The Best Short Program Skaters In North America


Compulsory connected program, original program, technical program... The short program has had many names since it was first introduced at the Canadian and U.S. Championships for pairs in 1964. The short program for singles was first contested at the Canadian and U.S. Championships nearly a decade later in 1973. In the last blog, we looked back at the winners of the short program at the European Championships. Today we'll take a quick look at past winners of the short program at Canadian and U.S. Championships each year... and some interesting takeaways. One note: a '*' denotes that a skater or couple also won the overall title that year.

SHORT PROGRAM WINNERS AT THE CANADIAN CHAMPIONSHIPS

Year

Men

Women

Pairs

1964

(not held)

(not held)

Debbi Wilkes and Guy Revell*

1965

(not held)

(not held)

Faye Strutt and Jimmy Watters

1966

(not held)

(not held)

Alexis and Chris Shields

1967

(not held)

(not held)

Betty and John McKilligan*

1968

(not held)

(not held)

Betty and John McKilligan*

1969

(not held)

(not held)

Anna Forder and Richard Stephens*

1970

(not held)

(not held)

Sandra and Val Bezic*

1971

(not held)

(not held)

Sandra and Val Bezic*

1972

(not held)

(not held)

Sandra and Val Bezic*

1973

Toller Cranston*

Lynn Nightingale

Sandra and Val Bezic*

1974

Toller Cranston*

Lynn Nightingale*

Sandra and Val Bezic*

1975

Toller Cranston*

Lynn Nightingale*

Kathy Hutchinson and Jamie McGrigor

1976

Toller Cranston*

Lynn Nightingale*

Candy Jones and Don Fraser*

1977

Ron Shaver*

Lynn Nightingale*

Janet and Mark Hominuke

1978

Vern Taylor

Heather Kemkaran*

Sherri Baier and Robin Cowan*

1979

Brian Pockar*

Heather Kemkaran

Barbara Underhill and Paul Martini*

1980

Gordon Forbes

Heather Kemkaran*

Barbara Underhill and Paul Martini*

1981

Brian Pockar

Tracey Wainman*

Barbara Underhill and Paul Martini*

1982

Brian Orser*

Elizabeth Manley

Barbara Underhill and Paul Martini*

1983

Brian Orser*

Kay Thomson*

Barbara Underhill and Paul Martini*

1984

Brian Orser*

Cynthia Coull

Cynthia Coull and Mark Rowsom

1985

Brian Orser*

Elizabeth Manley*

Cynthia Coull and Mark Rowsom*

1986

Brian Orser*

Elizabeth Manley

Denise Benning and Lyndon Johnston

1987

Brian Orser*

Elizabeth Manley*

Cynthia Coull and Mark Rowsom*

1988

Brian Orser*

Elizabeth Manley*

Isabelle Brasseur and Lloyd Eisler

1989

Kurt Browning*

Karen Preston*

Cindy Landry and Lyndon Johnston

1990

Norm Proft

Josée Chouinard

Cindy Landry and Lyndon Johnston*

1991

Kurt Browning*

Josée Chouinard*

Isabelle Brasseur and Lloyd Eisler*

1992

Elvis Stojko

Karen Preston*

Christine Hough and Doug Ladret

1993

Kurt Browning*

Tanya Bingert

Isabelle Brasseur and Lloyd Eisler*

1994

Elvis Stojko*

Josée Chouinard*

Isabelle Brasseur and Lloyd Eisler*

1995

Sébastien Britten*

Netty Kim*

Michelle Menzies and Jean-Michel Bombardier*

1996

Elvis Stojko*

Josée Chouinard

Michelle Menzies and Jean-Michel Bombardier*

1997

Elvis Stojko*

Susan Humphreys*

Kristy Sargeant and Kris Wirtz

1998

Elvis Stojko*

Angela Derochie*

Kristy Sargeant and Kris Wirtz*

1999

Emanuel Sandhu

Jennifer Robinson*

Kristy Sargeant and Kris Wirtz*

2000

Elvis Stojko*

Michelle Currie

Jamie Salé and David Pelletier*

2001

Ben Ferreira

Jennifer Robinson*

Jamie Salé and David Pelletier*

2002

Emanuel Sandhu

Annie Bellemare

Jamie Salé and David Pelletier*

2003

Ben Ferreira

Jennifer Robinson*

Anabelle Langlois and Patrice Archetto

