Nathan Chen (USA) came from behind to soar to his third consecutive World title at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships in Stockholm (SWE) on Saturday. Newcomer Yuma Kagiyama of Japan claimed the silver medal while two-time Olympic Champion Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan settled for the bronze.
Chen, who stood in third following the Short Program, laid down a perfect performance to music by Philipp Glass, reeling off five quadruple jumps – Lutz, flip, Salchow as well as two toes, three of them in combinations. He also threw in a triple Axel and a triple Lutz as well as level-four spins and footwork to score 222.03 points. The five-time U.S. Champion racked up 320.88 points for a runaway victory with almost 30 points to spare.
The USA skater finished almost 30 points clear at the top of the overall standings ©International Skating Union (ISU)
“It’s amazing; the fact that I’m able to be here at this World Championship after that unprecedented year - I’m very happy to be here. I’m very elated right now”, the now three-time World Champion commented. “I just didn't want to lose that (quad) Lutz again. I had struggled on it a little bit at Nationals as well to start off my free program (he fell out) and I always don't like starting with an error; it's hard to regroup after that. My intent was 'hit the Lutz, move on.' In theory I can come back, but realistically I know these guys are going to lay (it) down (and I wanted) to be able to leave this competition satisfied with how I skated in the free. I was able to do that so I'm pretty thrilled.”
Yuma Kagiyama turned in a stunning performance in his debut Worlds ©International Skating Union (ISU)
Kagiyama showed nerves of steel in his Worlds debut. Skating to the “Avatar” soundtrack, the 2020 Youth Olympic Games Champion nailed a quad Salchow, quad toe-triple toe and quad toe as well as four more strong triples. He only stumbled on a triple Axel and triple loop. The 2020 World Junior silver medalist scored a personal best of 190.81 points and totaled 291.77 points to secure a podium place in his first World Championships.
The 17-year-old finished two points ahead of compatriot and Olympic Champion Yuzuru Hanyu ©International Skating Union (ISU)
“To be honest, I was really surprised how well I did after my performance. So, of course, as for the outcome, I’m very happy. And being here, I wanted to make sure I landed on the podium. That’s what I’ve trained for. And I guess my work has paid off. Of course I couldn’t put out everything I wanted out there on the ice here in Stockholm. Having said that, I’m really happy with the results that I received”, Kagiyama said.
Yuzuru Hanyu ended with the bronze medal despite leading the competition overnight ©International Skating Union (ISU)
Overnight leader Hanyu skated last. He opened his program to the Japanese movie soundtrack of “Heaven and Earth” with a quad loop, but touched down with his hand. The two-time World Champion landed a quad toe-triple toe and a quad toe-Euler-triple Salchow, but he struggled with the landing of the quad Salchow and his triple Axels. The Japanese Champion was ranked fourth in the Free Skating with 182.20 points and slipped to third overall with 289.18 points in total.
The bronze is Hanyu’s sixth World Championship medal ©International Skating Union (ISU)
“It was very exhausting and it was like I was losing my balance one by one, but I tried to make sure that I don’t fall, so I did work hard to make sure I kept it together. I realized that there were a lot of jumps one after another that were not clean”, the reigning Olympic Champion explained. “I don’t know when the next competition might be, but I just want to go back to practice, to train on my quad Axel and continue to work to land it, so that I can use it in a real competition. Overall, I wasn’t feeling that bad. And in the practice, it wasn’t that bad either. But all of a sudden going into my program, my balance started to crumble”, he added.
Shoma Umo impressed to finish third in the Free Skating and fourth overall ©International Skating Union (ISU)
Shoma Uno (JPN) turned in a solid performance that included two clean quadruple jumps to move up from sixth to fourth on 277.44 points. Mikhail Kolyada (FSR) hit two quad toes but missed a triple Axel to finish fifth (272.04 points). Keegan Messing (CAN) placed sixth with another strong program (270.26 points). Jason Brown (USA) remained in 7th place (262.17 points).
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