Chen produces spectacular free skate to win gold at worlds

Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue of the U.S. stand after winning the bronze medals for the ice dance free dance during the ISU World Figure Skating Championships at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, north of Tokyo, Saturday, March 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
Nathan Chen from the U.S., left, and compatriot Vincent Zhou acknowledge the crowd after winning the gold and bronze medals respectively for the men's free skating routine during the ISU World Figure Skating Championships at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, north of Tokyo, Saturday, March 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
Nathan Chen from the U.S. stands on the podium with the gold medal for the men's free skating routine during the ISU World Figure Skating Championships at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, north of Tokyo, Saturday, March 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
Nathan Chen from the U.S., left, and compatriot Vincent Zhou acknowledge the crowd after winning the gold and bronze medals respectively for the men's free skating routine during the ISU World Figure Skating Championships at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, north of Tokyo, Saturday, March 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France stand with their medals after winning the gold for the ice dance free dance during the ISU World Figure Skating Championships at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, north of Tokyo, Saturday, March 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
Japan's Yuzuru Hanyu performs his men's free skating routine during the ISU World Figure Skating Championships at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, north of Tokyo, Saturday, March 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
Jason Brown from the U.S. performs his men's free skating routine during the ISU World Figure Skating Championships at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, north of Tokyo, Saturday, March 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
Japan's Yuzuru Hanyu performs his men's free skating routine during the ISU World Figure Skating Championships at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, north of Tokyo, Saturday, March 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France, back to camera, hug Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue of the U.S. during the medal ceremony for the ice dance free dance during the ISU World Figure Skating Championships at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, north of Tokyo, Saturday, March 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
Nathan Chen from the U.S. stands on the podium with the gold medal for the men's free skating routine during the ISU World Figure Skating Championships at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, north of Tokyo, Saturday, March 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
Nathan Chen from the U.S. performs his men's free skating routine during the ISU World Figure Skating Championships at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, north of Tokyo, Saturday, March 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
Nathan Chen from the U.S. acknowledges the crowd after he was declared the gold medal winner for the men's free skating routine during the ISU World Figure Skating Championships at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, north of Tokyo, Saturday, March 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
From left, Japan's Yuzuru Hanyu, Nathan Chen from the U.S. and Vincent Zhou from the U.S. display their silver, gold and bronze medals respectively during the men's free skating routine during the ISU World Figure Skating Championships at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, north of Tokyo, Saturday, March 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
Nathan Chen from the U.S. performs his men's free skating routine during the ISU World Figure Skating Championships at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, north of Tokyo, Saturday, March 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
Japan's Yuzuru Hanyu performs his men's free skating routine during the ISU World Figure Skating Championships at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, north of Tokyo, Saturday, March 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
Nathan Chen from the U.S. stands for his national anthem after winning the gold medal for the men's free skating routine during the ISU World Figure Skating Championships at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, north of Tokyo, Saturday, March 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue of the U.S. stand with their national flag after winning the bronze medals for the ice dance free dance during the ISU World Figure Skating Championships at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, north of Tokyo, Saturday, March 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
Nathan Chen from the U.S. performs his men's free skating routine during the ISU World Figure Skating Championships at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, north of Tokyo, Saturday, March 23, 2019. Chen won the gold medal. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
Vincent Zhou from the U.S. performs his men's free skating routine during the ISU World Figure Skating Championships at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, north of Tokyo, Saturday, March 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
From left to right on podium, Russia's Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov, Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France, and Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue of the U.S. stand on the podium with their silver, gold and bronze medals respectively for the ice dance free dance during the ISU World Figure Skating Championships at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, north of Tokyo, Saturday, March 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
Russia's Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov, back to camera, greet Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue of the U.S. during the medal ceremony for the ice dance free dance during the ISU World Figure Skating Championships at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, north of Tokyo, Saturday, March 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

SAITAMA, Japan — Defending champion Nathan Chen delivered a spectacular free skate Saturday to win the gold medal again at the figure skating world championships.

It was the first time an American man captured consecutive world titles since Scott Hamilton won his fourth in a row in 1984.

Two-time Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan was second and American Vincent Zhou was third on a big day for U.S. skating. It was the first time since 1996 two U.S. men medaled at the worlds.

"It feels amazing," said the 19-year-old Chen, the U.S. national champion and a full-time student at Yale. "This is my second world title and it means a lot to me. It is really reassuring that I've been able to pull everything together for the second time."

First after the short program, Chen made no mistakes and landed four quadruple jumps to set a record score in the free skate with 216.02 points for a total of 323.42.

Chen opened with a quad lutz and followed with a quad flip. He then added two quad toeloops, one in combination, to solidify his lead.

"I'm proud of myself for being able to put out two good programs, the short and the long," Chen said. "Ultimately, I'm just happy with how this event went and I hope to have more experiences like this."

Hanyu also had a strong free skate with four quads but couldn't erase a 12.53-point deficit and finished second with 300.97.

Hanyu came back from a right ankle ligament injury in November. He was similarly injured in 2017 and returned at last year's Pyeongchang Olympics, where he became the first male figure skater to win consecutive Olympic golds since Dick Button in 1948 and 1952.

"I lost, that is about it," Hanyu said. "I think I did my best, but the problem is that in figure skating competition consists of two days, and I am losing in both. It means that I simply do not have enough strength to win."

Zhou had a personal best in his free skate and finished with a total of 281.16 points.

"I'm so proud of myself and the effort that I put into my performance and my jumps," he said. "This is the culmination of all of the hard work I've been doing."

Olympic silver medalist Shoma Uno, the 2018 world championship silver medalist, was fourth.

Earlier, defending champions Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France won the free dance to win gold in the ice dance.

Papadakis and Cizeron, first after the rhythm dance, received 134.23 points for their free dance for a total of 222.65 and their fourth ice dance world title.

Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov of Russia were second with 211.76 points. Madiosn Hubbell and Zachary Donohue of the U.S., moved up to third from fourth to finish with 210.40.

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