Nathan Chen (USA) celebrating victory during the Men Single Skating Free Skating at the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing, China.@ Getty Images
Three-time ISU World Champion Nathan Chen (USA) took the Olympic crown at the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games at the Capital Indoor Gymnasium on Thursday. Yuma Kagiyama of Japan skated off with the silver in his Olympic debut, while his teammate Shoma Uno earned his second individual Olympic medal, the bronze.
Nathan Chen scores runaway victory
Skating last out of the 24 Men in the Final, “Rocket Man” Chen set off a firework of quadruple jumps, hitting a quad flip-triple toe, quad flip, quad Salchow, quad Lutz, quad toe as well as a triple Axel and triple Lutz-triple toeloop combination. The 22-year-old Skater collected a level four for his spins and footwork and was on fire in his choreographic step sequence in his program to songs by Elton John. The only glitch in the performance was a singled flip jump. Chen scored 218.63 points and racked up 332.60 points to win the gold – 12 years after Evan Lysacek (USA) was crowned Olympic Champion in Vancouver. Chen claimed the eighth Olympic gold in the Men’s event for the USA.
Nathan Chen (USA) competing during the Men Single Skating Free Skating at the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing, China.@ Getty Images
"I never really felt I'd be able to make it this far in my career. I'd always of course dreamt about making the Olympics and winning the Olympics, but I (thought), 'That's hard, I don't know if I can make that happen',” the three-time World Champion shared. “I was tracking (the other Skaters’ performances). I was backstage so their performances were on the TV. Everyone skated quite well. My focus was still on trying to do the best I could do, given where I had to skate, skating last. I'm glad I was able to do what I needed to do to win.”
Nathan Chen (USA) competing during the Men Single Skating Free Skating at the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing, China.@ AFP
Silver for Yuma Kagiyama in his debut
Teenage sensation Kagiyma battled well in his “Gladiator” routine and produced a quad Salchow, two quad toeloops, two triple Axels as well as a triple Lutz-triple loop. The 18-year-old athlete only stumbled out of his quad loop and collected 201.93 points, which added up to 310.05 points overall.
Yuma Kagiyama (JPN) skates during the Men Single Skating Free Skating at the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing, China.@ Getty Images
“I am very happy that as a representative of Japan I was able to push through until the very end. It was a good experience for me that I can connect to future goals,” the 2021 World silver medalist commented. “I was very nervous and not able to perform my program as well as in the Team Event, but I gave a 100 percent nevertheless. I did not feel pressure because I was ranked second. I was more nervous because I really wanted to give a good performance.”
Shoma Uno repeats as Olympic medalist
Shoma Uno (JPN) opened his performance to a new arrangement of Ravel’s “Bolero” with a quad loop and followed up with a quad Salchow (slightly underrotated), a quad toeloop-double toeloop, a somewhat shaky quad toe as well as two triple Axels. However, the 2018 Olympic silver medalist struggled with his quad flip and singled another flip. Uno earned 187.10 points and was ranked fifth in the Free Skating, but held on to third place at 293.00 points.
Shoma Uno (JPN) skates during the Men Single Skating Free Skating at the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing, China.@ Getty Images
“Honestly, I am happy. My performance was not the greatest, but I am glad about the result and that I got the bronze medal. In these four years a lot has happened and I am happy that I participated in the Olympic Games for the second time,” Uno shared. “I gave what I could give and I was able to reach this score. However, in order to become an athlete like Nathan, I need to work on all my elements and train much more,” he added.
Yuzuru Hanyu attempts quad Axel
Two-time Olympic Champion Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN) moved up from eighth to fourth place at 283.21 points and completed a strong showing of the Japanese men. He went for the quad Axel, underrotated and fell, but recovered to land two quadruple toeloops, two triple Axels as well as three more triples. His only other error came when he missed his quad Salchow. “I used my full power for the quad Axel, so I think I was a little tired for the quad Salchow. I think I was able to show to the people the story of my Free Skating, so I am satisfied,” he said.
Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN) skates during the Men Single Skating Free Skating at the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing, China.@ Getty Images
ISU Four Continents Champion Junhwan Cha (KOR) took a painful looking fall on his opening quadruple toeloop, but recovered to land a quadruple Salchow and seven triples to finish fifth (282.38 points). “It was actually incredible for me today. I had a big mistake on my first jump. But I really fought until the end and I think I really managed well until my program finished. I didn't think about fifth place, or placings, or something like that. My goal was to skate clean and even have a mistake and fight through to the end. And I did and I enjoyed the moment,“ Cha shared.
Junhwan Cha (KOR) skates during the Men Single Skating Free Skating at the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing, China.@ Getty Images
Jason Brown (USA) delivered an emotional performance to „Schindler’s List“ that featured seven triple jumps to come sixth (281.24). “I think our sport is such a beautiful combination. It’s unbelievable to see the technicians pushing the sport technically and I’m blown away and think so highly of them and I respect them so much. It’s also making sure that this other side isn’t forgotten about and I want to keep pushing it and proving that there’s so much value to that and I’m going to constantly give it my all,” Brown noted.
Daniel Grassl (ITA) was the highest ranked European Skater in 7th place at 278.07 points. He landed a quad Lutz, flip and loop.
The Figure Skating competition continues with the Rhythm Dance on Saturday.