Takeaways: Chen, Honda set themselves apart from skating peers

Mirai Nagasu, shown in a Team USA photo shoot, last week became the first U.S. woman credited with landing a triple axel since 2005.  She did one in each program at the U.S. International Figure Skating Classic - and both got full base value.

Mirai Nagasu, shown in a Team USA photo shoot, last week became the first U.S. woman credited with landing a triple axel since 2005.  She did one in each program at the U.S. International Figure Skating Classic - and both got full base value.

SALT LAKE CITY - Here are six takeaways from the 2017 U.S. International Figure Skating Classic, which marked the real start of the Olympic season.

1. Nathan Chen stood out last season, not only for succeeding on history-making quadruple jumps but also for accepting the risk to attempt them.

He stood out in his first competition of this Olympic season, the U.S. International Figure Skating Classic, by taking some musical risk while most singles skaters are playing it safe with old warhorses like TurandotCarmenPhantom of the Opera, et al., ad nauseam.

Chen let his choreographers -- Shae-Lynn Bourne (who did his short program to the Benjamin Clementine version of "Nemesis") and Lori Nichol (who used the score from the film Mao's Last Dancer, with its powerful passage from Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring, to craft his free skate) -- pick the music.

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