2004

Emanuel Sandhu*

Cynthia Phaneuf*

Anabelle Langlois and Patrice Archetto

2005

Jeffrey Buttle*

Joannie Rochette*

Valérie Marcoux and Craig Buntin*

2006

Jeffrey Buttle*

Joannie Rochette*

Valérie Marcoux and Craig Buntin*

2007

Jeffrey Buttle*

Joannie Rochette*

Jessica Dubé and Bryce Davison*

2008

Jeffrey Buttle

Joannie Rochette*

Anabelle Langlois and Cody Hay*

2009

Patrick Chan*

Cynthia Phaneuf

Meagan Duhamel and Craig Buntin

2010

Patrick Chan*

Cynthia Phaneuf

Anabelle Langlois and Cody Hay

2011

Patrick Chan*

Cynthia Phaneuf*

Kirsten Moore-Towers and Dylan Moscovitch*

2012

Patrick Chan*

Kaetlyn Osmond

Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford*

2013

Patrick Chan*

Kaetlyn Osmond*

Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford*

2014

Patrick Chan*

Kaetlyn Osmond*

Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford*

2015

Nam Nguyen*

Gabrielle Daleman*

Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford*

2016

Patrick Chan*

Kaetlyn Osmond

Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford*

2017

Patrick Chan*

Kaetlyn Osmond*

Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford*

2018

Patrick Chan*

Gabrielle Daleman*

Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford*

2019

Stephen Gogolev

Gabrielle Daleman

Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro*

2020

Keegan Messing

Alicia Pineault

Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro*


Some interesting things stand out here! First and foremost of course are the fact that there are some tremendously talented skaters on this list who probably should have won national titles but didn't. One skater that stands out is Ben Ferreira. He won the short program at Canadians twice (2001 and 2003) but was never a Canadian Champion.

Ben Ferreira

If you're a little superstitious, winning the pairs short program at Canadians was kind of curse in Olympic years for a period of time. In 1984, 1988 and 1992, the pairs short program winners all fell short of taking the national titles. It's happened in singles skating too - three times for the men (1980, 1992 and 2002) and three times for the women (1984, 2002 and 2010).

Lynn Nightingale. Photo courtesy Toronto Public Library, from Toronto Star Photographic Archive. Reproduced for educational purposes under license permission.

Patrick Chan holds the record for winning the men's short program the most times (nine), followed closely by Brian Orser (seven). Three women have won the short program at the Canadians five times: Lynn Nightingale, Elizabeth Manley and Kaetlyn Osmond. The pairs team who have won the short program the most times at Canadians are Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford. They won it seven times in a row from 2012 to 2018. Meagan also won the short program at the 2009 Canadians with Craig Buntin, giving her the most pairs short program wins ever at the Canadian Championships.

SHORT PROGRAM WINNERS AT THE U.S. CHAMPIONSHIPS

Year

Men

Women

Pairs

1964

(not held)

(not held)

Vivian and Ronald Joseph

1965

(not held)

(not held)

Vivian and Ronald Joseph*

1966

(not held)

(not held)

Cynthia and Ron Kauffman*

1967

(not held)

(not held)

Cynthia and Ron Kauffman*

1968

(not held)

(not held)

Cynthia and Ron Kauffman*

1969

(not held)

(not held)

JoJo Starbuck and Ken Shelley

1970

(not held)

(not held)

JoJo Starbuck and Ken Shelley*

1971

(not held)

(not held)

JoJo Starbuck and Ken Shelley*

1972

(not held)

(not held)

