The new “Queen of US Figure Skating” is 17-year old Karen Chen. Chen skated an amazing free skate program on Saturday, January 21, 2017, but so did three-time US Figure Skating Champion and Olympian Ashley Wagner. Last year’s “Queen of US Figure Skating,” Olympic Figure Skater, Gracie Gold, not only was dethroned, but Gold did not skate well enough to even be close to the podium. She finished in 6th place.
It’ always thrilling and exciting to watch “Nationals,” but when I watch, since I know some of the competitors and their parents, I can’t help but feel very, very sad when I see skaters not skate well.
Tessa Hong is one of the sweetest kids I know and so is her mom. To see Hong pop three of her planned triple jumps and turn them into singles, broke my heart. I’m glad the crowd encouraged her. After making those horrible mistakes, fortunately, she was able to land the other triples that were planned later in her program.
I don’t know Gracie Gold personally, but I can imagine the sadness that went on inside her. Hong is only 14 years old and what happened in 2017 will soon be put in the past and she’ll bounce back, but will Gold? Probably not. I read that she asked her coach Frank Carroll to throw her team USA jacket in the trash! I also read that she plans to be back next season and hopes to again qualify for the Olympics. The television commentators, Olympic Champion Tara Lipnski and Olympian and US Champion Johnny Weir, mentioned that the joy of skating seemed to no longer be present in Gracie, so it may be likely that Gold’s future in figure skating may have ended at the 2017 Championships. In addition, coach Frank Carroll has announced to icenetwork that he will no longer be teaching Gold.
Also, former US Champion and Olympian Mirai Nagasu had a bad night. She has been skating so well, so it was sad to see her free skate not go well.
It was wonderful to see former Junior World Champion Caroline Zhang’s flawless performance and also see Mariah Bell medal. Both of these “girls” are sweet people and because I know them, I felt that I was with them on the ice! I loved the smile on Mariah’s face!
Yes, it is obvious that most “Queens of US Figure Skating” only reign for a short time. It will be interesting to see how the skaters who medaled at this past “Nationals” do at the upcoming “Worlds” that will take place in Helsinki, Finland in late March-early April 2017.