/Nathan Chen Competes in Mens Figure Skating: Live Updates – The New York Times

Nathan Chen Competes in Mens Figure Skating: Live Updates – The New York Times

Juliet Macur

Feb. 9, 2022, 8:13 p.m. ET

Feb. 9, 2022, 8:13 p.m. ET

Credit…Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

Nathan Chen’s score of 113.97 points in the men’s short program at the Beijing Olympics on Tuesday set a world record and also set him up perfectly for a shot at the coveted prize that has eluded him.

Standing in his way on Thursday will be two Japanese skaters: Yuma Kagiyama, an 18-year-old former child television and movie star who knows how to perform with flair, and Shoma Uno, 24, one of only two skaters who have beaten Chen since early 2018. Kagiyama was second in the short program, 5.85 points behind Chen. Uno, the Olympic silver medalist in 2018, was third, 8.07 points back.

Competing in his first Olympics, Kagiyama got the mostly Chinese crowd on Tuesday to clap along to his entertaining performance to Michael Bublé’s “When You’re Smiling,” as he skated a high-power, high-energy program.

Uno, who skated to classical music, was just as stunning. Even when he put his hand down on the second jump of his quadruple-triple combination, it didn’t hurt his score much.

Afterward, Uno sent a warning to his competitors: “I will add more complicated and difficult jumps in my free skating.”

Conspicuously missing from those top competitors was the two-time defending Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu, one of Chen’s top rivals, and the man who held the previous short-program world record. Hanyu, in a sparkly outfit studded with crystals, finished a distant eighth on Tuesday, 18.82 points behind Chen. A hole in the ice was to blame, he said.

Hanyu opened his program by bailing out of a quadruple salchow. The crowd gasped.

“That was some accident but it’s OK,” he said, explaining that there was a divot in the ice from what was perhaps another skater’s toe pick. “I have one more chance. I have lots of time with the music and many jumps in there, so I can be my best.”

Hanyu bounced back quickly to land a quadruple, triple-jump combination and a triple axel during the kind of artistically beautiful performance for which he is known. But the missed quad, which earned zero points, cost him. He is so far behind Chen and the other leaders that it will be a long shot for him to win any medal.

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