Nathan Chen got a near-perfect 113.97 score in his short program at the Beijing Olympics on Tuesday, shattering the previous world record and putting himself in good position to win gold. Chen, 22, fared poorly in the short program at the 2018 Olympics, coming in fifth due only to his winning long program performance. He is now nearly 20 points ahead of longtime rival Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan, who gave a shaky performance Tuesday, abandoning his first quadruple flip seconds into the short program performance.
Chen, on the other hand, "opened with a perfect quad flip, breezed through a triple axel that sometimes causes him problems, then drilled his quad flip-triple toe loop combination to leave most of the crowd in awe," The Associated Press reports. You can watch the full performane at NBC Sports.
"I was just elated," Chen said afterwards. "At the last Olympics, both of the short programs didn't go the way I wanted. To finally get an opportunity to skate the programs I wanted feels really good."
Instead of Hanyu, who won gold at the last two Olympics, Chen's main competition is now from Hanyu's teammates Yuma Kagiyama and reigning silver medalist Shoma Uno. Chen's medal status will be determined after Thursday's long program.