Chen Leads, Brown Second, Zhou Fourth Following Men's Short Program at World Championships

(3/21/19) The United States had a stellar Thursday at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2019 at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. The evening was highlighted by a strong performance in the men’s short program. Defending World champion Nathan Chen is in first place, with Jason Brown and Vincent Zhou second and fourth, respectively.

Chen, skating last, earned a season’s best 107.40 points.

“I’m super happy with today,” Chen said. “I’ll always pick out some things that I did wrong, but overall I’m happy. The crowd was amazing. From the very start of the program, I felt the energy.”

Jason Brown sits in second place with 96.81 points which also was a season’s best.

“Competing in Japan and performing for this audience is something that I cherish and something that I don’t take for granted,” Brown said. “I wanted to get out there on the ice and give them a show.”

Vincent Zhou led of the competition for the United States and earned 94.17 points, opening with a powerful quad Lutz-triple toe loop.

“That felt really special,” Zhou said. “I’m really grateful to have such a great team behind me and my choreographer Lori Nichol for helping me to develop my artistry and to create such a special program. It felt magical skating it out there and I’m really grateful that I can end the season with a short program like that."

Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu is third with 94.87 points.

Ashley Cain and Timothy LeDuc finished ninth in the pairs competition after skating two strong programs. In Thursday’s free skate, the Dallas-based duo scored 126.88 points to total 193.81 points throughout the competition.

“We accomplished our goals this season,” Cain said. “It was to win the [U.S. Championships] and to get the two spots back for the United States at Worlds. Yes, we had some mistakes, but it was such a relief because we’ve been building it up this entire season.”

“It’s been a roller coaster of a season,” LeDuc said. “Everyone knows our story of how we had the bad accident, how we came back from that and to finish [this season] off with getting two spots back for Team USA, I’m over the moon.”

With the top-10 finish, Cain and LeDuc earned the United States two pairs entries at the 2020 World Championships, which will take place in Montreal next spring.

The Chinese tandem of Wenjing Sui and Cong Han won the title. Russian pairs Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov, and Natalia Zabiiako and Alexander Enbert were second and third, respectively.

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 live coverage of the World Championships to subscribers. A full television is available here.