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Where EAST meets the Northwest


GOING FOR GOLD. Nathan Chen of the United States competes in the menís free skate program during the figure skating event at the 2022 Winter Olympics on February 10, 2022 in Beijing. Chen soared effortlessly and nearly perfectly five times during his "Rocketman" performance at the game. When his skates touched down for the final time in a historic arena in Beijing, he was an Olympic gold medallist. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

AMAZING ATHLETES. Chloe Kim of the United States competes during the womenís halfpipe at the 2022 Winter Olympics on February 9, 2022 in Zhangjiakou, China. Kim was so good on her first run down the halfpipe that it didnít matter that she failed to land a big trick on her last run, a.k.a. the victory lap. The 21-year-old, who started snowboarding as a kid in Southern California, became the first woman to win consecutive Olympic titles on the halfpipe. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

From The Asian Reporter, V32, #3 (March 7, 2022), page 12.

Chen, Kim soar to Olympic gold medals on best day for U.S.

By Bernie Wilson

AP Sports Writer

BEIJING ó Nathan Chen soared effortlessly and nearly perfectly five times during his "Rocketman" performance.

When his skates touched down for the final time in a historic arena in Beijing, he was an Olympic gold medallist.

Up at Genting Snow Park, Chloe Kim nailed all five jumps on her first run through the Secret Garden Olympic halfpipe, enough for her to easily defend her Olympic title.

It was the United Statesí best day at the Beijing Games. The United States also won gold in the Olympicsí first mixed team aerials event, giving it a total of four gold medals and 10 overall.

Chenís quads

Chen, whose parents emigrated from China, had a memorable free skate to finally put behind him the immense disappointment from four years ago, when a nightmarish short program in South Korea dashed his medal hopes.

Skating his "Rocketman" program set to the film score by Elton John, the 22-year-old Chen landed all five of his quads to leave no question he was the best in the world. He finished with 332.60 points, three off his own world record and 22 ahead of silver medallist Yuma Kagiyama of Japan. Shoma Uno of Japan took bronze.

"It means the world. Iím just so happy," said Chen, who was relaxed and expressive throughout his routine.

Chen, who is from Salt Lake City, took off with an opening quad salchow. He effortlessly landed four more quads. He had a slight bobble on a late combination sequence.

When his scores were read, coach Rafael Arutyunyan raised Chenís left arm like a championship boxer.

In the Capital Indoor Stadium, where the United States and China played the first matches of the pingpong diplomacy in 1971, Chen made some history of his own by capping one of the most dominant four-year runs in skating history. Since his disappointment in PyeongChang, Chen has won three straight world championships ó the 2020 competition was cancelled because of the pandemic ó and extended his run of national championships to six.

Chen is the first American figure skating champion since Evan Lysacek in 2010.

Kimís coronation

Chloe Kim was so good on her first run down the halfpipe that it didnít matter that she failed to land a big trick on her last run, a.k.a. the victory lap. The 21-year-old, who started snowboarding as a kid in Southern California, became the first woman to win consecutive Olympic titles on the halfpipe.

The last rider into the halfpipe on the first run, Kim landed all five jumps, including a front and backside 1080 ó three spins each ó and a 900. She seemed to amaze even herself, twice putting her hands to her head at the end of the run, which earned a score of 94.

Kim had struggled in practice before the competition began.

"I was just so proud of myself. I had the worst practice ever," she said. "I probably landed my run twice when Iím used to landing it eight times. That kind of puts you in a weird headspace."

IOC President Thomas Bach and Chinaís superstar freestyle skier Eileen Gu were in the crowd. Gu even hugged Kim between runs.

Queralt Castellet of Spain took the silver medal in her fifth Olympics. Sena Tomita of Japan held off Cai Xuetong of China for bronze.

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