Nathan Chen is a Rocket Man – and an Olympic champion.
The 22-year-old American earned gold in the men’s singles figure skating competition at the 2022 Winter Games. He clinched the title by receiving a 332.60 total score, giving him a 22.55-point victory over silver-winning Yuma Kagiyama of Japan. Shoma Uno, the 2018 silver medalist, came away with bronze to give Japan a second representative on the podium.
Chen earned a record score of 113.97 in the short program on Monday, giving him a 5.85-point lead over Kagiyama in second place. Kagiyama preceded Chen in the free skate and posted the best score of the day – until Chen took the ice.
Kagiyama was the first skater to exceed 200 points in the free skate, picking up a 201.93 score. With Elton John playing throughout Capital Indoor Stadium, Chen gave the final performance of the event and dominated. Needing a 196.09 score to take the top spot, the judges gave Chen a whopping 218.63 for his free skate.
With the triumph, Chen becomes the seventh American to win men’s singles gold at the Olympics, joining Dick Button (1948, 1952), Hayes Alan Jenkins (1956), David Jenkins (1960), Scott Hamilton (1984), Brian Boitano (1988) and Evan Lysacek (2010).
The gold medal performance in Beijing put his 2018 disappointment far in the rearview. In the PyeongChang Olympics, he placed 17th in the short program, putting him in such a deep hole that even a historic score in the free skate could only land him in fifth place overall.
This year, Chen got things started with a personal best in the short program during the figure skating team event, helping Team USA earn silver. He was even better in the individual competition, recording his unprecedented short program and ending with his incredible free skate.
Japan took spots Nos. 2-4 in the final standings. Yuzuru Hanyu entered Beijing as the two-time defending Olympic gold medalist in men’s singles and finished in fourth place with a total score of 283.21. He had the eighth-best score in the short program before putting together the third-best free skate (188.06).
Jason Brown, Team USA’s other representative in men’s singles, finished in sixth place. He earned the sixth-best score in the short program (97.24) before posting the sixth-best score in the free skate (184.00).
Here are the final results for men’s singles:
- Nathan Chen, United States: 332.60
- Yuma Kagiyama, Japan: 310.05
- Shoma Uno, Japan: 293.00
- Yuzuru Hanyu, Japan: 283.21
- Junhwan Cha, South Korea: 282.38
- Jason Brown, United States: 281.24
- Daniel Grassl, Italy: 278.07
- Evgeni Semenenko, ROC: 274.13
- Jin Boyang, China: 270.43
- Morisi Kvitelashvili, Georgia: 268.62
- Keegan Messing, Canada: 265.61
- Kevin Aymoz, France: 254.80
- Deniss Vasiljevs, Latvia: 252.71
- Adam Siao Him Fa, France: 250.15
- Mark Kondratiuk, ROC, 248.82
- Matteo Rizzo, Italy: 247.53
- Brendan Kerry, Australia: 244.80
- Vladimir Litvintsev, Azerbaijan, 239.19
- Andrei Mozalev, ROC: 233.33
- Konstantin Milyukov, Bulgaria: 222.22
- Nikolaj Majorov, Sweden: 220.78
- Donovan Carrillo, Mexico: 218.13
- Lukas Britschgi, Switzerland: 212.58
- Ivan Shmuratko, Ukraine: 205.76