February 17, 2018 / 4:33 AM / 8 months ago

Chen leads after historic performance, Hanyu, Fernandez still to skate

GANGNEUNG, South Korea (Reuters) - Quadruple jump specialist Nathan Chen rebounded from a terrible short program with a historic free skate on Saturday that put him in the lead of the men’s singles competition, with top contenders Yuzuru Hanyu and Javier Fernandez left to skate.

Figure Skating – Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics – Men Single Skating short program competition – Gangneung Ice Arena - Gangneung, South Korea – February 16, 2018 - Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan performs. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

The 18-year-old American became the first skater to land six quads at the Olympics to earn 215.08 points, nearly 11 more than his personal best, to give him a combined total of 297.35.

“I think that after having such a disastrous short program and being so, so low in the rankings, lower than almost ever, it allowed me to completely forget about results and just completely focus on enjoying myself out on the ice,” said Chen, who won bronze with the U.S. in the team event.

Defending Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu blew away the competition in the short program on Friday, finishing with a four-point lead over Spain’s Javier Fernandez, a six-time European champion.

Reporting by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber, Elaine Lies, Soyoung Kim; Editing by Greg Stutchbury

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