Chen Repeats as World Champion as United States Earns Three Medals on Saturday at World Championships
The United States picked up three medals on the final day of competition at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2019 at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.
Nathan Chen became the first American man since Scott Hamilton (1981-1984) to win consecutive World titles, and Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue won their second straight World medal. Vincent Zhou won the bronze medal, the first of his career, marking the first time since 1996 that the United States has won two World medals in the men’s event.
Chen, who led teammate Jason Brown by nearly 11 points entering tonight’s skate, skated near perfect, scoring 216.02 points for 323.42 points overall. Both scores are new World records.
“It feels amazing,” Chen said. “This is my second World title and it means a lot to me. It is really reassuring that I’ve been able to pull everything together for the second time at Worlds. It’s such a huge honor and amazing experience to be able to compete at Worlds, regardless of the result, so to now be able to stand atop the podium and put out two very clean skates feels awesome.”
Zhou was sharp, earning a personal best 186.99 points in his free skate for 281.16 points overall.
“It was incredible to skate like that at the end of my season after a very difficult season,” Zhou said. “I’m so proud of myself and the effort that I put into my performance and my jumps. This is the culmination of all of the hard work I’ve been doing.”
Brown, who was second after the short program, had a tough free skate and finished ninth overall with 254.15 points.
“It’s not the performance that I wanted, but I’m so proud of the fight that I put out there and the growth that I’ve made during this season,” Brown said. “I’m so proud of my teammates Nathan and Vincent, and my training mate [Yuzuru Hanyu].”
Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu earned the silver medal.
In the ice dance competition, Hubbell and Donohue, who were in fourth place entering the day, won their second straight medal, taking the bronze medal with a 127.31-point free dance and 210.40 overall points.
“We’re absolutely thrilled,” Hubbell said. “It’s our second year in a row being on the World podium. That’s something that is very hard to do. It requires consistency and excellence and we’re happy to have our second World title here in Japan.”
Madison Chock and Evan Bates, who had a late start to the season due to an injury, finished sixth with 204.92 points. The duo scored 122.60 points on Saturday afternoon.
“I think this is our favorite free dance that we’ve ever had,” Bates said. “It’s really uptempo, especially the last piece of music, and it’s very audience friendly and then there was some extra joy knowing that this is the last time that we might perform it so we really wanted to give a show. I don’t think we could have skated it any better.”
Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker notched their second straight top-ten finish at Worlds, earning 113.16 points in their free dance for 189.06 points overall and a ninth place finish.
“We were happy with the performance we put out,” Hawayek said. "We felt like we have just continued to build and grow this season. We were happy with how we finished the season, which was on a strong note.”
The French tandem of Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron finished atop the podium, followed by Russia’s Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov.
NBC will broadcast coverage of the ladies and men’s free skate from 8-10 p.m. ET on Saturday, March 23, followed by a recap show from 3-6 p.m. ET on Sunday, April 14. There will be an additional 12 hours of competition coverage on NBCSN. Additionally, the Figure Skating Pass on NBC Sports Gold will stream on-demand coverage of the World Championships to subscribers. A full television is available here.