Nathan Chen, Jason Brown and top U.S. skaters unveil 2020-21 season programs

American figure skaters are participating in a domestic virtual competition using video submissions that are scored by a panel of international judges.

By Nick McCarvel

Top American skaters – including two-time world champion Nathan Chen – unveiled their 2020-21 season programs as part of an online competition organized by U.S. Figure Skating.

Fellow Olympic figure skating team medallists Jason Brown, Bradie Tennell and Alexa Knierim (with pairs partner Brandon Frazier) all submitted programs to the International Selection Pool event, which offers prize money, U.S. championships qualification and future international assignments for American skaters.

The program videos (and full results) can be found on the U.S. Figure Skating website.

Chen, skating to two programs choreographed by Shae-Lynn Bourne, won the men’s competition by some 47 points with a 315.32. Brown, whose free skate is set to a chilling Richard Rogers and New York Philharmonic arrangement, scored a 268.31.

Chen’s short program, “Asturias & Canción del Mariachi,” offers another glimpse into the 21-year-old’s quest to push his artistic boundaries, something Bourne has challenged him to do with her choreography.

Fifth at PyeongChang 2018, Chen is set to compete next month when the Grand Prix Series kicks off at Skate America in Las Vegas, though the events are set to be limited, including only athletes who train in respective countries/regions.

Brown, who is back in Toronto training under Brian Orser and Tracy Wilson, skated to a Nina Simone short program choreographed by Rohene Ward. David Wilson choreographed his free skate.

Alex Krasnozhon, Jimmy Ma and Timoki Hiwatashi finished third, fourth and fifth, respectively.

In the women’s competition, Tennell, who announced a coaching change last month to Colorado-based Tom Zakrajsek, scored a 190.17 overall for a second-place finish behind compatriot Mariah Bell. Bell’s 202.78 saw her win both the short and free programs, though the women’s field did not include two-time U.S. champ Alysa Liu, who is not yet age eligible for senior competition.

Bell told Olympic Channel earlier this summer that she was pushing herself "out of my boundaries" with her chosen ABBA free skate.

Audrey Shin was third and Starr Andrews fourth.

The new duo of Knierim and Frazier, who linked up in the off season, finished second in pairs, scoring a 199.31. It was their training partners, Jessica Calalang and Brian Johnson, who won, tallying a 207.27.

Calalang/Johnson were the breakout U.S. pairs team last season, making their Grand Prix debut and placing second at the U.S. Championships in January behind a free skate victory.

The 2018 national pairs champions Ashley Cain-Gribble and Timothy LeDuc were third (189.98), as 2016 winners Tarah Kayne and Danny O’Shea finished fourth (182.61).

None of the top three U.S. dance teams – each of whom train in Montreal – participated in the event, though they have the chance to do so by submitting their videotaped programs before Oct. 5. Skaters were given the opportunity to submit by one of two deadlines, or could submit twice and take their highest scores for qualification purposes.

In ice dance, Christina Carreira and Anthony Ponomarenko, who were fourth at the 2020 U.S. Championships, won with a 190.16.