Nathan Chen wins Grand Prix Final gold despite imperfect performance
Canada's Stephen Gogolev takes juniors title
Winning a gold medal won't get U.S. figure skater Nathan Chen out of studying for finals.
The 19-year-old took first place at the Grand Prix Final in Vancouver on Friday, posting a combined score of 282.42.
But he won't have long to celebrate.
"It's basically right back to [school]," said the Yale freshman. "As soon as I get back from this, I have like a day before my Spanish oral."
Watch Chen's winning performance:
Chen said he wasn't entirely happy with his skating in Vancouver. He fell on his quad Lutz in the free skate on Friday.
"I definitely did not do my greatest programs, both short and long," said the reigning world champion. "There were mistakes here and there."
Japan's Shoma Uno finished second with 275.10 points.
"It wasn't really a good performance today," Uno said through a translator. "I wish I could have done better."
Junhwan Cha of South Korea took bronze with 263.49 in his first appearance at the final.
The 17-year-old trains with Canadian skating legend Brian Orser in Toronto and said he was happy with how he performed in Vancouver.
Messing moves to 5th
Canada's Keegan Messing — the only Canadian in the senior competition — finished fifth with 236.05 points.
The 26-year-old fell on a jump near the end of his free skate, sliding into the boards, but said he was fine after leaving the ice.
"I was hoping to put out a little bit of a better performance in both short and long but it's my first finals, the nerves, they definitely were there," Messing said.
Watch Messing's free skate:
Friday marked the first time the Canadian skater landed a quad Lutz in competition, and Messing said it was something he could build on.
"I can really leave with my head held high and one final down, hopefully more to go," he said.
Gogolev wins juniors gold
One Canadian did take home a medal from Vancouver. Earlier on Friday, Stephen Gogolev captured gold for the country in the junior men's competition.
The 13-year-old fell on the first jump of his free skate — a quad Lutz — but nailed the rest of his program and posted a total score of 233.58.
Watch Gogolev skate into 1st place:
Gogolev said it felt good to compete in front of a Canadian crowd and show that he deserved to be in the competition. But the Toronto native was still astounded by the results.
"I didn't really believe it, that I have won the Grand Prix Final. And I still don't," he told reporters after the medal ceremony.
Watch Gogolev reflect on his big win:
Friday also saw ice dancers compete in the rhythm dance and pairs skaters performed their short programs.
'A little bit more drama'
Americans Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue took top score in the rhythm dance, posting a career-best score of 80.53.
It was the pair's first performance since they captured gold at Skate Canada at the end of October and they've since changed up their program.
"We knew that we wanted a little bit more drama. ... We wanted that roaring finish," Hubbell said, adding that they went into the rhythm dance wanting to "perform fearlessly."
Watch Hubbell and Donohue's 'fearless' rhythm dance:
Charlene Guignard and Marco Fabbri of Italy sat in second with 78.30, while Russians Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov were third with 77.33 points.
Donohue and Hubbell weren't taking their lead for granted.
"Two points is hard to come by and yet easy to lose," Hubbell said. "Certainly our goal stays the same tomorrow, just to make sure we're giving 100 per cent into the performance of this new program, to really make sure we don't get afraid of having something to lose. Because we don't."
The duo have yet to medal at a Grand Prix Final.
In the pairs competition, Cheng Peng and Yang Jin of China led with 75.69 points after Friday's short program.
"Every move, we did it. So we're happy," Jin said.
Watch Peng and Jin's strong performance:
Russians Natalia Zabiiako and Alexander Enbert sat in second a score of 75.18 while their teammates Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov held third with 74.04 points.
The Grand Prix Final continues Saturday with free skates in the women's, ice dance and pairs competitions.
Watch full events from Friday at the Grand Prix Final:
Men's free skate
Ice Dance - rhythm
Pairs short program
Junior Ice Dance free