By Blythe Lawrence | Dec. 07, 2019, 10 a.m. (ET)

Nathan Chen performs at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final on Dec. 7, 2019 in Turin, Italy.

 

The “Quad King” reigns again.

Nathan Chen’s signature quadruple jumps played a starring role as the reigning men’s figure skating world champion won gold for the third consecutive year at the ISU Grand Prix Final Saturday in Turin, Italy.

Undefeated since finishing fifth in the men’s competition at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, the Olympic team event bronze medalist and “quad king” landed five quads in his free program en route to accumulating 224.92 points.

Chen’s massive difficulty and flawless execution, combined with an emerging artistic presence in his new free program to a medley of Elton John classics, helped him breeze to 335.30 points overall. It was enough to defeat two-time Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan by a whopping 43.87 points in a walkover for the 20-year-old Yale sophomore.

Hanyu, celebrating his 25th birthday on Saturday, attempted five quads of his own in his free skate but stumbled on his combinations and was not able to muster a real challenge. The Japanese star accumulated 194.0 for his free for 291.43 overall to take the silver. France’s Kevin Aymoz finished a distant third with 275.3 after missing a quad toe in the free skate.

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Chen had the jump on Hanyu from the beginning following a brilliant short program Friday to music from “La Boheme” that scored 110.38 points, the highest score any short has received this season. As ever, Chen’s spectacular jumping – in this case, a quad Lutz and quad toe-triple toe combination – put him ahead of Hanyu by 12.95 points, giving him a leg up heading into Saturday’s free. 

Torino is only the second time Chen and Hanyu have competed at the same competition since PyeongChang. The two met at last spring’s world championships in Japan, where Hanyu, bothered by an ankle injury, did not make a strong play for gold. Despite his success, Chen paid tribute to Hanyu following Friday’s short program, calling the Japanese skater “the greatest of all time.”

Long live the king(s).

Blythe Lawrence is a journalist based in Seattle. She has covered two Olympic Games and is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.