ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) Adam Rippon has won his first U.S. title in a victory sure to reignite the debate about the value of artistry vs. athleticism in figure skating.
Rippon fell on his only quadruple jump attempt Sunday, while runner-up Max Aaron landed two and 16-year-old Nathan Chen did a stunning four but had to settle for third place.
But the 26-year-old Rippon, who had struggled to live up to his potential for much of his career, is vastly ahead of Aaron and Chen in the expression and choreography that still make up a huge part of scores.
Rippon earned 182.74 points for his free skate for a total of 270.75. Aaron, the 2013 U.S champ who led after the short program, received 177.72 points for 269.55 total. Chen, who fell on a triple axel, had 180.60 points for 266.93 total.
Chen might not even make the world championships team. Jason Brown, who was unable to defend his U.S. title because of injury, could knock him off the squad. Chen can still compete at the junior world championships.