KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) Nathan Chen stamped himself as an Olympic medalist contender, connecting on a pair of quads and slaying the competition with a short program record score of 106.39 at the U.S. figure skating championships on Friday night.
The 17-year-old Chen delivered a stunning performance that seemed to defy gravity and had the Sprint Center crowd clapping along with his routine and earned him the only standing ovation of the night.
Chen scored nearly 20 points higher than his closest competitor, Ross Miner, and would need a complete collapse Sunday not to walk out of Kansas City with a gold medal.
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Chen could deliver the boost the flagging men's program needs headed into next year's Winter Games in South Korea. Chen hit his quadruple lutz triple toe loop combination, a quadruple flip, a triple axel and his entertaining footwork was about as fancy and flawless as it could get.