The 2018 U.S. Championships take place Dec. 29, 2017 through Jan. 7, 2018 at the SAP Centre, in San Jose, California. The senior events start on Wednesday, Jan. 3 with the ladies short program.
The U.S. can field three ladies, three men, three ice dance teams and one pairs team to the 2018 Olympic Winter Games. The the competition to earn one of those 10 coveted spots will be fierce.
Adam Rippon is ready for the battle in San Jose. At 28, this is his last realistic shot at making a U.S. Olympic team. “I am feeling great and I am going to be great in San Jose,” he said. “I think I am in the best shape of my life and I am looking forward to going to the national championships and skating really well.” Rippon is confident he has a solid shot at making the Olympic team “unless other skaters’ mothers are on the selection committee.”
Ashley Wagner said she is trained and also up for the challenge to earn an Olympic berth. After withdrawing from Skate America in November, she was forced to take a week off to allow a foot injury to heal. In a conference call on Dec. 26, Wagner said she is well-trained and ready to fight for a place in PyeongChang. She has reverted back to the “La La Land” long program she initially planned to skate this season. “I felt like I was scrambling all season…so changing the long has been a positive change.”
Mirai Nagasu is also determined to make the 2018 Olympic team. When asked what she plans to bring to these Championships that she did not bring to the 2014 campaign, Nagasu said “the triple Axel,” which she is planning to include in both the short and long programs. “My goal is to put out two good performances and let the results fall where they may.”
Starr Andrews will make her senior nationals debut next week. She will also be making her singing debut. Her long program, “One Moment In Time” with vocals by…Starr Andrews. “She has a great voice and is a much better singer than I am,” Rippon said.
During a conference call on Dec. 27, Vincent Zhou said he is planning to land five quads and two triple Axels in his long program at nationals, but admitted that, while his planned technical content is comparative to that of Nathan Chen, he has “a long way to go to catch up on artistry.”
Nathan Chen is planning five quads in his free skate – Lutz, flip, toe, Salchow in that order. ” I will decide which one I will repeat. He will debut new costumes in San Jose, designed by Vera Wang. Evan Lysacek was involved in this process.