Team USA figure skater Nathan Chen competes in the men’s single skating short program of the team event at the 2022 Winter Games on Friday in Beijing. Photo by How Hwee Young/EPA-EFE
Feb. 4 (UPI) — Figure skater Nathan Chen, an individual gold medal favorite, logged a season-best score in the men’s short program to give Team USA an early edge in the team competition at the 2022 Winter Games on Friday in Beijing.
Chen landed a sequence of quads and a triple axel as part of his clean routine on the ice at Capital Indoor Stadium. His score of 111.71 topped Japan’s Shoma Uno (105.46) and Russian Mark Kondratiuk (95.81).
“I’m just here to have fun,” Chen said on the NBC broadcast. “I was able to do that, so I’m very happy.
Americans Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue followed with a top score of 86.56 in the ice dance, rhythm dance event. That score edged duos from Russia and Italy in the Top 3.
Americans Brandon Frazier and Alexa Knierim posted a 75 in the pair skating short program, which placed third. China’s Cong Han and Wenjing Sui logged an 82.83 for first place in that event. Russians Aleksandr Galliamov and Anastasia Mishina placed second.
The Americans totaled 28 points through the initial trio of team competition events. The competition resumes with the women’s short program Sunday in Beijing. Team USA won bronze in the last two team competitions at the Winter Games.
Russian athletes totaled the second-best team score, with 26 points. China logged 21 points for third place.
“We certainly have a very strong team. That’s the thing about us and the amazing thing about a team event,” Chen said. “We can all rely on each other.”
The team competition features 10 nations, which place athletes in four disciplines. Each country enters one woman, a man, a set of ice dancers and a pairs team. The entrants performs two routines apiece. The first-place finisher in each event receives 10 points, followed by nine points for second place and eight points for third.
The Top 5 scoring countries after the first round of competition advance to a free skate event on Monday. The team awarded the most points through all events wins gold.
The Russians were favored to win gold in the team event.
The women’s single skating short program team event airs at 8:30 p.m. EST Saturday on NBC. The mens’ free skate team competition is expected to air at 11 p.m. Saturday on the same network.
More team competition figure skating events air late Sunday on NBC.
Performers create a display with LED lights at the Olympic Opening Ceremony in National Stadium at the Beijing Winter Olympics on February 4, 2022. Photo by Paul Hanna/UPI | License Photo
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