Nathan Chen overtakes Yuzuru Hanyu for world title with five quads

Nathan Chen
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American Nathan Chen rallied past Japanese megastar Yuzuru Hanyu for the figure skating world title with a masterful five-quadruple jump free skate in Stockholm on Saturday.

Chen, undefeated since placing fifth at the 2018 Olympics, cemented his favorite status for the 2022 Winter Games by overcoming an 8.13-point deficit from Thursday’s short program.

“I wouldn’t necessarily say this was my best free program ever, but it’s definitely one that I’ll remember forever,” he said. “I was in a position where, in theory, I can come back, but realistically I know these guys are going to lay down [strong programs].”

They didn’t come close to matching Chen. He totaled 320.88 points to prevail by 29.11 over another skater from Japan, 17-year-old Yuma Kagiyama, becoming the second man to three-peat as world champion in the last 20 years (after Canadian Patrick Chan).

A flawed Hanyu took bronze, another 2.59 back, after topping the short program. It’s his lowest finish in any competition since November 2014.

Worlds conclude later Saturday with the free dance.

FIGURE SKATING WORLDS: Results | TV, Stream Schedule

Chen, after falling on a quad Lutz to open his short program, began his free skate by nailing the same jump. He then rattled off four more quads — flip, Salchow, toe loop and toe loop, all with strong grades of execution. He put out the score to beat, which Hanyu could not sniff with four quads in his free skate 16 minutes later.

“This is the best I’ve ever seen Nathan Chen,” NBC Sports analyst Johnny Weir said of a man who similarly battled back in the 2018 Olympics with a six-quad free skate to move up from 17th to fifth (under different rules that made six quads more doable).

Hanyu, after a flawless short program, erred on his first three jumping passes — putting a hand down on a quad Loop, stumbling out of a quad Salchow and landing low on a triple Axel — and was fourth in the free skate.

“It was very exhausting, and it was like I was losing my balance one by one, but I tried to make sure that I don’t fall,” Hanyu said, according to the International Skating Union. “Overall, I wasn’t feeling that bad. And in the practice, it wasn’t that bad either. But all of a sudden going into my program, my balance started to crumble.”

He lost all three head-to-heads with Chen since the 2018 Olympics. None were close — margins of 43.87, 31.7 and 22.45. No man has won three consecutive Olympic titles in 90 years.

Hanyu spoke last year about lacking the motivation to skate on. After the bronze, he said he wanted to continue training a quad Axel, which no man has landed in competition. It could help him close the gap to Chen.

Kagiyama, the 2020 Youth Olympic champion, became the youngest men’s singles medalist since Hanyu in 2012, doing so in his senior worlds debut. Kagiyama, second after the short program, landed three quads in his free skate.

Kagiyama, coached by his father, an Olympian in 1992 and 1994, continued an ascent. He was the 2020 World junior silver medalist and took third at December’s Japanese Nationals behind Hanyu and Olympic silver medalist Shoma Uno (who was fourth at worlds).

Chen is only 21, but he’s now facing challengers who see him as a role medal.

“I am not at his level yet, but I hope one day to be able to compete alongside him as an equal,” Kagiyama said last March, according to

Jason Brown, the other American to qualify for the 24-man free skate, was seventh as the top finisher without a fully rotated quadruple jump. Brown landed an under-rotated quad to open his free skate and kept his standing from the short program.

“I gave it all I got,” a smiling Brown, who has skated on the top senior international level since 2013, told coach Tracy Wilson as he left the ice.

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2023 World Figure Skating Championships results


2023 World Figure Skating Championships in Saitama, Japan, top 10 and notable results …

Women (Short Program)
1. Kaori Sakamoto (JPN) — 79.24
2. Lee Hae-In (KOR) — 73.62
3. Mai Mihara (JPN) — 73.46
4. Isabeau Levito (USA) — 73.03
5. Loena Hendrickx (BEL) — 71.94
6. Niina Petrokina (EST) — 68.00
7. Nicole Schott (GER) — 67.29
8. Bradie Tennell (USA) — 66.45
9. Ekaterina Kurakova (POL) — 65.69
10. Amber Glenn (USA) — 65.52

Men (Short Program)
1. Shoma Uno (JPN) — 104.63
2. Ilia Malinin (USA) — 100.38
3. Cha Jun-Hwan (KOR) — 99.64
4. Keegan Messing (CAN) — 98.75
5. Kevin Aymoz (FRA) — 95.56
6. Jason Brown (USA) — 94.17
7. Kazuki Tomono (JPN) — 92.68
8. Daniel Grassl (ITA) — 86.50
9. Lukas Britschgi (SUI) — 86.18
10. Vladimir Litvintsev (AZE) — 82.71
17. Sota Yamamoto (JPN) — 75.48
22. Andrew Torgashev (USA) — 71.41


