Chen, who was born and raised in Salt Lake City, set the world record in the short program with a score of 113.97, more than two points ahead of Yuzuru Hanyu’s former world record score of 111.82, set in 2020.
Chen skated with fire and intensity in his eyes.
He knew his program was great right when it ended, pumping his fist.
“I was elated. Last Olympics, both short programs didn’t go the way I wanted. Finally getting the opportunity to skate the programs in the way that I wanted, it feels really great. It means a lot,” Chen told NBC after his skate.
He sits in first place entering his final event, the men’s individual free skate, which will be held on Wednesday.
“Every opportunity that I get at competitors is one that I should be grateful for, especially the Olympics — that’s a completely different story,” Chen said. “I’m just really happy to be here.”
Chen performed the same short program that he performed in the team event, skating to opera “La Bohème.”
His two-minute, 40-second skate had seven elements — a quadruple flip, a triple axel, a change foot camel spin, a quadruple lutz followed by a triple toeloop, a step sequence, a flying sit spin and a change foot combination spin.
Every element was virtually flawless, including his quadruple lutz — the hardest jump in figure skating.
It was redemption for Chen, who finished 17th in the short program four years ago at the 2018 Olympics.