Nathan Chen's much-anticipated Olympic debut becomes a flop

Nathan Chen's much-anticipated Olympic debut becomes a flop

GANGNEUNG, South Korea -- When he stopped skating, Nathan Chen lowered his head and quickly ran a hand through his hair. His face was blank. If something was churning inside him, Chen kept it bottled up.

"It wasn't shock," Chen said of his reaction. "It was more disappointment, the fact I didn't do what I want to do. I'm not going to show that I'm happy and kind of fake it if I'm genuinely not."

Chen truly had nothing to be happy about when it came to his performance. His highly anticipated Olympic debut Friday morning in the short program of the team event was a flop.

It was Chen's lowest-scored short program, by some five points, in two years as an international senior skater. None of his three jumping passes went either clean or as planned. He fell on a triple axel. He also turned a planned second quadruple jump into a double, giving him no points on that element because at least a solo triple jump is required.

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Parents' support and her own will got Nagasu up to Olympics again

Parents' support and her own will got Nagasu up to Olympics again

It was one of those boilerplate questions that often draws a rehearsed answer from athletes:

"You have listed Michelle Kwan as your inspiration. What do you say to little girls who look to you as their inspiration?" the now two-time Olympian was asked on a media teleconference Tuesday.

This time, though, the response was anything but rote. That's because the subject on the other end of the line was Mirai Nagasu, who speaks from the heart rather than from a script and whose sometimes whimsical-sounding, often rambling responses are always grounded in cliché-free sincerity.

Nagasu, you see, has bounced back not only from the disappointment of being left off the 2014 Olympic team but, with the help of her parents' indomitable support and sacrifice, has overcome financial obstacles that come with being in an expensive sport. And her mother, Ikuko, is a cancer survivor.

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An Olympic figure skating fab five, U.S. gold medalists all, reflect on Nathan Chen

An Olympic figure skating fab five, U.S. gold medalists all, reflect on Nathan Chen

Five of the six U.S. men's Olympic gold medalists were in attendance at the 2018 U.S. Figure Skating Championships in San Jose, California. In the days following the competition, icenetwork asked them their overall impressions of Nathan Chen, one of the favorites for the gold medal at next month's Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea.

The respondents were:

- Brian Boitano, the 1988 Olympic champion and a two-time world champion, who has followed Chen closely for years.

- Evan Lysacek, the 2010 Olympic champion and 2009 world champion, who trained briefly on the same ice as Chen when the younger skater began working with Rafael Arutunian in California seven years ago. The 2018 U.S. Championships were the first time Lysacek had been in an arena to watch Chen compete.

- Scott Hamilton, the 1984 Olympic champion, four-time U.S. champion and four-time world champion, who has watched Chen compete at various levels.

- Dick Button, the 1948 and 1952 Olympic champion, who got his first chance to see Chen -- 70 years his junior -- in person at the 2018 U.S. Championships.

- Hayes Jenkins, the 1956 Olympic champion, who first saw Chen in person at the 2014 U.S. Championships in Boston, where Chen, then 14, won his second U.S. junior title.

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Russian skater's coach calls IOC decision to bar her from 2018 Olympics “an injustice and an absurdity”

Russian skater's coach calls IOC decision to bar her from 2018 Olympics “an injustice and an absurdity”

The coach of Russian pairs skater Ksenia Stolbova called the International Olympic Committee's decision to exclude Stolbova from the 2018 Winter Olympics “an injustice and an absurdity.”

In a Thursday text message responding to questions from icenetwork, coach Nina Mozer said she was informed about the International Olympic Committee’s action on Stolbova, a 2014 Olympic gold and silver medalist, only two hours before the Russian Figure Skating Federation announced it Tuesday.

Mozer said she hoped the IOC would change its mind.

“Our team counts on sanity and changes in IOC decisions that concern honest athletes who. . .have the full right to compete in the Olympic Games,” Mozer wrote.

Mozer said that no member of her coaching team nor any of the pairs athletes she has coached, including Stolbova and her partner, Fedor Klimov, have ever figured in any "doping scandals" and insisted that doping would have a negative effect on a skater's performance.

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Two Russian skaters apparently barred from 2018 Olympics, with no reason yet announced

Two Russian skaters apparently barred from 2018 Olympics, with no reason yet announced

Russian pairs skater Ksenia Stolbova and ice dancer Ivan Bukin have apparently been barred from competing in the 2018 Olympic Winter Olympics by the International Olympic Committee.

"Apparently" must remain the operative word because the IOC will not release until Saturday a list of which Russian athletes have been cleared to compete next month in PyeongChang, South Korea.

The surprising news about Stolbova, a gold and silver medalist at the 2014 Winter Olympics, and Bukin came via a Tuesday statement from the Russian Figure Skating Federation, which in turn was citing information from the Russian Olympic Committee.

The figure skating federation's statement blasted the IOC.

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