(Reuters) – Teenage prodigy Nathan Chen became the first skater to land five quads in a single programme as he claimed his first national title at the U.S. figure skating championships on Sunday in Kansas City, Missouri.
The 17-year-old, the silver medallist behind Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan at last month’s Grand Prix Final in Marseille, posted an overall score of 318.47 to become the youngest U.S. men’s champion since 1966.
Chen, who grew up in Salt Lake City and trains in Southern California, set a record score of 106.39 in the short programme before following up with a record free skate total of 212.08 to leave his closest rivals trailing in his wake. “It was amazing,” Chen told reporters about his sensational accomplishment in landing five quads. “That’s something I’ve been training for, something that I’ve been working towards.
“I didn’t want to put it out there just yet because it’s been not so consistent in practice, but it’s something that I’m really proud about.
“There really is no end point. You keep on adding new stuff, keep on adding new things and trying to gain confidence with these big jumps.”
Behind Chen, Vincent Zhou, 16, took silver with a final aggregate of 263.03 while 2014 Olympian Jason Brown claimed bronze (254.23).
(Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in St. Augustine, Florida; Editing by Andrew Both)