Chen in First Place After Day One of Internationaux de France
(11/1/19) - Nathan Chen leads after the short program, highlighting a strong day for Team USA at 2019 Internationaux de France, the third stop of the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series. The United States is medal position in all four disciplines heading into the final day of competition.
Having won Skate America just two weeks ago, Chen earned 102.48 points in his short program to place him atop the leaderboard. Chen, who landed two quads in Friday’s program, is seeking to qualify for his fourth consecutive Grand Prix Final. He has won seven straight events dating back to the 2018 World Championships.
“I try to just focus on what I have to do,” Chen said. “I try to block out [distractions]. The [short program] was a little messy, but overall I was able to get a good score and I can focus on the free skate tomorrow.”
Teammate Tomoki Hiwatashi, who is making his Grand Prix Series debut, is 10th after earning 68.70 points.
Alexander Samarin of Russia is second with 98.48 points and Kevin Aymoz of France is third with 82.50 points.
In the ice dance competition, Madison Chock and Evan Bates, who returned to the Grand Prix circuit after missing 2018 due to injury, are in second place heading into the free dance. The duo earned 80.69 points and trails the French team of Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron by eight points.
The Italian tandem of Charlene Guignard and Marco Fabbri is third with 79.65 points.
The American team had a strong performance in the ladies short program. Mariah Bell and Starr Andrews are third and fourth, respectively. Bell, who won Nebelhorn Trophy earlier this season, tallied 70.25 points. Andrews earned 66.59 points in her clean program.
Russians Alena Kostornaia and Alina Zagitova are first and second, respectively.
In pairs, Haven Denney and Brandon Frazier followed a strong performance at Skate America with a 68.65-point short program. A high finish in Grenoble would give Denney and Frazier a shot at making the Grand Prix Final in December. Ashley Cain-Gribble and Timothy LeDuc are just behind in fourth place with 66.12 points heading into the free skate.
Russia’s pairs Daria Pavliuchenko and Denis Khodykin and Anastasia Mishina and Aleksandr Galliamov are first and second, respectively.
The Grand Prix Series, now in its 25th season, consists of six international events in a cumulative point-scoring format. Approximately 300 athletes from 30 countries are expected to participate in the series. Each athlete is eligible to score points in up to two of the six scheduled events. The top six point-earners in each discipline qualify for the 2019 ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final, set for Dec. 5-8, in Torino, Italy.
Fans can watch the entire event live, commercial-free and on-demand with the Figure Skating Pass on NBC Sports Gold. Fan can also watch NBC’s recap show on Sunday, Nov. 3 from 4-6 p.m. ET.