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ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2021: Men's Free Skate, Saturday Results

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistMarch 27, 2021

Nathan Chen of the USA stands on the podium after winning the gold medal during the Men Free Skating Program at the Figure Skating World Championships in Stockholm, Sweden, Saturday, March 27, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
Martin Meissner/Associated Press

The last full day of competition at the 2021 ISU World Figure Skating Championships crowned champions in men's singles and ice dance events.

The men's event kicked off the day, with Nathan Chen from the United States moving up two spots in the free skate to take the gold medal for the third time in his career. The 21-year-old was in third place with a score of 98.85 after the short program Thursday.

There wasn't as much turnover in the pairs ice dancing, as Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov maintained their position atop the standings after the free dance to win gold for the Figure Skating Federation of Russia.

Skating a routine set to Philip Glass music, Chen soared up the leaderboard thanks to landing five quadruple jumps, with three of them coming in combinations. He also executed a triple axel and triple lutz to earn a high score of 222.03 for the program and a 320.88 combined score.

By comparison, no one else even reached a score of 200 in the free skate.

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"This is one I'm going to remember forever," Chen told reporters after his win. "It's amazingthe fact that we're able to be at this worlds after this unprecedented year... I'm very elated, I'm very happy. I tried to remind myself to enjoy being here. I don't know how many more worlds I'll be at. In doing that, I was able to be a lot more calm."

Chen has now won gold at each of the last three World Championships dating back to 2018. The event was canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He's the first man to win three straight singles titles at the World Championships since Patrick Chan from 2011 to 2013 and the first American to do so since Scott Hamilton did it in four consecutive years from 1982 to 1984.

Japan did win silver and bronze thanks to the dazzling displays from Yuma Kagiyama and Yuzuru Hanyu.

Kagiyama, who was in second place after the short program, stayed in that position following his free-skate routine. The 17-year-old medaled in his first appearance at the World Championships with a combined score of 291.77.

Things didn't go as well for Hanyu, though he still wound up on the medal podium. He previously won gold at the World Championships in 2014 and 2017, and was primed to capture a third after posting a high score of 106.98 in the short program.

Hanyu's routine was thrown off when his hand hit the ice after a quad loop and he stumbled attempting to land his triple axels. The stumbles caused him to receive a 182.20 score, fourth-highest in the free skate.

Even though this wasn't the ending that Hanyu hoped for after starting the day atop the standings, he's still leaving Stockholm with his eighth medal at the World Championships since 2012.

Sinitsina and Katsalapov had a two-point advantage over American pair Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue following the rhythm dance Friday.

The Russian duo also posted the highest score of the free dance (133.02) to finish with a combined total of 221.17.

This marks the second medalfirst gold—for Sinitsina and Katsalapov at the World Championships. They won silver two years ago in their first appearance together at this event.

Hubbell and Donohue matched their best finish at the World Championships with a silver medal. The American pair maintained their second-place spot overall despite posting the third-highest score in the free dance.

Their performance was fluid throughout, but their levels didn't rise to the difficulty needed for them to really challenge Sinitsina and Katsalapov for the gold.

Coming into the free dance ranked fourth in the standings, Canada's Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier were the big movers Saturday. They had never finished higher than sixth in seven appearances at the World Championships coming into this year.

Gilles and Poirier posted a career-best score of 130.98 in the free dance, second-best among all teams in the field. That gave them a combined score of 214.35 to reach the podium as the bronze-medal winners.

This marks the fourth medal win for Gilles and Poirier as a duo. Their most recent was a silver medal at the 2020 Four Continents Championship in Seoul.

Saturday's events wrap up the competition schedule from the World Championships. Sunday will officially conclude this year's festivities with an exhibition gala featuring most of the skaters in all disciplines.

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