Moscow / Russia

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USA’s Nathan Chen held on to his lead following the Short Program to beat Olympic champion Yuzuzu Hanyu, of Japan, for the gold medal as the ISU Grand Prix Rostelecom Cup continued with the Men’s Free Skating on Saturday in Moscow. The bronze went to Russian champion Mikhail Kolyada.

Performing to “Mao’s Last Dancer”, Chen hit a quad Lutz-triple toe, quad flip, quad Salchow and quad toe-triple toe-double toe, but stepped out of a triple Axel and popped a toeloop.

The Four Continents champion scored a season’s-best 193.25 points to finish second in the Free Skating but his total score of 293.75 points was enough to hold off Hanyu.

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“The beginning half of my program I was very happy with,” the 18-year-old U.S. champion said. “I hit all the quads and I think I did them relatively well. I got a little tired halfway through the program and started faltering a little bit on the second quad toe – that was a big mistake. I can’t let things like that happen in the future. But this is my first Grand Prix win and I’m very happy with that.”

Hanyu opened his program to “Seimei” with his first quadruple Lutz in competition and reeled off a quad Salchow, quad toe-triple toe as well as two triple Axels. However, he tripled his planned quad loop and popped a planned quad toeloop into a double. The two-time and reigning world champion earned a season’s-best 195.92 points and for an overall total of 290.77.

“The most important thing is for me to rotate each jump, each combination. That made the three points difference. I realized once again how important it is to practise each element and to perform each element with care”, Hanyu said.

Kolyada produced a quad-triple toe combination and four clean triples in his Elvis Presley routine, but missed two quads and a triple Lutz. Nevertheless, the European bronze medallist achieved a season’s best with 185.27 points and pulled up from fourth to take his first Grand Prix medal with 271.06 points.

“I fulfilled the minimum today – I did not pop anything. There were mistakes and I relaxed too much on the last jump, but overall I enjoyed performing and I hope I was able to transmit the energy to the crowd,” the 22-year-old from St Petersburg said.

Misha Ge (UZB) produced a clean performance with two triple Axels and six triples to finish fourth (255.33 points). Moris Kvitelashvili (GEO) moved up from eighth to fifth on 250.26 points while Dmitri Aliev (RUS) slipped from third to sixth following some errors (239.61 points).

The ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating series consists of six events and culminates in the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final in Nagoya, Japan, in December. The top six skaters/couples in each discipline qualify for the final. The global prize money for the Grand Prix is US$ 272,000.

Full entry lists and results of the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating 2017/18 are available here. Follow the discussion on social media by using #GPFigure #FigureSkating.