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USA’s Nathan Chen competes within the males’s single skating brief program of the decide skating occasion all by draw of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games on the Capital Indoor Stadium in Beijing on Tuesday evening, Feb. 8, 2022, in Beijing, China. AFP PHOTO
BEIJING: Nathan Chen had correct shattered the sphere file for a decide skating brief program, even throwing a defiant fist in a uncommon display of emotion, when he used to be requested how he’d use the next 48 hours earlier than his long-awaited Olympic coronation.
“I’ve been here a while,” the 22-year-broken-down American superstar answered with a shrug. “I’ve obtained some apparel to spruce. Some other things to spruce around my room. Factual unprecedented chores, in actuality. Nothing crazy.”
He left the crazy — the downright swish — on the ice of Beijing’s historic Capital Indoor Stadium.
Wearing a assured smirk, Chen avenged his miserable brief program from four years within the past on the Pyeongchang Games within the supreme formula that you can judge of. He opened with a supreme quad flip, breezed by draw of his in overall-vexing triple axel, then drilled his quad lutz-triple toe loop mixture earlier than skating to a discontinue and handing over a moral haymaker within the air.
His score used to be 113.97 capabilities, nearly two extra than the previous world file set aside of residing by rival Yuzuru Hanyu, and six capabilities sure of 2nd-situation Yuma Kagiyama headed into Thursday’s free skate.
“I was correct pleased,” acknowledged Chen, who helped the US resolve physique of workers silver earlier this week. “On the final Olympics, every of the brief programs did no longer fling the style I primary. To lastly catch an different to skate the programs, I primary to in actual fact feel in actuality correct.”
Kagiyama drilled a pair of quads and a triple axel all by draw of his beget dynamic brief program to kill with 108.12 capabilities, while fellow Jap skater Shoma Uno — the reigning Olympic silver medalist — used to be third with 105.90 capabilities.
As for their longtime idol, Hanyu bailed out of his planned opening quad salchow and acquired no capabilities for the jump, a big mistake that rate the two-time defending Olympic champion a shot at a third gold medal. Hanyu done in eighth situation with 95.15 capabilities, a deficit so honorable that no longer even his planned quad axel within the free skate can acquire it up.
“I in actuality feel in actuality unnerved,” acknowledged Hanyu, at the side of his skate might perhaps perhaps need hit a hole within the ice, “but I in actuality contain one extra likelihood.”
The showdown between Chen and Hanyu had been building against Tuesday for the past four years, ever since what Chen called a “disastrous” brief program in Pyeongchang took him out of medal competition earlier than he felt he had arrived.
As a substitute of taking a break in a while, Chen doubled down, working tirelessly with longtime coach Rafael Arutyunyan while simultaneously working against his degree from Yale. He sharpened every component of his decide skating, from technical marks to his artistry, and he began to set aside together programs that no one else had the nerve to strive.
The brief program he nailed in Beijing, with a infamous rate of 36.27 capabilities, used to be the hardest ever tried in competition.
It left these observing support within the US, at the side of 1984 Olympic champion Scott Hamilton, marveling at his capacity.
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