BEIJING (AP) — Nathan Chen completed his four-year journey toward an elusive Olympic gold medal Thursday, following his record short program at the Beijing Games with a near-perfect free skate that earned him a standing ovation from supporters inside historic Capital Indoor Stadium.
The 22-year-old star landed all five of his quads during his “Rocketman” program, set to the soaring film score by Elton John, to finish with 332.60 points — just three off his own world record — and become the first American champion since Evan Lysacek stood on the top of the podium in 2010 in Vancouver.
Chen’s score easily outdistanced his two closest pursuers, Yuma Kagiyama and Shoma Uno of Japan, and put firmly in the past any lingering memories of his brutal disappointment four years ago in Pyeongchang.
It might not be the last gold medal Chen takes home, either.
The Americans, who earned silver behind Russia in the team event Monday, were awaiting confirmation from the IOC and International Skating Union that “legal issues” holding up the medal ceremony were related to reports of doping linked to their biggest star, Kamila Valieva. That could ultimately elevate the U.S. to the top step of the podium.
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