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About The Asian reporter. (Portland, Or.) 1991-current | View Entire Issue (Jan. 15, 2018)
Page 8 n THE ASIAN REPORTER
January 15, 2018
Nagasu, Chen, Tennell earn
As Olympics approach, things
U.S. Olympic figure skating spots to know about PyeongChang
By Barry Wilner
By Foster Klug
AP Sports Writer
The Associated Press
AN JOSE, Calif. — Mirai Nagasu,
Karen Chen, and Bradie Tennell,
the top three finishers at the
national championships, have been
selected to the U.S. team for the
Three-time U.S. champ Ashley Wagner,
who complained vigorously about the
marks after her free skate, was not
included. Four years ago, Wagner also
finished fourth but was placed on the team
ahead of Nagasu. Wagner wound up with a
bronze medal in the team event.
“I really took time to remodel myself,
because I didn’t want to feel that regret,”
Nagasu said during the announcement on
NBC’s “Today” show. “This has been about
my journey and my goal to get here. To
accomplish it last night has been a dream
Chen, 18, the 2017 U.S. winner, and
19-year-old Tennell, made their first
Olympics. Nagasu, now 24, was fourth at
the 2010 Games.
Alternates are Wagner (first alternate),
Mariah Bell (second alternate), and
Angela Wang (third alternate). Only
Wagner has been to an Olympics among
U.S. Figure Skating uses a committee to
decide the squad, and it went with the
results of the national championships.
Past performances and a variety of other
data are included in the decision.
The remainder of the team includes
three men, three ice dance couples, and
Rising star Tennell’s near-perfect free
skate earned her first national crown.
Tennell, a long shot entering the season,
was spotless in the short program, then as
the final skater in the long program, she
didn’t miss a trick under tremendous
pressure. Her top competitors, Nagasu
and Chen, already had put down superb
“I just had to keep calm and focus on
what I knew I could do,” Tennell said.
“There’s the initial butterflies, but I kind of
start to lose myself and keep going.
“I don’t think it’s sunk in quite yet. I’m
still kind of shocked. It’s indescribable to
Nagasu, U.S. champ 10 years ago and a
2010 Olympian, capped a sensationally
sweet comeback with a flowing perfor-
mance to finish second, assuring a spot in
next month’s Olympics — a berth she was
SPOT SECURED. Mirai Nagasu is seen perform-
ing during the women’s free skate event at the U.S.
Figure Skating Championships in San Jose, California.
The U.S. champ 10 years ago and a 2010 Olympian,
Nagasu capped a sensationally sweet comeback with
a flowing performance at the national championships
to finish second, assuring a spot in next month’s
Olympics — a berth she was denied in 2014 by
the selection committee. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)
denied in 2014 by the selection committee.
That position for Sochi was given to
Wagner, who had a better overall record.
Chen, the defending champion, was
After overpowering the entry and two-
footing the triple axel that no other Ameri-
can woman tries, Nagasu hit six triple
jumps, including a loop in the final seconds
of a stirring program. She was so moved by
her performance that she broke out in
tears and covered her face, trying to gain
control of the emotions that often had
betrayed her in critical moments.
She was still crying in, appropriately,
the kiss and cry area when the marks
showed Nagasu she had shattered her
personal best by nearly 20 points with a
Chen’s big season last year had not
campaign. She put those struggles to an
icy death with a superb showing that had
one flaw toward the end. She, too, was
overcome by tears for a 198.59 score.
Tennell made it a trio of tears with her
career best of 219.51. Tennell announced
herself as an Olympic team threat with a
third place at Skate America. Hardly ice
shattering, but then she ratcheted up
everything for nationals.
Wagner had the crowd going for most of
her energetic routine, but a flawed lutz as
her final jump was costly. She responded
to the fans with a deep bow when she
finished, yet was shaking her head “no”
when her marks were posted.
Hours later, after she verbally
campaigned to be placed on the Olympic
team again, Wagner was left off.
Nathan Chen dazzles with five
quad jumps to win U.S. nationals
By Janie McCauley
The Associated Press
AN JOSE, Calif. — Nathan Chen
skated once more in a victory lap of
sorts, this time to high-five fans as
the newly crowned national champion.
Well, repeat champion.
And oh what a lopsided win he delivered.
Chen dazzled yet again with his
remarkable athleticism to pull off five
breathtaking quadruple jumps, skating
the final routine to a commanding U.S.
With improved poise and style that
showed all his growth, not to mention his
new Vera Wang costumes, Chen beat
second-place Ross Miner with a total score
of 315.23 — a startling 40.72-point
The 18-year-old Chen secured his spot
for the PyeongChang Games with his
performance. He opened with a quad
flip-triple toe loop combination at full
speed and with flair, and never looked
back. Chen displayed a new maturity and
attention to detail such as pointing toes,
using his head, and being more expressive
with his body.
“I still need time to really wrap my head
around this,” Chen said. “But this whole
season has gone exactly as I wanted it to in
terms of all the requirements to make that
Olympic team. Honestly at this point in
time it is sort of just checking off that box. I
still have a lot more to do, but ultimately
this is the dream that I’ve wanted for a
long, long time. I’ve really strived for it my
entire life. And I’ve always wanted to know
what it feels like to be on that Olympic
Sporting all black, Chen singled his
planned triple axel as his only flaw. It
hardly mattered with all those memorable
quads. Besides the first combination, he
also did a quadruple flip stand-alone, quad
toe loop with a double toe loop combina-
tion, and a quad toe and quad salchow on
Unbeaten this season, Chen is consid-
ered the Americans’ best hope for a medal.
