U.S. skater Nathan Chen scrapes into victory at first Grand Prix event

By Emily Pacenti  |  Oct. 21, 2017 at 10:46 AM
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Oct. 21 (UPI) -- Team USA figure skater Nathan Chen won the gold medal Saturday morning at the Rostelecom Cup in Moscow, barely scraping ahead of reigning Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan.

In a tight race with minor mistakes by both skaters, Chen,18, best Hanyu by just 3.02 points. While both skaters managed to avoid falling, they struggled to stay on their feet at times.

Chen's overall score was 293.79, just ahead of Hanyu's 290.77.

Chen received an invalidated element for an under-rotated jump element. Hanyu popped a quadruple toe loop into a double, downgrading the base value significantly.

Both skaters walked away with scores below their usual standard, but with plenty of small victories in tow. Hanyu landed a quadruple lutz for the first time in competition in Saturday's free skate, showing he is capable of competing with four different quadruple jumps, in comparison to Chen's five. Chen landed four total quads in Saturday's competition.

While Hanyu led in the free skate, the six-point lead Chen took in the short program carried him to gold. This gave the Olympic champion his second silver medal of the season and Chen his second gold.

Hanyu also took second to Javier Fernandez of Spain last month at the Autumn Classic International and Chen took first at the U.S. International Figure Skating Classic.

The two top skaters are no strangers to trading wins and are both nearly permanent members of the podium. Fans are anxious to see how the two will battle it out at the Olympic games in February and upcoming competitions.

The Rostelecom Cup continues with the ladies free skate and pairs free skate. The Grand Prix Series will move forward with Skate Canada on Friday.

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