Chen wins fourth straight gold at Skate America in Las Vegas

Chen wins fourth straight gold at Skate America in Las Vegas

American Nathan Chen performs his gold medal winning routine in the free skate program during the ISU Skate America competition at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada
American Nathan Chen performs his gold medal winning routine in the free skate program during the ISU Skate America competition at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada

LOS ANGELES - Nathan Chen captured his fourth consecutive ISU Skate America title on Saturday, easily beating a depleted field in Las Vegas that was limited to United States-based athletes because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The reigning men's singles world champion scored 299.15 points to beat out Palo Alto's Vincent Zhou, who finished with 275.10 points.

Keegan Messing, who lives in Alaska but has dual US-Canadian citizenship, placed third at 266.42 points.

There were no fans in attendance at the Orleans Arena, just off the Vegas strip. Strict health and safety guidelines were in place and just a handful of overseas skaters took part because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Chen said afterwards that he was not happy with his free skate performance despite beating the domestic field by a wide margin.

"I made quite a few big mistakes," he said. "Things that I shouldn't have made mistakes on, but it is what it is. I'll move forward from here."

Skating to music by Philip Glass in the free skate, Chen turned a planned quadruple Salchow into a double. After completing three quadruple jumps, his final jump was a triple axel.

Chen hasn't lost a competition since finishing fifth at the PyeongChang Olympics in 2018.

"At the end of the day, I know what my job is and I know what I want to accomplish," he said. "With these mistakes... I have things to focus on moving forward."

Former world junior champion Tomoki Hiwatashi finished fourth and 15-year-old Ilia Malinin was fifth in his Grand Prix debut.

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