Chen sets a world record; history made in ski events | WJHL
BEIJING (AP) — Nathan Chen did flips, twirls and even punches to set a world record in the men’s figure skating short program at the Beijing Olympics.
Next step for the native of Salt Lake City: a long-awaited and long-awaited coronation as Olympic champion.
Chen made history Tuesday at a historic venue, smashing the world record with a score of 113.97 at Capital Indoor Stadium, site of the 1971 diplomatic ping pong matches between the United States and China.
Chen shone on a day when the USA women’s hockey team lost 4-2 to Canada in the preliminary round and San Francisco native Eileen Gu swept up a torrent of hate on social media and won the gold medal in big air freeskiing while representing China.
Dressed in his typical, suave black-and-white suit, Chen performed perhaps his favorite program at La Bohème, French-Armenian singer Charles Aznavour’s 1960s standard. When it was over, he had confidently made up for his poor four-year short program at the Pyeongchang Games.
Opening with a perfect quad flip, Chen, 22, crossed his often frustrating triple axel, then drilled his quad flip-triple toe loop combination. He skated to a stop and, in a rare show of emotion, punched the air with his right fist.
“I was just thrilled,” Chen said. “At the last Olympics, the two short programs didn’t go the way I wanted. Finally having the opportunity to skate the programs I wanted is really good.
Chen’s score was nearly two points higher than the previous world record set by reigning two-time Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu. To win the gold medal, Chen must hold off Japanese rivals Yuma Kagiyama and Shoma Uno in Thursday’s free skate. Hanyu finished eighth on Tuesday.
LIBERATED FREESTYLE SKIER
American-born Eileen Gu fired back at her many critics by winning gold in her big air freeskiing debut, then defiantly answering questions about why she rejected the American team to represent China at the Beijing Games.
Gu, 18, is an American citizen whose mother is Chinese. Gu estimates that she has spent at least a quarter of her life in China. She sided with China in 2019, saying she wants to encourage girls and women to take up winter sports.
“If people don’t believe me, if people don’t like me, then it’s their loss,” Gu said. “They will never win the Olympics.”
China does not allow dual nationality. It is unclear whether Gu, who plans to go to Stanford, has given up his US passport.
What is clear is that Gu turned in the best performance of his life at Big Air Shougang, where the ski resort is set among the towering cooling towers and chimneys of a closed steel mill. She landed a double cork 1620 for the first time in her career on her final corner to stun Tess Ledeux of France. It is a move in which skiers spin 4 1/2 times while spinning twice off-axis while about 20 feet in the air.
“I want all girls to break their boundaries,” she said in Chinese, through an interpreter. “I want them to think if Eileen can do it, I can do it.”
While saying through an interpreter that Gu is an “incredible athlete” who is “extremely competitive”, Ledeux scolded that her rival “got lucky” because she was training at Big Air Shougang. for weeks, an advantage to compete for the host country.
Gu had none of that either.
“I’m not trying to keep everyone happy,” Gu replied. “I am an 18 year old girl living my best life. Like, I’m having a good time.
Tennis player Peng Shuai, who has rarely come forward publicly since accusing a Chinese official of sexual assault, was in the stands.
MAYER IS NOW A DREIFACH-OLYMPIASIEGER
Austria’s Matthias Mayer overcame one of his sticks stuck in the starting house to win the men’s super-G and become the first man to win gold medals in alpine skiing at three consecutive Olympics. Back home, he would be known as the “Dreifach-Olympiasieger”, or three-time Olympic champion. He also won the super-G at the Pyeongchang Games in 2018 and the downhill at the Sochi Olympics in 2014.
Mayer won the downhill bronze on Monday. His father, Helmut, won the first Olympic super-G silver medal at the 1988 Games in Calgary.
Ryan Cochran-Siegle of the United States won silver in the super-G almost 50 years to the day after his mother, Barbara Ann, won gold in the slalom at the 1972 Sapporo Games.
Natalie Geisenberger of Germany became the first three-time Olympic women’s luge champion by dominating the competition at Yanqing Sliding Center.
Jonna Sundling won the women’s cross country sprint title, helping Sweden take the gold medal lead with four.
Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo defended his Olympic sprint title for Norway, which is tied for second in gold with three.
Maja Dahlqvist of Sweden won silver and Jessie Diggins of the US, bronze in the women’s competition.
A FIRST IN ITALY
Amos Mosaner and Stefania Constantini of Italy beat Sweden 8-1 in mixed doubles, giving Italy its first Olympic medal in curling. They completed an unbeaten streak and prepared to defend their title at home four years from now in Milan-Cortina.
Barring a major upset, women’s hockey powerhouses Canada and the United States are set to square off for the women’s hockey gold medal final next week.
So when defending Olympic champions USA were beaten 4-2 by their biggest rival, it was largely academic, even though it gave Canada the first seed going into the playoff round.
Canada rebounded from a one-goal deficit by scoring three goals in 5 minutes and 25 seconds in the second period. Brianne Jenner scored twice for the Canadians.
“It’s a good hockey team. They’re going to make plays, but I think we responded really well tonight,” Jenner said.
USA coach Joel Johnson said Americans need to be able to withstand changes in momentum, a lesson they need to learn ahead of the expected gold medal showdown.
“I thought we had all the momentum, and all of a sudden we kind of forgot about our situation,” Johnson said of Canada’s second-half push.
Canada (4-0) and the United States (3-1) were fierce rivals before women’s hockey made its Olympic debut at the 1998 Nagano Games, when the Americans beat the Canadians in the game to the gold medal. Canada won gold at the next four Olympics before losing 3-2 to the Americans in 2018.