Real tears replaced tears of joy in the kiss-and-cry area at Herb Brooks Arena Saturday as Nathan Chen capped off a gruelling day of competition by winning the Skate America crown.
Reigning US champ Chen beat out fellow American Adam Rippon by just 9.43 points to win Saturday's battle of attrition in the free skate in which two figure skaters suffered dislocated shoulders at the Lake Placid event.
Both Chen and Rippon qualified for the season-ending Grand Prix final.
Rippon, who skated to "O" by Coldplay, finished runnerup despite dislocating his right shoulder when he fell on his first jump.
Rippon skated brilliantly after popping his shoulder back into place on the ice, booking his Grand Prix final berth with a 266.45 total score.
"I love drama, so I said, 'You know what, I can make it through this,'" said Rippon. "I wanted to show my character that I'm really tough and I am up for the challenge of anything."
Israel's Daniel Samohin was no so lucky. He also suffered a dislocation of his left shoulder on an even worse fall while skating to Sergei Erdenko's "Two Angels."
Samohin immediately skated off the ice, gingerly holding his damaged limb, and went straight to the backstage area for treatment.
Meanwhile, the 18-year-old Chen won despite struggling through his free skate routine to "Mao's Last Dancer" by Christopher Gordon.
He fell on his quad flip jump early in the routine and singled an axel, but managed to hold on for the win with a total of 275.88 points.
"We have worked hard. I definitely did not show it tonight," said Chen, who earned $18,000 in first place prize money.
Russia's Sergei Voronov finished third at 257.49, while American Ross Miner finished sixth.
Earlier Saturday, Aljona Savchenko and Bruno Massot, of Germany, won the pairs title by beating out Canada's two-time world champions Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford.