Chen smashes Hanyu world record to fire first shot in Beijing
Nathan Chen smashed a world record held by his fierce rival Yuzuru Hanyu as the Japanese two-time reigning Olympic figure skating champion made an uncharacteristically shaky start to his title defence Tuesday.
Facing off for the first time at the Beijing Games, Hanyu had to settle for a disappointing eighth in the short programme, with his younger teammates Yuma Kagiyama and Shoma Uno second and third.
Chen, of the US, scored 113.97 -- the highest ever awarded in a short programme -- comfortably beating Hanyu's previous record of 111.82.
The score takes the three-time world champion one step closer to the only major prize that has eluded him, a gold medal at the Games.
Hanyu, who scored 95.15 after making a mistake on a jump, has to close a gap of almost 20 points in the free skate to be able to complete his goal of securing a third Olympic title.
Chen, Hanyu's prime competitor for gold in Beijing, had come close to beating the record already when he performed the same "La Boheme" programme for the team event on Friday, but his skate on Tuesday was cleaner and the judges rewarded him accordingly.
Dressed simply in black and white, Chen was completely in control as he sped around the rink, landing two quadruple jumps and a triple axel with ease.