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Hanyu dazzles, Shiffrin flops on day of Olympic drama
March 24 2018, 07:54 | Irvin Gilbert
Nathan Chen became the first skater to land six quads in competition on Saturday
The silver medalist, Shoma Uno, had two mistakes on his jumps, but also benefited from a short program performance that propelled him into second place with an otherwise well-executed program set to "Turandot".
His point tally after Saturday's free skating final, stood at 317.85 - nearly 11 points more than his compatriot Shoma Uno, who won silver.
Quadruple jump specialist Nathan Chen rebounded from an error-laden short programme with a historic free skate that put him in the lead before Hanyu, Uno and Fernandez had skated.
Six-time European champion Javier Fernandez of Spain heads the pack chasing after the peerless Hanyu.
Nathan Chen rewrote the story of his PyeongchangWinter Olympics, performing an unprecedented six quad jumps in his free skate and launching himself from 17th place and almost winning a medal in the men's singles competition.
"My injuries were more severe than I thought, but I've been fortunate to make it to the Olympics, and that I'm able to smile now explains what I'm feeling". Chan, who won gold with Canada in the team event, finished ninth overall in his last Olympics.
Chen had been the best American hope for a figure skating gold medal at the Winter Games, becoming the face of not only U.S. Figure Skating but ad campaigns for numerous Olympic sponsors.
In figure skating, Japan's Hanyu topped the men's competition with a thrilling short programme, dispelling fears that an ankle injury which has kept him out of competition since November would dent his title chances.
Nathan Chen spins during his routine on Saturday
Chen - already the only man to have hit seven quads over two programs in the same event - opened with the quad lutz, the most hard and highest-scoring jump. He jumped to second place and held on through Rippon's performance, but as the program went on he fell to sixth.
"I definitely did want to redeem myself after the two short programs", Chen said, also mentioning his weak performance in the team event, in which the USA still managed bronze.
The six quads made history as an Olympic first; they also helped Chen earn a score of 215.08 - a personal best and the highest score of any skater on Saturday.
"I sort of planned it yesterday after I had such a bad short".
Hanyu's screaming fans bombarded the ice with Pooh projectiles after a free skate filled with soaring jumps and soulful skating.
Chen added that he didn't even tell his coach that he was would attempt six quads instead of five, as he had been expected to do. "I had literally nothing to lose, so I chose to just try (six quads). I just chose to go for it".
"Frankly, we both gave a quality performance today, which is not usual", said Hanyu, smiling to the Spanish sitting side by side. "Coming here and skiing the way I did, really conservative, was a huge disappointment".
"They usually say that like, after the Olympic Games, somebody's life changes forever", Rippon said.