Published: Sun, February 18, 2018

Figure skating-Chen leads after historic performance, Hanyu, Fernandez still to skate

Figure skating-Chen leads after historic performance, Hanyu, Fernandez still to skate

Japan's defending champion Yuzuru Hanyu produced a stunning short programme to surge into the lead in men's figure skating as Mikaela Shiffrin's bid to retain her slalom title started with her vomiting and ended in heartbreak at the Pyeongchang Olympics on Friday.

Chen wound up fifth overall in the men's event on Saturday despite a stellar performance in the free skate portion of the competition, in which he landed six quadruple jumps in the 4-minute, 30-second program.

If Pyeongchang proves to be Adam Rippon's figure skating swan song then "America's sweetheart" will look back on the Winter Games without an ounce of regret.

The performance came after Chen faltered in his earlier Olympic appearances.

Chen immediately recognized the magnitude of what he accomplished, as did the crowd at the Gangneung Ice Arena.

Compatriot Shoma Uno moved up one slot from the short program and took the silver medal with a final score of 306.90.

The landmark comes a little over 94 years after the very first Olympic Winter Games gold medal was awarded, to the USA's Charles Jewtraw, who, on 26 January 1924, crossed the line first in the 500m speed skating event in Chamonix in France.

The skaters and spectators alike were eager to see what the top contenders - especially Japan's Yuzuru Hanyu - would do. "My tears were from my heart. I can find one word and that is happy", he added. "I guess it's a matter of intellectual property rights, I'm not an expert on that but there's a conflict with sponsor so not able to bring the yellow bear". "I've been through so much, it would take me hours to say it all".


Asked how he coped with the battle to be fit, here's what Hanyu, who hasn't competed since October, said. That caused a minor delay while a flock of children skated out to gather them, even though Chen insisted that it didn't bother his concentration.

"This is the best day of my skating life", he said. He scored nearly nine points higher on his free skate than Hanyu, who landed four quads.

Coming into the free-skate portion of the competition, the top-ranked USA skater was Adam Rippon, who turned in another poised and artful performance to secure his 10th-place finish.

Chen, 18, was out of contention for a medal after bombing on Friday in a nervy short programme that left him languishing in 17th place going into the decisive day.

"I definitely did want to redeem myself after the two short programs and I think I did here", he said.

"It was sort of an anger thing", he said. "I hope I can keep challenging myself bravely". "I know I didn't do the ideal programme, but I was satisfied with what I did", Fernandez told reporters. "I just made a decision to go for it".

Another standout was Canada's Patrick Chan, skating an elegant free skate that contained a few mistakes, but the 2014 silver medalist more than made up for it with artistic mastery.

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