Nathan Chen is back with a vengeance. After a less-than-perfect Olympic Games experience the American showed what he is made of at the World Championships in Milan landing all his jumps to take the lead after the short programme with 101.94 points. He is 1.76 points ahead of Russian Mikhail Kolyada with fellow-American Vincent Zhou in third place.
Two-time Olympic gold medallist and defending champion Yuzuru Hanyu (Japan) had to withdraw from the worlds with an ankle injury, PyeongChang bronze medallist Javier Fernandez from Spain also pulled out.
A quick study
Chen proved at the Mediolanum Forum he has learned his lessons from a disheartening PyeongChang experience. This time he nailed a quadruple-Lutz-triple toe loop combination, a quadruple flip and a triple Axel. It was exactly the opposite in Korea as his short programme was coming apart at the seams with that same opening combination.
The 18-year-old is hoping to become the youngest men’s world champion since Yefgeny Plushenko in 2001.
Chen attributed his success this time round to a different mental approach. “I learned a lot from the Olympics, and I used what I learned there heading into the short programme in terms of where to place my mind, what to think about throughout the programme,” he admitted to NBC. “It was great to have an opportunity to come back before the end of the season to try the short programme again.”
PyeongChang silver medallist Shoma Uno didn’t manage to skate a clean programme as he was competing with ankle problems. He struggled with jumps and is only in fifth before the free skate.
The Japanese suffered an injury scare on Tuesday evening when he had to leave the training rink after a few minutes. He had to be carried to the bus on the back of a Team Japan staff member, his ankle wrapped in an ice pack.
— ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2018 (@Milano_2018) March 22, 2018