Figure skating: American Chen overcomes early stumble to beat error-prone Uno to gold at Grand Prix Finals
8th December 2018

LOS ANGELES (AFP) – Reigning world champion Nathan Chen took advantage of some major errors by Japan’s Shoma Uno to capture the men’s gold at the ISU Grand Prix Figure Skating Finals on Friday (Dec 7).

Chen, who was also first after Thursday’s short programme, picked up earlier grand prix wins at Skate America and Internationaux de France.

Despite a less-than-perfect free skate, he posted a total 282.42 points to beat runner-up Uno who finished with 275.10 at the UBC Thunderbird Sports Centre in Vancouver, Canada.

“I made some mistakes but was able to get back on track after the mistakes,” he said. “I definitely need to bump this up to the next level.”

South Korea’s Cha Jun-hwan finished third with 263.49 points. Czech Michal Brezina (255.26) was fourth and crowd favourite Keegan Messing (236.05) of Canada rounded out the top five.

Chen earned US$25,000 (S$34,250) for finishing first, while Uno collected US$18,000.

Chen bounced back from a disappointing fifth-place finish at the Pyeongchang Olympics to win the world title a month later in Milan by the largest margin in history.

His solid programme on Friday, to Land Of All by Woodkid, included a series of quadruple jumps and a difficult Lutz.

“This is the first (skate) of the long season I have done with more than three quads,” he said. “I mostly wanted to improve on what I already had in the last competition whether it be adding a new jump or cleaning things up.”

Skating to Moonlight Sonata by Vladimir Ashkenazy, Uno slipped up badly on his Salchow, but managed to land a quad flip.

“I can definitely say it was not a good performance,” said the world silver medallist Uno. “It did not go well.”

China’s Jin Yang and Peng Cheng lead after the pairs short programme and American’s Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue placed first in the rhythm dance on Friday.

The competition runs till Sunday and features 24 skaters and couples who have qualified from the half dozen competitions of the ISU grand prix series, comprising Skate America in Everett, Washington; Skate Canada in Laval, Quebec; Grand Prix Helsinki in Finland; NHK Trophy in Hiroshima, Japan; Rostelecom Cup in Moscow, Russia, and Internationaux de France in Grenoble.

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