BEIJING (AFP) – Strongly fancied Nathan Chen laid old demons to rest with a blistering start to his Olympics campaign in Beijing yesterday, as the figure skating competition kicked off.
The American scored a personal best to beat Japan’s Shoma Uno into second place in the men’s single short programme of the teams event.
The score of 111.71 was just 0.11 points off the highest score ever for a short programme – which is held by Uno’s compatriot Yuzuru Hanyu.
Chen, who had a disastrous short programme at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics that dashed his hopes of gold, was asked yesterday if he had now banished those bitter memories.
“You learn the most from your mistakes,” the 22-year-old said.
“I don’t think I’d be able to be here where I am now without having had that experience. I think that was a very helpful learning experience.”
The 2018 singles silver medallist Uno, wearing a flaming red shirt, scored 105.46 for his controlled performance to an oboe concerto, also a personal best.
But it was not enough to beat Chen, who was magnetic waltzing across the ice to Charles Aznavour’s La Boheme.
Russia’s European champion, Mark Kondratiuk, was third.
Chen is not getting carried away yet.
“I might not be the most emotive person, but deep down I’m genuinely happy,” he added.