Figure skating: Nathan Chen leads Olympic champ Yuzuru Hanyu in Grand Prix opening

By Emily Pacenti  |  Oct. 20, 2017 at 2:40 PM
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Oct. 20 (UPI) -- U.S. figure skater Nathan Chen finished ahead of reigning Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan Friday in the opening event of the 2017 Grand Prix Series, the Rostelecom Cup.

Team USA's Nathan Chen, 18, came in first place, leading second-place Yuzuru Hanyu, 22, by almost 6 points in the men's singles event in Moscow.

Last month, at the Autumn Classic International, Hanyu set a new world record with the same short program he performed Friday. However, with the fierce competition in Moscow, a few mistakes was enough for Chen to take the lead, making him the only skater to break the 100-point mark in the men's short program.

The two spent much of last season trading wins. With Hanyu's victory at the 2016 Grand Prix Finals and Chen's win at the Four Continents Championship, the two are neck and neck. Both are top contenders to win Olympic gold at the upcoming Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

In Friday's event, Yuzuru's overall score was 94.85, far below his usual standard, with 49.24 points for technical elements and 46.61 for presentation. He received a 1-point mandatory deduction for a fall on a triple toe loop.

Chen achieved an overall score of 100.54, with 57.57 points for technical elements and 42.97 points for presentation. He received no mandatory deductions.

They compete again Saturday in the free skate, which begins at 6:30 a.m. ET.

The Grand Prix Series continues Oct. 27 with Skate Canada.

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