PYEONCHANG, South Korea (AP) — American men rarely are ground breakers when it comes to quadruple jumps.
Nathan Chen is changing that.
Chen became the first man to land five quadruple jumps in a single performance at an ISU championship to win Four Continents on Sunday.
The American champion, 17, set international-best scores across the board, finishing with 307.46 points while holding off a challenge by Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu, who was first in Sunday’s free skate.
“This feels great,” said Chen. “This is the first (international) championship event that I’ve won. I had a good lead coming out of the short program, which really benefited me in the long program.”
Chen credited China’s Jin Boyang for pushing the younger crop of skaters to expand the envelopes on four-rotation jumps.
“Boyang really started that huge quad craze when we were younger,” Chen said. “We were all struggling to get all our triples and do triple-triples and he was out there doing four quads in a long (program). I think that really motivated all of us junior skaters to start working on these quads and putting them into the programs. It’s really showing up now that we’re senior skaters.”
Chen opened his routine with a quadruple lutz-triple toe loop combination at the Gangneung Ice Arena and followed with four more quads in a free skate that received 204.34 points. After his first jump, he added a quad flip, quad toe, quad toe-double toe and a quad salchow.
“I tried five quads today and I landed three of the five solidly,” Chen said. “The other two were a little shaky, so that’s something I need to improve on for the worlds.”
Hanyu, third after the short program, was second overall with 303.71 points. Shoma Uno, also of Japan, was third with 288.85. Hanyu had four quadruple jumps to top the free skate with 206.67 points.
“This is my third silver medal at the Four Continents and I enjoyed this one the most,” Hanyu said. “I felt the threat posed by Nathan, but he will push me beyond my limit, no doubt about that.”
Patrick Chan of Canada was fourth with 267.98 points.
Jin was fifth, followed by American Jason Brown.