With the Winter Olympics a little more than a month away, United States figure skaters will get one last chance to make their case for inclusion in the Pyeongchang team when they compete in the 2018 US Figure Skating Championships in San Jose this week.
The main competitions (senior men, senior ladies, pairs and dance) will take place between Wednesday, January 3, and Sunday, January 7, and will be broadcast on NBC, NBC Sports Network and the Olympic Channel (a complete schedule can be found here). If you can’t get to a TV or don’t have cable, you can watch a live stream of all of these channels by signing up for one of the following cable-free, live-TV services. They cost a monthly fee but all come with a free trial, allowing you to watch the entirety of the 2018 US Figure Skating Championships at no cost:
Fubo TV: “Fubo Premier” includes NBC (live in select markets), NBC Sports Network and the Olympic Channel. A free 7-day trial is offered, and you can watch on your computer via your browser, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Fubo app.
DirecTV Now: All four main channel packages include NBC (live in select markets) and NBC Sports Network, while the Olympic Channel is included in the “Go Big” and “Gotta Have It” packages. It comes with a free 7-day trial no matter what package you choose, plus you can get $25 off your first month if you enter promo code “BDAY2017”. You can watch on your computer via your browser, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the DirecTV Now app
Sling TV: “Sling Blue” includes both NBC (live in select markets) and NBC Sports Network, while you will need to add the “Sports Extra” add-on to also get the Olympic Channel. A free seven-day trial is offered, and you can watch on your computer via your browser, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Sling TV app
The person to watch in San Jose–and Pyeongchang–will be Nathan Chen, who is considered the United States’ best chance for an individual figure skating medal in South Korea. Though the 18-year-old finished just sixth in last year’s World Championships, he’s the defending US champ and has yet to lose this season, having captured victories at the US International Figure Skating Classic, the Rostelecom Cup, Skate America and the Grand Prix final–the last of which marking the first time since 2012 a Japanese man didn’t win.
“I definitely think there is additional pressure,” Chen said. “But it is reassuring. I am happy with the way things have gone, happy I am in this position. This is what I wanted for a long time. I personally remind myself to embrace it.”
Chen is expected to be joined in Pyeongchang by fellow men’s singles skaters Adam Rippon, the 2016 US champ, and Jason Brown, who finished ninth at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, though the likes of Max Aaron, Grant Hochstein and Vincent Zhou are also in the mix.
On the women’s side, Ashley Wagner is an overwhelming favorite for one of the three spots. Since finishing seventh at the Olympics four years ago, the 26-year-old won silver at the 2016 Worlds and tallied three consecutive Top-3 finishes (first, third, second) at the US Championships from 2014 to 2016.
There are several worthy candidates hoping to join Wagner on Team USA. Mirai Nagasu, a 2010 Olympian, is enjoying a nice season that includes a second-place finish at the US International Figure Skating Classic. 19-year-old Bradie Tennell, the 2015 US Junior Champ, has shown her promise with a third-place finish at the Grand Prix Skate America. Karen Chen is the defending US champ and finished fourth at last year’s world championships. Mariah Bell took third at last year’s US nationals, and 2014 Olympian Polina Edmunds is also in the mix.
As a reminder, the results of the US championships don’t fully determine who makes Team USA. The results will simply be taken into account by a committee, who will use many other factors when deciding who represents the Red, White and Blue in Pyeongchang.