Paris (AFP)

The American Nathan Chen was crowned world figure skating champion for the third time in a row, after 2018 and 2019, one year before the Olympics-2022, Saturday in Stockholm, where the reigning double Japanese Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu did not took that third place.

Third after the short program, Chen, 21, recovered masterfully by stacking five quadruple jumps in his free skate to total 320.80 points.

On the contrary, Hanyu made too many approximations to keep his lead inherited from the short (289.18), to the point of being doubled by his very young compatriot Yuma Kagiyama, only 17 years old and silver medalist from his first Worlds. (291.77).

Chen thus remains undefeated since the 2018 Olympics, where he ranked fifth.

Enough to advance in a position of strength towards the Beijing Games.

The young Californian, however, was more than eight points behind Hanyu after the short program, because of an entry fall on a quadruple jump.

But a sparkling free, with five top-flight "quads" awarded 222.03 points, very close to his world record (224.92 at the end of 2019), enabled him to turn the situation around.

"I just remembered that I had to enjoy being there, that I enjoyed the moment. And it turned out the way I was hoping for today (Saturday)," he said. very soberly.

- Kevin Aymoz ninth -

Hanyu, who skated in last position on the Swedish ice, did jump four "quads" but he multiplied the approximations (hand resting on the first, reversal on the second), on the reception of his two triple Axels as well.

Unacceptable to hope to stand up to his American rival, who finally relegates him to nearly thirty points.

More surprisingly, the 26-year-old Japanese was passed by his amazing compatriot Kagiyama, the 2020 Youth Olympic Champion. In his dark green suit, the young Nippon shone with a rich performance of three impeccable "quads", even if the things got a little complicated for him in the second part of the program.

He pulverizes his best free score (190.81 against 179) as well as his best total score, which jumps by more than twenty points (291.77 against 270.61).

Promising for the one who will celebrate his 18 years in a little over a month, and whose joy in the "kiss and cry", fists waved in the air, jumping in place and laughing eyes, was communicative.

Mission accomplished for Kevin Aymoz: the skater from Grenoble, who had at least a top 10 goal to unlock two quotas for France for the Beijing Games, fulfilled his contract by placing ninth (254.52).

© 2021 AFP