13. Karen Chen USA
2017 World short program
Consistency is not a word that can describe the new U.S. champion's season. But at the two competitions where it counted most, Karen Chen delivered grandly and absolutely brilliantly. Of the two programs that she had this season, her short program was far and away the standout - and it was at its absolute best here at the biggest competition of her career.
And what a way to debut at your first World Championships too. She shattered her personal best short program score by over seven points - and believe it or not, that PB was set almost three years before on the Junior Grand Prix. The potential has always been there for Chen, and this is precisely what happens when she puts it all together.
So much of what Chen has to offer is everything outside of the jumps - her interpretation of music, her effortless power across the ice, and of course, her spins, which are some of the very best in the world. Stop doing what you're doing for three minutes and enjoy this work of art.
Warning: Technical speak ahead. As an aside, there was some question about the cleanness of her triple toe. It was certainly a close call, but to call the rotation of that toe loop, you have to look at 1) the direction of the blade of the landing leg, and 2) the landing edge relative to the direction of travel of the jump. Simply looking at the direction of flow on the landing edge does not suffice.
From the replay, Chen's right blade was about 30 degrees counterclockwise from the longitudinal side of the rink, and though her pick-in was far into the circle, her direction of travel was along that 30-degree line. So her landing edge had to be within a quarter-turn of that 30-degree line. And in replays, it looked to be just there.