Japan’s Machida routs U.S. men at Skate America; ice dancers make history
Again, U.S. men were outperformed at Skate America. Again, a Japanese man walked away with the gold.
Tatsuki Machida breezed to the first repeat men’s Skate America title in 13 years on Saturday night after U.S. Olympians Jason Brown and Jeremy Abbott‘s error-filled free skates.
A Japanese man has won Skate America eight of the last 10 years.
Earlier, U.S. ice dancers went one-two at a Grand Prix event for the first time ever. Sochi Olympians Madison Chock and Evan Bates and Maia and Alex Shibutani held their positions from Friday’s short dance.
Machida became the first man since Tim Goebel (2000, 2001) to repeat as Skate America champion. The World Championships silver medalist landed two quadruple jumps in his free skate (video here) and totaled 269.09 points, a whopping 34.92 ahead of second-place Brown. Machida, who led after the short program Friday, won by 24.14 last year.
A U.S. man has won Skate America once in the last 11 years -- Evan Lysacek in 2009. Machida’s winning margin broke Lysacek’s record for biggest rout in Skate America history (under the new scoring system implemented in 2003). The current U.S. men’s drought matches the longest in history in America’s biggest annual international competition.
In the free skate, Brown fell on a triple Axel and put his hand on the ice on another jump (video here). But he moved ahead of Abbott and placed three spots higher than at 2013 Skate America, which marked his Grand Prix debut as a replacement for Lysacek.
Abbott, a four-time U.S. champion, stayed on his feet but botched a few jumps and totaled 219.33 (video here), dropping from second place to fifth.
Sochi Olympic bronze medalist Denis Ten of Kazakhstan fell on his opening quadruple jump. He was fourth, behind Canadian Nam Nguyen.
In the ice dance, Chock and Bates tallied 171.03 points for their first Grand Prix event title. The Shibutani siblings had 160.33. Chock and Bates and the Shibutanis were eighth and ninth, respectively, in Sochi.
No other couple in the Skate America field had finished better than 14th at an Olympics or World Championships.
The top four couples from the Sochi Olympics are not competing together this season, including Americans Meryl Davis and Charlie White and Canadians Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir.
Skate America concludes with the women’s free skate Sunday (NBC, 4-6 p.m. ET).