Categorised in: Breaking News
MILAN (AFP) –
US ‘quad king’ Nathan Chen hit six four-rotation jumps to win his first men’s world crown on a record-breaking final day of the world figure skating championships on Saturday.
The 18-year-old from Salt Lake City made up for his Olympic disappointment finishing nearly 50 points ahead of his nearest rival Shoma Uno of Japan.
It was redemption for Chen after an Olympics where he had been among the favourites but slumped to 17th in the short programme before hauling himself back to fifth after a rousing free skate.
“I learned a lot from the Olympics where I didn’t do things at all the way I wanted to exept the long programme,” he said.
“I’m really happy the worlds were held so close after because it gave me the chance to end the season on a better note.
“Olympics are on a different level so coming in with that experience did help me a lot.”
His routine to “Mao’s Last Dancer” by Christopher Gordon earned him a personal best 219.46 points for the free skate as well as in the overall total, 321.40.
And it also allowed him to nail the record for the most quad jumps landed in a free skate which he also attempted at the Olympics.
“It’s a dream come true, something that I wanted to achieve my whole career and I’m just so glad I was able to do it.”
In the absence of double Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu the young American had opened up a slim 1.86-point lead in the short programme.
But as all his rivals crashed one after the other on the ice in Milan he grabbed his chance, returning the US to the world podium for the first time since Evan Lysacek in 2009.
Olympic silver medallist Uno — hampered by an ankle injury — took silver despite falling three times in the free skating final, scoring 273.77.
“I didn’t give up until the end and my reward is that I got this medal,” added the former world junior champion.
Russia’s Mikhail Kolyada, 272.32, also fell twice but took bronze.
American Vincent Zhou slipped to 14 after crashing three times while China’s Jin Boyang — a two-time world bronze medallist — fell five times to slump to 19th.
– French dressed for success –
After an embarrassing costume slip ended their Olympic chances, French ice dancers Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron won a third world gold and left Milan with three records.
The Olympic silver medallists — already world champions in 2015 and 2016 — led all the way earning world record scores for their perfect free dance to ‘Moonlight Sonata’ which earned them 123.47 points and overall total, 207.20, in Milan.
They had already achieved a world best in the short dance during the week.
“We wanted it to feel like a really special moment and it did. It’s a moment we’re going to cherish,” said Cizeron.
“It’s one of the first times we achieved such a level of quality in the programme. Our connection with each other and with the audience was incredible.”
Papadakis, 22, and Cizeron, 23, have been superb all season, becoming the first ice dancers to break the 200-point mark last year.
But their Olympic title bid came unstuck in South Korea when Papadakis’s dress became loose, exposing a breast.
Despite the perfection of their free skate Papadakis said they were very demanding of themselves.
“Perfection doesn’t exist,” she said.
“We try to be the best we can all the time. There’s always things to improve and competitors to be scarred of.”
Americans Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue — who train with the French in Montreal — took their first world podium with silver.
Canadians Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje fought their way back to win bronze for a third world medal and first since 2015.
Olympic champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada did not defend their world title.
by Emmeline MOORE
© 2018 AFP