internationaux de France

Japan's Rika Kihira

Reigning World Champion Nathan Chen was not too pleased with his performance in the Short Program at the final leg of the International Skating Union’s Figure Skating Grand Prix for 2018, the Internationaux de France in Grenoble. But he also knew that there was one more day of skating.

In the Free Skate, Chen – who is still just 19 – packed seven quadruple jumps into his program and leapfrogged the field, scoring 184.64 points to win by almost 22 points and total 271.58 for the victory.

“I’m pretty happy with my performance of the long program, definitely more satisfied with the long than with the short,” he said. “I’m looking forward to continuing to develop the program and develop the technical side of the program.”

The Short Program, was, however, a showcase for American Jason Brown, who dazzled with four triple jumps to compile 96.41 points for the lead. He skated well in the Free Skate, scoring 159.92 for third on the day and second overall, scoring 256.33 to 247.09 for Russia’s Alexander Samarin (247.09).

“I’m pretty pleased with the way things went,” said Brown, 23, afterwards. “Whereas the short program places my strengths, the long program really tests those strengths. I have a long way to go, but I’m really happy with the development as it has come along since the start of the season. I’m glad that I was able to stay focused and walk away with my first international medal of this season.”

Beyond the prize money of $18,000-13,000-9,000-3,000-2,000 for the top five placers, the skaters were vying for places in the Grand Prix Final in Vancouver (CAN), reserved for the top six in each event. Chen will advance, having won both of his events; Brown finished 10th overall.

Japan’s emerging star Rika Kihira, 16, won the women’s competition and advanced as a two-time winner to Vancouver, finishing ahead of teammate Mai Mihara and American Bradie Tennell. Mihara was only fourth at the NHK Trophy event and is the first alternate (seventh) for Vancouver; Tennell finished 10th. The shock was the fourth-place finish of two-time World Champion Evgenia Medvedeva (RUS), who finished ninth overall.

In Pairs, France’s Worlds bronze medalists Vanessa James and Morgan Cipres had to come from third after the Short Program, but won the Free Skate to win the overall competition and move on to Vancouver. Americans Tarah Kayne and Danny O’Shea finished second on the ice, but ended up eighth in the overall standings due to a fifth at the NHK Trophy event.

In Ice Dance, the 2018 World Champions Gabriella Papdakis and Guillaume Cizeron (FRA) won easily in their own Grand Prix appearance. Americans Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker slipped to fourth, but because they won at the NHK Trophy event, they will also be in Vancouver. The U.S. duo of Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue won both of their events and led the final standings for entry into the Grand Prix Final.

You can see the complete standings for each event here. Summaries from Grenoble:

ISU Figure Skating Grand Prix/Internationaux de France
Grenoble (FRA) ~ 23-25 November 2018
(Full results here)

Men: 1. Nathan Chen (USA), 271.58 (1st in Short Program + 1st in Free Skate); 2. Jason Brown (USA), 256.33 (1+3); 3. Alexander Samarin (RUS), 247.09 (2+4); 4. Dmitri Aliev (RUS), 237.82 (9+2); 5. Kevin Aymoz (FRA), 231.16 (6+5).

Women: 1. Rika Kihira (JPN), 205.92 (2+1); 2. Mai Mihara (JPN), 202.81 (1+3); 3. Bradie Tennell (USA), 197.78 (6+2); 4. Evgenia Medvedeva (RUS), 192.81 (3+5); 5. Stanislava Konstantinova (RUS), 189.67 (10+4).

Pairs: 1. Vanessa James/Morgan Cipres (FRA), 205.77 (3+1); 2. Tarah Kayne/Danny O’Shea (USA), 191.43 (4+2); 3. Aleksandra Boikova/Dmitrii Kozlovskii (RUS), 189.84 (1+3); 4. Tae Ok Ryom/Ju Sik Kim (PRK), 187.95 (2+4); 5. Camille Ruest/Andrew Wolfe (CAN), 164.10 (5+5). Also: 6. Audrey Lu/Misha Mitrofanov (USA), 157.28 (6+7).

Ice Dance: 1. Gabriella Papdakis/Guillaume Cizeron (FRA), 216.78 (1+1); 2. Victoria Sinitsina/Nikita Katsalaopv (RUS), 200.38 (2+2); 3. Piper Gilles/Paul Poirier (CAN), 188.74 (3+3); 4. Kaitlin Hawayek/Jean-Luc Baker (USA), 181.47 (4+4); 5. Rachel Parsons/Michael Parsons (USA), 171.17 (6+6).