Gold: Riku Miura/Ryuichi Kihara (JPN) — 222.16
Silver: Alexa Knierim/Brandon Frazier (USA) — 217.48
Bronze: Sara Conti/Niccolo Macii (ITA) — 208.08
4. Deanna Stellato-Dudek/Maxime Deschamps (CAN) — 199.97
5. Emily Chan/Spencer Howe (USA) — 194.73
6. Lia Pereira/Trennt Michaud (CAN) — 193.00
7. Maria Pavlova/Alexei Sviatchenko (HUN) — 190.67
8. Anastasia Golubova/Hektor Giotopoulos Moore (AUS) — 189.47
9. Annika Hocke/Robert Kunkel (GER) — 184.60
10. Alisa Efimova/Ruben Blommaert (GER) — 184.46
12. Ellie Kam/Danny O’Shea (USA) — 175.59

Ice Dance (Rhythm Dance)
1. Madison Chock/Evan Bates (USA) — 91.94
2. Charlene Guignard/Marco Fabbri (ITA) — 88.21
3. Piper Gilles/Paul Poirier (CAN) — 87.34
4. Lilah Fear/Lewis Gibson (GBR) — 86.56
5. Laurence Fournier Beaudry/Nikolaj Soerensen (CAN) — 85.59
6. Caroline Green/Michael Parsons (USA) — 78.74
7. Allison Reed/Saulius Ambrulevicius (LTU) — 78.70
8. Juulia Turkkila/Matthias Versluis (FIN) — 76.97
9. Natalie Taschlerova/Filip Taschler (CZE) — 76.56
10. Christina Carreira/Anthony Ponomarenko (USA) — 75.24
11. Kana Muramoto/Daisuke Takahashi (JPN) — 72.92

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2023 World Figure Skating Championships TV, live stream schedule


The world figure skating championships from Saitama, Japan, air live on USA Network and Peacock this week.

The U.S. has medal contenders in all four disciplines, one year after winning a medal in all four events for the first time since 1967 (note Russia’s ban, and China sent no skaters).

In the pairs’ event that starts Tuesday night (U.S. time), Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier can become the first U.S. duo to win multiple world titles, one year after becoming the first American pair to take gold since 1979.

They rank second in the world this season behind Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara, last year’s silver medalists who look to earn Japan’s first pairs’ world title.

Japan has the world’s top two women’s singles skaters in reigning world champion Kaori Sakamoto and Grand Prix Final winner Mai Mihara.

Isabeau Levito, a 16-year-old American who won last year’s world junior title, ranks fourth in the field by best score this season. She can become the youngest world medalist since 2014.

Ilia Malinin, an 18-year-old American who this season became the first skater to land a quadruple Axel, is seeded second in the men’s field behind Shoma Uno, the reigning world champion from Japan.

In ice dance, Americans Madison Chock and Evan Bates posted the world’s top score this season at last month’s Four Continents Championships in Colorado Springs. After 12 seasons together, their goal is to win their first world title after silver in 2015, bronze in 2016 and bronze in 2022.

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2023 World Figure Skating Championships Broadcast Schedule

Day Competition Time (ET) Network
Tuesday Pairs’ Short 10 p.m.-2 a.m. Peacock | LIVE STREAM | Skate Order
Wednesday Women’s Short 2:45-8 a.m. Peacock | LIVE STREAM | Skate Order
Women’s Short 6-8 a.m. USA | LIVE STREAM | Peacock
Pairs’ Free 10 p.m.-2 a.m. Peacock | LIVE STREAM | Skate Order
Thursday Men’s Short 2:45-8 a.m. Peacock | LIVE STREAM | Skate Order
Men’s Short 6-8 a.m. USA | LIVE STREAM | Peacock
Pairs’ Free 8-10 a.m.* USA | STREAM LINK
Rhythm Dance 10 p.m.-3:30 a.m. Peacock | LIVE STREAM | Skate Order
Friday Women’s Free 4:15-8:30 a.m. Peacock | LIVE STREAM | Skate Order
Women’s Free 6:30-8:30 a.m. USA | LIVE STREAM | Peacock
Free Dance 11:30 p.m.-3 a.m. Peacock | LIVE STREAM | Skate Order
Saturday Men’s Free 4:15-8:30 a.m. Peacock | LIVE STREAM | Skate Order
Men’s Free 6:30-8:30 a.m. USA | LIVE STREAM | Peacock
Highlights 8-10 p.m.* NBC | STREAM LINK

*Delayed broadcast.