Beijing — Nathan Chen had simply shattered the world document for a determine skating quick program, even throwing a defiant fist in a uncommon show of emotion, when he was requested how he’d spend the following 48 hours earlier than his long-awaited Olympic coronation.
“I have been right here some time,” the 22-year-old American star replied with a shrug Tuesday. “I’ve bought some garments to scrub. Another issues to wash round my room. Simply bizarre chores, actually. Nothing loopy.”
He left the loopy – the downright beautiful – on the ice of‘s historic Capital Indoor Stadium.
Sporting a assured smirk, Chen avenged his poor quick program from 4 years in the past on the Pyeongchang Video games within the largest approach potential. He opened with an ideal quad flip, breezed via his often-vexing triple axel, then drilled his quad flip-triple toe loop mixture earlier than skating to a cease and delivering a proper haymaker on the air.
His rating was 113.97 factors, almost two greater than the earlier world document set by rival Yuzuru Hanyu and 6 factors away from second-place Yuma Kagiyama headed into Thursday’s free skate.
“I used to be simply elated,” stated Chen, who helped. “On the final Olympics, each of the quick applications did not go the way in which I needed. To lastly get a possibility to skate the applications I needed feels actually good.”
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 for his or her longtime idol, Hanyu bailed out of his deliberate opening quad salchow and obtained no factors for the leap, a large mistake that price the two-time defending Olympic champion a shot at a 3rd gold medal. Hanyu completed in eighth place with 95.15 factors, a deficit so nice that not even his deliberate quad axel within the free skate could make it up.
“I really feel actually shocked,” stated Hanyu, including his skate could have hit a gap within the ice, “however I’ve yet one more probability.”
The showdown between Chen and Hanyu had been constructing towards Tuesday for the previous 4 years, ever since what Chen known as a “disastrous” quick program in Pyeongchang took him out of medal competition earlier than he felt he had arrived.
Fairly 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 applications that no person else had the nerve to attempt.
The quick program he nailed in Beijing, with a base worth of 36.27 factors, was the toughest ever tried in competitors.
Chen’s ferociously regular construct towards his second Olympics, a stretch that included three world titles and the newest of his six nationwide championships, contrasted starkly with the bumpy, injury-filled path that Hanyu took to Beijing.