Olympic figure skating officially kicked off at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics at the Capital Indoor Stadium three events, as Team USA came out on top overall after the men’s short program, pairs short and rhythm dance.
Team USA got off to a hot start in the events as Nathan Chen recorded a personal best of 111.71 in the men’s short program, just .11 from the world record. The 22-year-old Chen is USA’s best chance to get on the medal podium next week in the men’s individual event.
Chen opened with his quad flip, followed by a triple Axel and quad Lutz-triple toe loop combination on the way to hitting all of his jumps.
Japan’s Shoma Uno placed second with a score of 105.46, and the ROC’s Mark Kondratiuk came third with 95.81.
Team USA built off Chen’s victory with another in the rhythm dance, where Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue topped the competition with a score of 85.56. The pair were almost overtaken by the ROC, but Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov fell short with a score of 85.06, placing second.
The U.S. finally fell from first in the pairs short program as Brandon Frazier and Alexa Knierim finished third with 75.0.
The Americans were leading until Han Cong and Sui Wenjing of China scored an 82.83. Second place was then stolen by the ROC, who leapfrogged USA with a score of 82.64.
Despite the loss, Team USA leads the team event with 28 points, followed by the ROC and China with 26 and 21 respectively.
The Americans will look to extend the lead on Saturday, when the women’s short program and men’s free skate begins at 8:30 p.m. ET.