U.S. figure skater Nathan Chen won his first Olympic gold medal in Beijing on Thursday after skate-dancing and quad-jumping through a technically difficult and visually fun long program set to a medley of Elton John songs from Rocketman. Chen, 22, landed all five quad jumps in his four-minute performance, earning a score of 218.63 and the title, from NBC Sports, of "Quad King." (Watch his entire performance.)
Chen is only the seventh American to win the men's individual skating competitions at the Olympics.
Japan's Yuma Kagiyama won the silver medal and teammate Shoma Uno won the bronze. Japan's Yuzuru Hanyu, Chen's longtime rival, entered Thursday's long program at a significant disadvantage after a poor short progam performance earlier in the week. His plan to make up lost points with a four-and-a-half-rotation quad axel did not work out when he missed the jump.
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Chen did not pump his fists after his gold-winning long program, as he did after his record-setting short program Tuesday. "I almost never do stuff like that, so I was like, 'why'd I do that?'" Chen laughed after Tuesday's performance. "I kind of broke character a little bit there, but just really happy."
After failing to medal at the 2018 Olympics, due to a disastrous short program, Chen won every major international competition he entered for the past three years, including three straight world titles and his sixth national championship. His medal on Thursday gives Team USA three golds and nine medal overall, raising the U.S. to fourth place in the rankings.
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