The 22-year-old broke the earlier mark set by a longtime rival, placing himself in place to presumably win his long-sought gold medal.
BEIJING, China — Nathan Chen shattered the world file throughout his quick program on the Beijing Olympics, scoring 113.97 factors Tuesday to beat the earlier mark of longtime rival Yuzuru Hanyu and put himself in place to win his long-sought gold medal.
With a assured smirk as he took the ice, the 22-year-old Chen avenged his poor efficiency from 4 years in the past in Pyeongchang within the greatest manner attainable. He opened with an ideal quad flip, breezed by a triple axel that typically causes him issues, then drilled his quad flip-triple toe loop mixture to go away a lot of the crowd in awe.
Chen’s whole was practically six factors forward of Yuma Kagiyama, who sits in second place, and practically 20 forward of Hanyu, the two-time Olympic champion who bailed on his opening quad try throughout a calamitous quick program.
“I used to be simply elated,” stated Chen, who helped the U.S. win workforce silver earlier this week. “On the final Olympics, each of the quick packages did not go the way in which I needed. To lastly get a chance to skate the packages I needed feels actually good.”
Now, all that is left is a robust free skate Thursday for the charismatic Chen to grow to be an Olympic champion.
“Each alternative I get at competitions I ought to be thankful for,” he stated, “and particularly the Olympics.”
Kagiyama drilled a pair of quads and a triple axel throughout his personal dynamic quick program to complete with 108.12 factors, whereas fellow Japanese skater Shoma Uno — the reigning Olympic silver medalist — was third with 105.90 factors.
As an alternative of Hanyu, their longtime idol, it is going to be Kagiyama and Uno standing in the way in which of Chen’s gold medal.
“I really feel actually shocked right now, however I’ve yet another likelihood,” stated Hanyu, who believes his skate hit a gap early in his quick program, forcing him to bail out of a deliberate quad salchow and leaving him in eighth place with 95.15 factors.
The showdown between Chen and Hanyu has been constructing the previous 4 years, ever since what the younger American known as a “disastrous” quick program in Pyeongchang took Chen out of medal rivalry earlier than he felt he had arrived.
Reasonably than taking a break afterward, Chen doubled down, working tirelessly with longtime coach Rafael Arutyunyan whereas concurrently working towards his diploma from Yale. He sharpened each facet of his determine skating, from technical marks to his artistry, and he started to place collectively packages that no person else had the nerve to strive.
His quick program in Beijing, with a base worth of 36.27 factors, was the toughest tried in competitors.
Chen’s ferociously regular construct towards his second Olympics, a stretch that included three world titles and the latest of his six nationwide championships, contrasted starkly with the bumpy, injury-filled path that Hanyu took to Beijing.
After turning into the primary man to efficiently defend an Olympic title since American skater Dick Button in 1952, Hanyu took a break from the game to relaxation ligament injury in his proper ankle. He skipped the Grand Prix season in 2020 due to the pandemic, then missed this previous Grand Prix season due to extra points together with his proper ankle.
However simply when it appeared that Uno and Kagiyama had surpassed the 27-year-old Hanyu, he confirmed up on the Japanese championship in December and promptly regained his crown.
The long-awaited matchup between two of determine skating’s titans was on for Beijing.
It lasted about so long as it takes to lace up skates.
The preternaturally poised Hanyu, skating properly earlier than Chen, was seconds into his program when he arrange for the primary of two deliberate quads. However one thing was amiss the second he took off, and Hanyu bailed out of the salchow to an audible gasp from the fastidiously separated crowd of some thousand folks inside Capital Indoor Stadium.
The quad salchow carries a base worth of 9.70 factors; Hanyu was given none of them.
“I am pleased with my skating after the primary soar,” Hanyu stated.
As if to drive house his extraordinary misstep, although, Uno was subsequent on the ice and carried out flawlessly. He landed his opening quad flip, then made a quad toe loop-triple toe loop mixture look simple. By the point Uno completed his program, set to a Vivaldi concerto, he had amassed 105.90 factors and brought over first place.
To not point out made himself, slightly than Uno’s extra well-known teammate, the most important impediment to Chen’s gold medal.