The U.S. Figure Skating selection commit-
Continued on page 10
YEONGCHANG, South Korea —
The Olympics are coming to one of
the most remote, ruggedly beauti-
ful parts of South Korea, an area known for
icy winds, a collapsed mining industry,
towering granite mountains that blot out
the horizon, and for a tough, proud, rapidly
aging population as curious about the
approaching foreign masses as outsiders
are about the place they’re heading.
With the Olympics just a few weeks
away, here are some answers to questions
about PyeongChang and the Korean
Question: Is the Korean Peninsula safe?
Answer: Yes, with a half-century-old
South Korea is one of the safest places in
the world to live and visit. People regularly
leave their cellphones and bags on
restaurant tables when they go to the
But it’s also an easy drive to the edge of
an incredibly hostile, and nuclear-armed,
North Korea. Since U.S. President Donald
Trump has begun matching the
over-the-top rhetoric North Korea has
always favored, there have been worries
over the possibility of war. South Koreans,
used to decades of threats about turning
Seoul into a “sea of fire,” are still fairly
nonchalant about the North. The presence
of 28,500 U.S. military personnel and a
massive amount of U.S. and South Korean
firepower aimed at North Korea helps.
North Korea’s dictatorship values its
existence above all things, and knows that
it could not win a war with South Korea
and its U.S. ally. This has tempered the
threat since the Korean War ended in
Q: Do people speak English?
A: Not many.
But the government has paid for English
lessons for some people in the service
industry; there will be translation apps
and English-speaking volunteers; phone
hotlines are available. Adding to these
efforts will be South Koreans’ natural
hospitality and curiosity.
Q: Where, exactly, am I going?
A: To a lovely, frigid land of mountains,
streams, and clean air. But also to a more
temperate, coastal region known for its
seafood and beach.
The Olympics are actually being held in
three areas: PyeongChang, known for
mountains and winter sports; Jeongseon, a
blue-collar former mining region; and
Gangneung, the biggest of the three
Olympic towns by far and a bustling port
and vacation area along the Sea of Japan,
known here as the East Sea. Together they
take up South Korea’s northeast corner,
not far from the border with the North. The
inland areas have always been isolated,
and while sections have been revamped for
the Olympics and the coastal areas are
well developed, many places are proudly as
they’ve always been, which is to say they
have little in common with the skyscraper
glitz and “Gangnam Style” glamour of
That, for many Koreans who visit, is the
Q: What can I eat?
A: Korean cuisine is some of the world’s
best, a daily joy to explore.
Spicy, pungent kimchi; thick fermented
soups filled with meat so tender it falls off
the bone; barbecued everything; all of it
washed down with ubiquitous soju liquor.
While food options aren’t as wide as in
Seoul, there are local delicacies, including
dried pollack (fish), in stews and grilled;
grilled and marinated pork and squid;
OLYMPIC VENUE. People take to the slopes
at Yongpyong Resort in PyeongChang, South Korea.
The PyeongChang Olympics are coming to a remote,
ruggedly beautiful part of South Korea known for icy
wind and towering granite mountains. (AP Photo/Ahn
tofu; riced steamed with mountain herbs
and some of the country’s best beef.
Q: What’s the weather like?
A: Bundle up.
Gangwon province is one of the country’s
coldest places. The wind is brutal, and the
stadium for the nighttime opening and
closing ceremonies is open air and has no
heating system. Locals make it a matter of
pride not to complain about daily
wintertime life, but visitors risk misery if
Q: How will I get around?
A: Just in time for the games, high-speed
trains will whisk people from Seoul and
the Incheon airport to the area in about an
hour, compared to three hours or more by
car. Also available: more taxis than usual,
150 free inter-city busses and shuttle
busses that connect with major hotels and
the local airport. Officials hope to reduce
traffic by restricting locals’ car usage.
Outsiders driving in can choose from seven
parking lots near the Olympic venues,
then take free shuttles to stadiums.
Q: What else is there to do in Pyeong-
Chang and South Korea?
A: PyeongChang County is famous for
winter sports, with plenty of area ski
rental shops. Just driving among the
massive granite peaks and frozen streams
can be breathtaking. For scenic views, try
Odaesan National Park and the
Woljeongsa Buddhist temple, which offers
overnight stays. You can hike Mount
Seonjaryeong and visit sheep ranches in
the mountain town of Daegwallyeong.
Jeongseon, with one Olympic venue, the
downhill skiing course, has the country’s
only casino where Koreans may gamble —
Gangwon Land. You can pedal “rail bikes”
amid the mountains at the Jeongseon
Railbike Park, an abandoned coalmining
railway track, or walk over a cliffside
see-through floor at the Jeongseon Ski
Walk on Mount Beyongbangsan.
Gangneung has the vibrant Sacheon
and Gyodong districts near the city’s
famous Gyeongpo Beach and hosts five
Olympic venues handling skating, curling,
and hockey. The Ojukheon House and
Municipal Museum is a well-preserved
16th-century Joseon Kingdom-era house.
And Jeongdongjin Sunrise Park arguably
provides South Korea’s best mainland
Seoul offers shopping and nightlife in
Gangnam south of the Han River. In the
north there are Namdaemun’s open air
markets and several royal palaces and gar-
dens. A short drive away is the Demilita-
rized Zone, where soldiers glare at each
other across the border, the South Koreans
through mirrored sunglasses, as tourists
gawk. The always odd mix of Cold War ten-
sion and modern tourist trap (the southern
side has a Popeyes and amusement park)
has gotten stranger since the recent defec-
tion of a North Korean soldier. He’s recov-
ering from being shot five times by his
former comrades during a dash across the
AP writer Kim Tong-hyung contributed to this report.