'Rocket Man' Chen blazes to third Grand Prix Final gold

Turin (Italy) (AFP) –


US figure skating sensation Nathan Chen set new world record scores on his way to a third consecutive men's gold at the ISU Grand Prix Final in Turin on Saturday.

The two-time world champion blew away his great rival Yuzuru Hanyu with a total overall score of 335.30 points after his free skate to Elton John's 'Rocket Man'.

Double Olympic champion Hanyu was thwarted in his bid for a record fifth Grand Prix Final title, taking silver with 291.43. France's Kevin Aymoz took bronze with 275.63.

The 20-year-old Chen from Salt Lake City had taken a 13-point lead on Hanyu into the free skating final at the Palavela.

But Hanyu, who turned 25 on Saturday, hit five quadruple jumps in a brilliant performance to Edvin Marton's 'Origin.

The only glitch in the Japanese skater's programme was his under-rotation of a triple flip and singling his final triple axel jump.

Hundreds of Winnie the Pooh toys rained down on the ice from Hanyu's adoring fans as the skater collapsed in exhaustion.

Taking to the ice last Chen had a long wait for the rink to be cleared of the hundreds of soft toys and gifts.

The American also nailed five quad jumps including two in the second half of his programme, culminating with a triple lutz-triple toeloop combination.

But he bettered his own record score in the free skate by 8.9 points and he overall record by nearly 12 points.