American figure skater Nathan Chen gave the world a record-setting performance on February 7 while skating in the Men’s Short program. Chen, who commentators said has been the sport’s “gold standard” since the last Winter Games, scored a combined 113.97 in the event, surpassing the previous record of 111.2 held by Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan.

Chen began his performance by hitting a nearly flawless quadruple jump and followed the beauty up with another quad amid a triple-jump sequence. The usually reserved Chen gave a celebratory fist-pump at the end of his performance.

His scores were 47.99 for performance and 65.98 technical, with no deductions, for a combined total of 113.97. Chen was a favorite in 2018 but suffered disasters throughout the competition and failed to medal, eventually finishing at 17th.

“I was elated,” Chen said in an interview on the NBC broadcast. “Last Olympics, both short programs didn’t go the way I wanted, and to finally get the opportunity to skate the programs the way that I wanted – it feels really great. It means a lot.”

In 2018, it was Japan’s Hanyu who executed a flawless performance and took gold, his second time achieving the major milestone in his skating career.

However, his short program performance this year was more reminiscent of Chen’s 2018 outing than his own.

Hanyu intended to execute a quadruple salchow but he never seemed to get his skates set coming out of his turn. The zero score on one of only three jumping opportunities in the short program plunged Hanyu to eight. He explained after the performance that his skate was caught in a hole in the ice, preventing him from activating the turning maneuver.

“I have one more chance,” Hanyu told reporters. “I have lots of time with the music and many jumps in there, so I [can] be my best.”

American Jason Brown, who is skating in his first Olympic Games since 2014, scored a combined 97.24, good enough for a sixth-place finish. Brown and Chen are the only two American skaters in the competition.

Expected USA medalist Vincent Zhou could not compete after testing positive for COVID on February 7. Zhou has withdrawn from competition, ending his Olympic quest for a medal in the Men’s Individual program. Zhou was part of the silver Team USA skaters were awarded earlier this week.

“I’ve already lost count of the number of times I’ve cried today,” Zhou said in a recorded interview from his hotel room. “But I’m happy to say that at least one of those times was happy tears. That was when I found out that I became an Olympic silver medalist.”

The Men’s Singles program is a combined score of the short program and the long program, called Free Skate. The short program gives athletes two minutes and fifty seconds to complete a certain number of jumping, spinning, and stepping moves.

The long program gives the men four and a half minutes to perform. The long and short programs are unequally weighted, with the long program accounting for two-thirds of the total score. The highest score after both programs is the winner.