Chen produces spectacular free skate to win gold at worlds
AP Sports Writer
SAITAMA, Japan — Defending champion Nathan Chen produced a spectacular free skate on Saturday to win the gold medal at the figure skating world championships.
First after the short program, the 19-year-old Chen made no mistakes and landed four quadruple jumps to set a record score in the free skate with 216.02 points for a total of 323.42.
Chen opened with a quad lutz and followed with a quad flip. The U.S. national champion then added two quad toeloops, one in combination, to solidify his lead.
“I’m proud of myself for being able to put out two good programs, the short and the long,” Chen said. “Ultimately, I’m just happy with how this event went and I hope to have more experiences like this.”
Two-time Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu also had a strong free skate with four quads but couldn’t erase a 12.53-point deficit and finished second with 300.97.
American Vincent Zhou was third with 281.16 points.
Hanyu came back from a right ankle ligament injury in November. He was similarly injured in 2017 and returned at last year’s Pyeongchang Olympics, where he became the first male figure skater to win consecutive Olympic golds since Dick Button in 1948 and 1952.
“I lost, that is about it,” Hanyu said. “I think I did my best, but the problem is that in figure skating competition consists of two days, and I am losing in both. It means that I simply do not have enough strength to win.”
Olympic silver medalist Shoma Uno, the 2018 world championship silver medalist, was fourth.
Earlier, defending champions Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France won the free dance to win gold in the ice dance.
Papadakis and Cizeron, first after the rhythm dance, received 134.23 points for their free dance for a total of 222.65 and their fourth ice dance world title.
Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov of Russia were second with 211.76 points followed by Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue of the United States who moved up from fourth place to finish third with 210.40.
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