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Chen lands six quads to clinch first world title

18-year-old becomes first U.S. man to win worlds since Lysacek in 2009
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While others were stumbling and bumbling around him, Nathan Chen went out and won his first world title with the third-highest free skate score ever recorded (219.46). The two-time U.S. champion landed six quads (four of which were clean) in his routine to music from 'Mao's Last Dancer' and 'The Rite of Spring,' and he skated off with the crown with 321.40 total points -- 47.63 more than runner-up Shoma Uno. -Getty Images

Grand Prix Final champion Nathan Chen landed six quads in his free skate Saturday at the 2018 World Figure Skating Championships in Milan, Italy, becoming the first American man to win the title and any world medal since Evan Lysacek won gold in 2009. For the second consecutive season, Japan's Shoma Uno won silver, with Russia's Mikhail Kolyada claiming the bronze medal.

Skating to Mao's Last Dancer and The Rite of Spring, Chen reeled off a quad lutz, quad flip-double toe, quad flip, quad toe and a quad toe-triple toe as well as a triple axel and triple flip-single loop-triple salchow combination. The only hiccup came when he stepped out of his sixth quadruple jump, a salchow.

The two-time U.S. champion collected Level 4 grading for his spins and footwork, while setting a new personal best score of 219.46 in the process. His event tally of 321.40 points was also more than enough to garner top position on the podium.

"It's just a dream come true, it's something I have wanted to achieve my whole career and I'm just so glad I was able to do it," an exuberant Chen said. "I was kind of checking what everyone was doing on Jackie Wong's Twitter, so I was sort of updated on what was going on. It gave me the opportunity, the chance.

"Of course, I don't want to see my competitors fail or do badly," he added. "I want them to be pushing me and pushing each other, but I'm glad I was able to do what I needed to do and I felt the audience really wanted a good performance and they motivated me to do it."

Uno landed a quadruple toe-double toe loop combination, a triple axel, triple axel-single loop-triple flip as well as three additional triples during his free skate. However, the Olympic silver medalist -- who has been battling ankle woes -- struggled with his other quads, falling three times. The Japanese champion scored 179.51 points to finish with 273.77 overall.

"My foot felt better than yesterday," Uno said. "It was hard to bring it in a good condition. I did mistakes in the beginning, but I am satisfied that I finished the free skate like this. In my recent practices, my quad loops and flips were rather rough but still I decided to go for them and I didn't do so well, but I came back in the end of the program really nicely, so I am satisfied with my result today."

Kolyada's program to an arrangement of Elvis Presley songs featured a quadruple toe loop as well as two triple axels, two additional triples and Level 3 spins. Despite falling on his quad lutz, the two-time European bronze medalist earned 172.24 points in the segment, with his 272.32 points proving strong enough for the bronze medal.

"I am happy with the short program, but in the free obviously I made mistakes," Kolyada noted. "But I enjoyed performing my program, the presentation. The last time a Russian man medaled at worlds was Artur Gachinski in 2011. We need to raise the level of men's skating in Russia. I think this (medal) will be a positive experience for me and the other guys."

Israel's Alexei Bychenko pulled up from seventh after the short program to finish fourth overall with 258.28 points.

"This season was hard, there was a lot of stress, a lot of preparation, and what I did today is not exactly what I expected, but anyway, I fought for every element," said Bychenko following his career-best performance. "Anyway, I am very glad with my result. Each season I try to beat my previous result and I am really proud of myself and my team."

Kazuki Tomono of Japan turned in the third-best free skate of the day while performing to West Side Story, one that included two quadruple salchows. Overall, the youngster moved up from 11th after the short program to fifth in the final standings.

"It is the first time to be at such a big competition for me and I learned a lot from it, I become more confident," Tomono said. "I had already had the experience to skate as a substitute so I was prepared for such a situation after Yuzuru (Hanyu) and Takahito (Mura) withdrew. I was very lucky to be here and here I came as the substitute, but I want to be a real and dignified representative of Japan."

American Vincent Zhou, who stood third following the short program, faded to 14th after numerous errors during his free skate, and the 2017 world junior champion ended his trip to Milan with 235.24 points.

The third American in the field, Max Aaron, wound up 11th in the final standings after earning 241.49 points.