Top U.S. figure skaters compete for prize money in new Las Vegas Invitational

LAS VEGAS -- Top American figure skaters were given an opportunity to compete and earn prize money during the pandemic-shortened season in the new Las Vegas Invitational.

The event, which featured two-time world champion Nathan Chen, took place Monday and will air on NBC on Nov. 15. Teams representing NBC analysts Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir skated for $50,000 in prize money.

U.S. Figure Skating and sponsor HomeLight teamed to create the additional competition just after Skate America ended last weekend. The Grand Prix series was cut from six events to four, and each of those four is for athletes from the host country and those training there. The Grand Prix Final in Beijing also was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Each team in the event had three senior women and three men from the United States, with each skater performing a free skate. Their scores were added for a total team score. The team with the highest aggregate score after all team members performed won the competition.

"Any opportunity that we get to perform given this unprecedented time and season, it's a great opportunity for us," four-time U.S. champion Chen said. "It's a fun experience. I'm happy that HomeLight and U.S. Figure Skating did everything they could to put this together."

Starr Andrews, Chen, Alex Krasnozhon, Ilia Malinin, Audrey Shin and Bradie Tennell were on Team Tara. Mariah Bell, Karen Chen, Tomoki Hiwatashi, Alysa Liu, Camden Pulkinen and Vincent Zhou were on Team Johnny.