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Olympics-Figure Skating-American "Rocket Man" Chen Soars to Gold

INTERNATIONAL: American Nathan Chen has achieved a spectacular redemption when he claimed the men's figure skating title in dazzling fashion at the Beijing Olympics, completing a four-year journey to the exhilarating tunes of Elton John on Thursday.

The 22-year-old, who left empty-handed after a meltdown in Pyeongchang in 2018, stood by the edge of the rink to soak up the atmosphere during warm-up and then skated carefreely to "Rocket Man" to add to his world record in the short programme for a total of 332.60. Yuma Kagiyama , with 310.05 was second and fellow Japanese Shoma Uno , with 293.00 ended up third.

All the attention was on the Japanese Yuzuru Hanyu, who was hoping to win the event for the third time in a row, has finished fourth on 283.21 after the Japanese great has dropped out of title contention in the short programme.

Wearing an orange and purple top decorated with stars in space in a nod to his medley of Elton John songs, Chen has displayed power, grace and precision, effortlessly landing his quadruple jumps as he has triggered some rare cheering from a usually near-silent crowd.

Chen, coming into the Olympics having been defeated only once since his Pyeongchang setback, at last year's Skate America,has delivered a masterclass to become the first American to win the men's title since Evan Lysacek in Vancouver in 2010.

Kagiyama, Uno and Hanyu have watched in awe as Japan's double Olympic champion knew he would have to make way for Chen, who exited the ice showing unusual signs of jubilation.

Chen's smile and gesture brought a welcome respite in an otherwise tense atmosphere at the Capital Indoor Stadium where the buzz was centred on day-old reports, that Russian Kamila Valieva, the 15-year-old gold medal favourite in the women's competition - had tested positive for a banned drug.



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