by Rebecca BAILEY
Agence France Presse
BEIJING, China (AFP) — Nathan Chen smashed a world file held by fierce rival Yuzuru Hanyu because the “shocked” two-time reigning Olympic determine skating champion made a shaky begin to go away his title defence in hassle Tuesday.
Going through off for the primary time on the Beijing Video games, Hanyu needed to accept a disappointing eighth within the brief programme, along with his Japanese teammates Yuma Kagiyama and Shoma Uno second and third.
Chen, who scored 113.97 to comfortably beat Hanyu’s earlier brief programme file of 111.82, pumped his fist in delight on the finish of his efficiency.
“I do not know what came to visit me,” the 22-year-old American stated of his response. “I don’t typically do stuff like that nevertheless it simply felt proper… I used to be simply actually pleased and I suppose that simply got here out.”
The rating takes the three-time world champion one step nearer to the one main prize that has eluded him, a gold medal on the Video games.
Hanyu, who scored 95.15 after making a mistake on his first leap, has to shut a niche of virtually 20 factors within the free skate to have the ability to full his purpose of securing a 3rd Olympic title in a row.
The 27-year-old instructed journalists he thought the error may need been brought on by a gap within the ice made by one other skater.
“Truly, I really feel actually shocked at present,” he stated. “However I’ve another probability within the free programme.”
– ‘Ice Prince’ falters –
Chen had come near beating the file already when he carried out the identical “La Boheme” programme for the workforce occasion, however his skate on Tuesday was cleaner.
Dressed merely in black and white, Chen was in management as he sped across the rink, touchdown two quadruple jumps and a triple axel.
Earlier, Hanyu, trying each inch his nickname “Ice Prince” in a glowing silver and blue high, took to the ice to cheers and screams from the gang.
Hanyu evokes legions of devoted followers world wide and China isn’t any exception.
The error occurred on his first leap, supposed to be a quadruple Salchow — however he ended up solely making one rotation.
Hanyu solely arrived in Beijing on Sunday, however was adamant that late arrival was to not blame.
“The preparation to get right here was proper,” he instructed the Olympic information web site. “It’s mind-boggling as a result of every thing had gone proper till now.”
Chen stated he sympathised — on the 2018 Video games he had a disastrous brief programme which dashed his hopes of gold.
“Undoubtedly doesn’t really feel nice,” Chen stated. “However you definitely can’t ever rely him out. He’s a two-time Olympic champion for a cause.”
Hanyu confirmed he was nonetheless planning on performing a quadruple axel — a leap no skater has ever landed in competitors — within the free skate.
– ‘Excellent efficiency’ –
Second-placed Kagiyama, who’s coached by his father, put in a jaunty skate to Michael Buble’s “When You’re Smiling”.
“That is my first Olympics,” the 18-year-old stated. “To be trustworthy with you, I assumed I used to be going to be very nervous, however from the start to the tip I feel I used to be simply having enjoyable.”
Uno, presently third, stated: “Nathan Chen put in an ideal efficiency… For any athlete it might be extraordinarily tough, if not unimaginable to win over him.”
The highest 24 skaters undergo to the free skate on Thursday.
Amongst them is Donovan Carrillo from Mexico — whose common coaching floor is a shopping center ice rink.
Additionally overjoyed — or in his phrases, “stoked on life” — was Canada’s Keegan Messing.
He made it to Beijing within the nick of time on Monday after lastly getting the damaging assessments he wanted after catching Covid-19 simply weeks earlier than. He completed ninth.
© Agence France-Presse