Nathan Chen wins Grand Prix Final in Vancouver
Nathan Chen scored a season's best to win the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final in Vancouver.
Despite a fall early on in his program, the American secured 189.43 points in the free skate on Saturday evening for a season's best of 282.42 points to pick up his second title in two seasons.
Japan's Shoma Uno who was second after the short program, could not overhaul the American and managed 183.43 points in the free skate to finish second with 275.10 points.
Junhwan Cha from South Korea also pulled off a season's best of 263.49 points overall to complete the podium on his Grand Prix Final debut.
"I definitely did not do my greatest programs, both short and long," said Chen. "There were mistakes here and there."
"I'm not quite where I want to be. (But) this was the first free skate I did this season with more than three quads. I wanted to improve off of what I did last competition... and I did that."
He doesn't have long to celebrate.
"It's basically right back to (school)," said the Yale freshman. "As soon as I get back from this, I have like a day before my Spanish oral."
Chen digging deep
Skating to "Land of All" by Woodkid, Chen took to the ice with a slim lead after the short program.
He opened neatly with a quadruple flip but he fell on his next jump while attempting a quadruple Lutz and didn't manage to execute his quadruple toe-loop.
However, as we saw at PyeongChang 2018, the 19-year-old knows how to dig deep.
He composed himself and bounced back strongly with a triple Axel. Chen has landed all seven of his triple Axel jumps in competition this season.
He pulled off a strong second half of the program which included a quadruple toe-loop and triple toe-loop combination.
"Glad I was able to pull it together with regards to the second half of the program. I mostly wanted to improve off what I did in the last competition. That's really my goal every competition, to keep improving." - Nathan Chen shares with Olympic Channel.
He has now won nine of the last 10 competitions he's skated in dating back to September 2017. His only loss came at PyeongChang 2018 when he placed fifth.
Shoma Uno's winning streak ends
Shoma Uno also didn't skate clean and the wait for his first major title continues.
After finishing second at the Grand Prix Finals, Four Continents, Winter Olympics and World Championships last season, the 20-year-old was aiming for the top spot of the podium this season.
But his run of three victories which includes the Lombardia Trophy, Skate Canada and the NHK Trophy came to an end inside the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre.
On a night when there was no Yuzuru Hanyu on ice, the Japanese skater was unable to rise to the occasion to snatch the win.
It wasn't really a good performance today. I really wanted to succeed in the last combinations but I couldn't do that, so that was really what I'm disappointed in. - Shoma Uno told the Olympic Channel
Junhwan Cha became the first Korean to medal at the Grand Prix Final with a season's best free skate score.
Like Chen, he too suffered an early fall in his free skate but recovered nicely to move up from fourth place after the short program.
The 17-year-old has been impressive all season, finishing on the podium in all five of his competitions thus far.
"It was my first final. I was nervous like I have to be nervous. I'm very honoured to skate here. I'm really happy I can skate here and I did a good performance too." - Junhwan Cha to Olympic Channel
Home hero Keegan Messing, who made the Grand Prix final following Yuzuru Hanyu's withdrawal from the competition due to injury could not improve on his sixth place after the short program.
The Canadian fell a few times during his free skate to end fifth overall, behind Czech Republic's Michal Brezina but ahead of Russia's Sergei Voronov.