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U.S. figure skater Nathan Chen sparkles in men's short program at Beijing Olympics

USA's Nathan Chen competes in the men's single skating short program of the figure skating event during the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games.
Wang Zhao
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AFP via Getty Images
USA's Nathan Chen competes in the men's single skating short program of the figure skating event during the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games.

BEIJING — A gold medal for U.S. figure skater Nathan Chen looks well within reach, after setting a world record in the men's short program.

Chen came out on top of a talented group of skaters during Tuesday's men's single skate short program at the Beijing Olympics. He and 23 of his competitors will now move on to the men's free skate event on Thursday.

Going into Beijing, Chen was facing immense pressure following his disastrous turn in the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics. During last week's team event, Chen showed signs of what was to come.

Leading up to Chen's performance, the top four skaters from Japan and South Korea executed their own, high-caliber turns around the ice — placing the bar high for the American.

Japan's Yuma Kagiyama competes in the men's single skating short program of the figure skating event during the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games. He came in second place.
Anne-Christine Poujoulat / AFP via Getty Images
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AFP via Getty Images
Japan's Yuma Kagiyama competes in the men's single skating short program of the figure skating event during the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games. He came in second place.

Chen was up to the challenge.

He performed a clean routine, nailing two, effortless-appearing quad jumps. His performance netted a season-high, international best score of 113.97 shooting him six points ahead of second place finisher Japan's Yuma Kagiyama. The prior world record in this event was 111.82 set by Yuzuru Hanyu in 2020, who is the reigning champion.

Hanyu also performed Tuesday, but finished eighth after struggling to complete a quad jump. Hanyu had won gold at the past two Olympics.

Chen's teammate Jason Brown came in sixth achieving his personal best score of 97.24, according to U.S. figure skating.

American figure skater Vincent Zhou, who was also supposed to compete on Tuesday, withdrew after testing positive for COVID-19 last night.

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