Los Angeles (AFP) - Ross Miner was denied a men’s berth at next month’s Winter Olympics by a US Figure Skating selection committee Sunday, hours after his runner-up effort at the US championships.
Teen star Nathan Chen, who landed five quadruple jumps to defend his US crown Saturday at San Jose and remain unbeaten this season, heads the American team for Pyeongchang, which also includes third-placed teen Vincent Zhou, like Chen the son of Chinese immigrants, and fourth-place Adam Rippon, the 2016 US champion.
Miner rose from fifth after the short program with a strong free skate Saturday to finish second. But it wasn’t enough to convince the selection committee he deserved a spot in South Korea over Zhou or Rippon.
It was the second selection controversy in as many days at the US championships, with former world silver medalist Ashley Wagner left off the team after a fourth-place finish.
Selectors on Saturday stuck with the women’s podium finish to decide spots in sending Bradie Tennell, Mirai Nagasu and Karen Chen to Pyeongchang.
Wagner was named as an alternate but Miner was tabbed only as a second alternate behind Jason Brown.
Chen, 18, has won two Grand Prix Series titles and the Grand Prix Final this season and is the only man in the world to be credited with landing five different types of quadruple jumps in global competition.
Zhou, who was skating in his hometown, was last year’s US runner-up and the 2017 world junior champion.
Rippon finished second at two Grand Prix events this season and was fifth in the Grand Prix Final.
Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue broke through for their first national ice dance crown after three straight runner-up finishes as competition concluded Sunday.
Their score of 118.02 on their sultry, blues-tinged free dance gave them a total of 197.12 and catapulted them past three-time world medallists Maia and Alex Shibutani.
The “Shib Sibs” – winners of world silver in 2016 and world bronze in 2011 and 2017 – had led by more than three points after an impeccable short dance.
But her slight stumble cost them in the free dance and the two-time defending US champions finished with a total of 196.93 points, hanging on for silver ahead of Madison Chock and Evan Bates.
Selectors later confirmed the three duos would carry US hopes at Pyeongchang, where Canadians Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir and France’s Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron are expected to be the top ice dance contenders.
“I’m actually kind of thrilled because we did not have a perfect skate,” Donohue said. “We have a lot of room to grow in both our programs – that really puts us in line with what we intend podium-wise for Pyeongchang.”
Selectors also named US champions Alexa Scimeca-Knierim and Chris Knierim to the only American pairs berth in Pyeongchang.