Chen, Zhou in Medal Position After the Men's Short Program at the World Championships

(3/22/18) - Nathan Chen and Vincent Zhou are in podium position after the men’s short program on Thursday at the 2018 ISU World Figure Skating Championships in Milan, Italy.

Chen, skating to “Nemesis” by Benjamin Clementine, won the short program with 101.94 points.

“Compared to the Olympics, this program was a lot better and I’m much happier,” Chen said. “It is definitely a little bit of redemption. It was a huge improvement off of what I did [in PyeongChang]. It wasn’t clean or perfect and that’s what I really want, but as of right now I’ll call it a success.”

Vincent Zhou, who is appearing in his first World Championships after winning the World junior title in 2017, is third after the short program after earning 96.78 points. The score beat his previous personal best by more than ten points.

“Coming into this event, I’ve been training extremely well and I came here to do a job and I’ve been doing it so far,” Zhou said. “I look forward to continuing this in the free skate. It felt amazing out there. I’m really happy to have finally put out a clean short program on international ice. ”

In Saturday’s free skate, Chen will skate 24th (last) and Zhou will skate 23rd.

Max Aaron earned 79.78 points and is in 15th place.

“It was a tough program, but given the time that I had to train, I did my best,” Aaron said. “I have no regrets. I’m really here to help support [Nathan and Vincent]. If something were to go wrong, hopefully I could sneak in and help get the United States three spots, but I’m pretty confident that those boys are going to lay it down and hopefully bring home two World medals. I’m like the support dog. I just want to help them out as much as I can and have the best skate I can.”

Russia’s Mikhail Kolyada is in second place.

In the pairs competition, Alexa Scimeca-Knierim and Chris Knierim earned 112.49 points for their free skate, totaling 182.04 overall to finish the competition in 15th place.

“Unfortunately, sometimes that happens,” Chris Knierim said. “Ice is slippery and sometimes you don’t get it all right when you’re out there for four minutes. It’s hard [to have a result like this], especially leaving a program like that, it’s not what we wanted to do. Alexa is a fighter and she fought through it all.”

Aljona Savchenko and Bruno Massot of Germany won the event, followed by Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov of Russia and Vanessa James and Morgan Cipres of France.

Friday will feature the short dance and the conclusion of the ladies competition. Full results from the event can be found here.