Earlier this season, U.S. Figure Skating changed its senior world team selection rules to deny a guaranteed place for the reigning national champion.
The change was made, according to a USFS document approved in December, “to select the athletes who will have the best chance for success at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships to win the maximum number of medals and future berths for the World and Olympic Team the following season.”
It was made just in case the winner at nationals was a fluke (or, more politely, a surprise), someone whose past international record gave no strong indication of success at the World Championships.
Someone like Karen Chen.
Her performances in both programs at last month’s U.S. Championships in Kansas City were undeniably brilliant – by far the best of her career.
Her performances in this week’s Four Continents Championships on the 2018 Olympic rink in Gangneung, South Korea, were undeniably dismal: 12th in the short program, with a fall and a watered-down combination; 10th in Saturday’s free skate, when she omitted the planned opening combination, did an invalid element and had four sloppy jumping passes (out of seven).
Overall, with a 12th place that matched her finish at last year’s Four Continents, Chen looked like the skater who had been consistently mediocre this season and last – with the exception of the 2017 nationals.
That should get USFS officials thinking of a future change in its world team selection rules so the results of Four Continents can be taken into consideration. After all, it will be more than two months from the end of nationals to the start of worlds.Read More