STOCKHOLM (AP) – Nathan Chen has become one of the best figure skaters in history, becoming the first American since Scott Hamilton to win the Men’s Figure Skating Championships for the third time in a row.
Chen was dynamic on the freestyle, easily surpassing two-time Olympic champion Yonzuru Hanyu of Apon, marking himself as the winner of next year’s Beijing Olympics. Indeed, Hanyu fought hard on Saturday to give third place to 17-year-old compatriot Yuma Kagiyama, who took silver in his first adult world.
No one had Chen’s jumping skills. His “Quad King” reputation is well-founded, he jumped five or four laps in what NBC analyst Ny Weir called “technical magic.” But there was more in it. Intensity, even brutality, as if Chen were conquering every square, not just finishing them. Plus the balance of art and technology that has improved since 2017, when Chen won his first five consecutive US titles.
Even at the end of his free skating, his face was more focused than festive.
In addition, Chen had to wait for the performance of Hanyu, who was more of a pedestrian for the Japanese star. He jumped on two jumps, landed carelessly on the others, as if he knew it was almost not enough when he shook his head before taking the bow and letting go of the ice.
In 1981-84, Hamilton conquered four consecutive worlds. Since then, three other people (Canadian Kurt Browning, Patrick Chan, Russian Alexei Yagudin) have won three in a row.
Mikhail Kolyada took the fourth place and assured Russia, which stands out in the world, in the place of three men in Beijing. The United States and Japan are also convinced that this is the case.
American Ason Eason Brown, who does not have a bigger jump to meet the medalists, but is a master in the field of art, took the seventh place.
Saturday is the first free dance to end the first worlds since 2019. Last year’s event was canceled due to the COVID-19 epidemic.