• Reuters, Kyodo


Three-time reigning world champion Nathan Chen rebounded from a rare loss with a dominating performance to win Skate Canada in Vancouver on Saturday and reaffirm his status as a gold-medal favorite for next year's Beijing Olympics.

Chen, one week removed from Skate America in Las Vegas where he suffered his first loss since the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics, was comfortably in first place after Friday's short program and returned to score 200.46 points in Saturday's free skate.

The 22-year-old American's 307.18 total at the second Grand Prix event of the Olympic figure-skating season left him atop the podium while compatriot Jason Brown (259.55) took second and Russian Evgeni Semenenko (256.01) finished third.

Japanese competitors Sota Yamamoto and Keiji Tanaka finished seventh and 10th, respectively, out of a strong men's field of 12 skaters at Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Center.

In Las Vegas, Chen was unable to overcome a shaky short program where he fell on his opening quadruple Lutz en route to a third place finish behind fellow American Vincent Zhou and Japan's Shoma Uno, both of whom did not compete this week.

But there was no such drama this week as Chen, determined to get back on top, dazzled in a free skate performed to a Mozart compilation during which he delivered four quads and a triple Lutz while showcasing great contrast and style.

Later on Saturday, Kamila Valieva led a podium sweep for Russia in the women's event, topping the standings in both the short and long programs, and winning with a world record 265.08 overall score. Elizaveta Tuktamysheva and Alena Kostornaia went 2-3.

Mai Mihara finished fourth for Japan's best result, scoring a personal best 210.01. Mihara, who found herself in seventh place after the short program, pulled up to third in the free skate. Her previous best total score was 209.22, set in September 2018.

"I am filled with emotion after wrapping up my performance in the best way possible. I just thought about doing my very best. This makes me really happy. I will think that every day is a test and keep working hard," Mihara said.

Also for Japan, Wakaba Higuchi was sixth and Mana Kawabe was ninth.

The Grand Prix season this year will feature a full six-event schedule that includes international lineups, after travel restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic limited it to just four events last season.

Japan's double Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu, who was unable to defend his 2019 Skate Canada title as last year's event was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is not competing until week four of the Grand Prix season in Tokyo.

The third stop of the Olympic figure skating season will be held in Torino, Italy, from Nov. 5-7.

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