JoJo Starbuck and Ken Shelley*

1973

Gordon McKellen Jr.*

Dorothy Hamill

Melissa and Mark Militano*

1974

Gordon McKellen Jr.*

Dorothy Hamill*

Melissa Militano and Johnny Johns*

1975

Terry Kubicka

Wendy Burge

Tai Babilonia and Randy Gardner

1976

Charlie Tickner

Dorothy Hamill*

Tai Babilonia and Randy Gardner*

1977

Charlie Tickner*

Barbie Smith

Tai Babilonia and Randy Gardner*

1978

Charlie Tickner*

Linda Fratianne*

Tai Babilonia and Randy Gardner*

1979

Charlie Tickner*

Linda Fratianne*

Tai Babilonia and Randy Gardner*

1980

Charlie Tickner*

Lisa-Marie Allen

Tai Babilonia and Randy Gardner*

1981

Scott Hamilton*

Vikki de Vries

Kitty and Peter Carruthers*

1982

Robert Wagenhoffer

Rosalynn Sumners*

Kitty and Peter Carruthers*

1983

Scott Hamilton*

Rosalynn Sumners*

Kitty and Peter Carruthers*

1984

Scott Hamilton*

Tiffany Chin

Kitty and Peter Carruthers*

1985

Brian Boitano*

Tiffany Chin*

Jill Watson and Peter Oppegard*

1986

Brian Boitano*

Caryn Kadavy

Gillian Wachsman and Todd Waggoner*

1987

Brian Boitano*

Debi Thomas

Gillian Wachsman and Todd Waggoner

1988

Brian Boitano*

Debi Thomas*

Jill Watson and Peter Oppegard*

1989

Christopher Bowman*

Jill Trenary*

Natalie and Wayne Seybold

1990

Todd Eldredge*

Kristi Yamaguchi

Kristi Yamaguchi and Rudy Galindo*

1991

Christopher Bowman

Kristi Yamaguchi

Natasha Kuchiki and Todd Sand*

1992

Christopher Bowman*

Kristi Yamaguchi*

Natasha Kuchiki and Todd Sand

1993

Mark Mitchell

Nancy Kerrigan*

Calla Urbanski and Rocky Marval*

1994

Brian Boitano

Tonya Harding*

Jenni Meno and Todd Sand*

1995

Scott Davis

Tonia Kwiatkowski

Jenni Meno and Todd Sand*

1996

Todd Eldredge

Michelle Kwan*

Kyoko Ina and Jason Dungjen

1997

Todd Eldredge*

Michelle Kwan

Kyoko Ina and Jason Dungjen*

1998

Todd Eldredge*

Michelle Kwan*

Kyoko Ina and Jason Dungjen*

1999

Michael Weiss*

Michelle Kwan*

Danielle and Steven Hartsell*

2000

Michael Weiss*

Sasha Cohen

Kyoko Ina and John Zimmerman*

2001

Michael Weiss

Michelle Kwan*

Danielle and Steven Hartsell

2002

Todd Eldredge*

Michelle Kwan*

Kyoko Ina and John Zimmerman*

2003

Timothy Goebel

Michelle Kwan*

Tiffany Scott and Philip Dulebohn*

2004

Johnny Weir*

Sasha Cohen

Tiffany Scott and Philip Dulebohn

2005

Timothy Goebel

Michelle Kwan*

Kathryn Orscher and Garrett Lucash*

2006

Johnny Weir*

Sasha Cohen*

Kathryn Orscher and Garrett Lucash

2007

Evan Lysacek*

Kimmie Meissner*

Rena Inoue and John Baldwin Jr.

2008

Johnny Weir

Mirai Nagasu*

Keauna McLaughlin and Rockne Brubaker*

2009

Jeremy Abbott*

Alissa Czisny*

Caydee Denney and Jeremy Barrett*

2010

Jeremy Abbott*

Mirai Nagasu

Caydee Denney and Jeremy Barrett*

2011

Ryan Bradley*

Mirai Nagasu

Caitlin Yankowskas and John Coughlin*

2012

Jeremy Abbott*

Agnes Zawadzki

Mary Beth Marley and Rockne Brubaker

2013

Jeremy Abbott

Ashley Wagner*

Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir*

2014

Jeremy Abbott*

Gracie Gold*

Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir*

2015

Jason Brown*

Ashley Wagner*

Alexa Scimeca and Chris Knierim*

2016

Max Aaron

Polina Edmunds

Tarah Kayne and Danny O'Shea*

2017

Nathan Chen*

Karen Chen*

Ashley Cain and Timothy LeDuc

2018

Nathan Chen*

Bradie Tennell*

Alexa Scimeca Knierim and Chris Knierim*

2019

Nathan Chen*

Bradie Tennell

Tarah Kayne and Danny O'Shea

2020

Nathan Chen*

Bradie Tennell

Alexa Scimeca Knierim and Chris Knierim*

2021

Nathan Chen*

Bradie Tennell*

Alexa Scimeca Knierim and Brandon Frazier*


Only four times in the history of the U.S. Championships has a skater or couple won the short program but failed to place in the top three in the final standings. This happened in the men's event in 1976 and 2001, in the women's event in 1981 and in the pairs in 2019.

Tai Babilonia and Randy Gardner. Photo courtesy Chicago Public Library.

As of 2021, four men have won the short program at the U.S. Championships a record five times: Charlie Tickner, Brian Boitano, Jeremy Abbott and Nathan Chen. Michelle Kwan is the women's record-holder at eight. The most short program wins by a pair at the U.S. Championships is six, a feat achieved by Tai Babilonia and Randy Gardner consecutively from 1975 to 1980.

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