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Nathan Chen wins silver medal at Grand Prix Final

By Gina Capellazzi

Nathan Chen won the silver medal at the ISU Grand Prix Final in Marseille, France, earning two new ISU personal best scores and becoming the highest scoring American male skater in international competition history. 

Skating to “Polovtsian Dances” in the free dance, Chen nailed four quadruple jumps: a Lutz (in combination with triple toe), flip and two quadruple toe loops (one in combination) as well as five triples to win the free skating portion with 197.55 points. His free skate score is now the fourth highest score ever recorded by the ISU. His total score of 282.85 is seventh highest on the all-time list.

“I’m really happy with the result of today. It came as a surprise to me. I wasn’t really expecting to be able to even come out with a medal here. I had a little bit of a disappointing short program but I think that helped me settle my nerves. It gave me a little bit of experience which helped today. It was my first clean long program since last season,” the 17-year-old noted.

Chen finished behind reigning Grand Prix Champion Yuzuru Hanyu, who opened his free skate program with a quadruple loop, followed by a quadruple Salchow and quadruple toeloop. Hanyu also landed two triple Axels, a triple flip, but fell on his second quadruple Salchow and singled a Lutz. He finished third in the free skate with 187.37 points, but remained in his first place in part to his short program score of 106.53. He finished with an overall score of 293.90 to claim his fourth Grand Prix gold medal.

“I feel very disappointed with my long program but the result is good. Figure skating is the total of the short program and the free program and I think I had a really good short here so I’m really happy about that and I think this was a good learning experience. I’ve learned something and gained something and I’ve got my homework to move on with,” the 22-year-old said.

Shoma Uno,  of Japan, who stood in fourth place following the short program, earned a personal best of 195.69 points in his free skate, landing a quad flip, two quad toes and six triples. The 2015 World Junior Champion earned a total score of 282.51 points.

 “I’m pretty happy with my free program. I think I skated quite well yet it was not perfect. I am still young and not very experienced, but with every competition and every experience I make there I can learn and get better preparing in between the events,” the 18-year-old said.

Two-time World Champion Javier Fernandez,  of Spain, who was in third place after the short, slipped to fourth place with an overall score of 268.77.  Three-time World Champion Patrick Chan, of Canada,  slipped from second after the short to finish in fifth place (266.75) and U.S. Champion Adam Rippon finished in sixth (233.10).