So far, so good for Salt Lake City native Nathan Chen at the 2022 Winter Olympics.
Skating in the short program at the team event, Chen finished in first place with a score of 111.71, 6.25 points higher than the second-place finisher, Shoma Uno of Japan. Mark Kondratiuk of the Russian Olympic Committee took third.
Chen’s 111.71-point performance in the short program is the highest score in an Olympic short program, and was just 0.11 points short of the short program world record, set by Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu at the ISU Four Continents Championships in 2020.
The Salt Lake City native’s short program included a quad flip and a quad lutz triple toe. The latter earned him 20.72 points.
It was a pretty much flawless performance from Chen, who has been the best figure skater in the world since finishing fifth in the 2018 Olympics.
“Last Olympics, I was three senior international (tournaments) in, I hadn’t really competed internationally, so just a large lack of experience,” Chen told NBC after his short program. “I’m really happy to be here, very excited to be here and surrounded by amazing teammates.”
Chen’s short program was skated to the opera “La Bohème” and it was the same program that he performed at 2022 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, where he won gold.
Chen earned 10 points for Team USA with his first-place finish. The figure skating team event is held over three days, and includes the men’s short program, rhythm dance, pairs short program, women’s short program, men’s free skate, pairs free skate, free dance and women’s free skate.
The team event is separate from individual competition. Chen will also compete in the men’s singles short program on Feb. 7 and the men’s singles free skate on Feb. 9.