Defending World Champion Nathan Chen (USA) dominated in the Men’s Short Program as the ISU World Figure Skating Championships continued Thursday in Saitama (JPN). Teammate Jason Brown (USA) came second while two-time Olympic Champion Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN) is currently ranked third.
Nathan Chen (USA) at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2019©International Skating Union (ISU)
Skating last, Chen hit a quadruple Lutz, a triple Axel and a quad-triple toeloop combination. The ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final Champion collected a level four for his spins and footwork and achieved a season’s best score of 107.40 points. “For the quad Lutz, I felt okay going up in the air, in the air, felt great and coming down, I just completely lost my foot, but somehow managed to pull it out, and I was really happy about that. It is always a pleasure to skate in Japan with this amazing crowd, it’s such a huge crowd so that energy, I think all of the skaters really feel, and I always have a great time competing with the best of the best here at Worlds so I’m really looking forward to another long program,” the 19-year-old commented.
Brown opened his program to “Love Is a Bitch” by Two Feet with a triple flip and followed up with a triple Axel and a triple Lutz-triple toeloop combination as well as with excellent spins. The 2018 ISU Four Continents bronze medalist scored 96.81 points, a new season’s best. “Obviously every time I competed, I loved performing in Japan and perform for these Japanese audiences. It is something I cherish and not what I take for granted. Today I got out there and I wanted to give them a show,” the American skater said. “I am so focused right now and staying in the moment working on the things that we were working at home, so for my free skating, I have the same goals that I had before. I just want to give it a try and I would like to put out another personal best. I’ve been training and working a lot so all I got to do is to put it out there,” he added.
Hanyu had a shaky start into his program to “Otonal” by Raul di Blasio when he doubled the planned quad Salchow. The two-time ISU World Figure Skating Champion rallied back to produce a triple Axel, quad toe-triple toe combination as well as level-four spins and footwork. “After I missed my first jump, my mind went blind. I guess I was a bit rushed for the first jump, and put myself up too much today. Now I feel frustrated with my performance,” the 24-year-old said. “I would like to utilize tomorrow very wisely to prepare myself for free program on the day after tomorrow. I have a lot of experience in this type of environment despite not competing for last few months, and I am not happy about the fact I couldn't perform at my best for short program. What I can do from here is to fix my mistakes and to rest well,” he continued.
Vincent Zhou (USA) at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2019©International Skating Union (ISU)
2019 Four Continents bronze medalist Vincent Zhou (USA) nailed a quadruple Lutz-triple toeloop combination and finished fourth on 94.17 points, just edged out of the top three. Matteo Rizzo (ITA) is not far behind in fifth with 93.37 points. 2018 Olympic and World silver medalist Shoma Uno (JPN) came sixth after falling on an underrotated quad flip (91.40 points).
The Men’s event will conclude with the Free Skating on Saturday. The ISU World Figure Skating Championships continue Friday with the Rhythm Dance and the Ladies Free Skating.