FIGURE SKATING Panorama: Nathan Chen’s “transcendent greatness,” but Yuzuru Hanyu is also no. 1 (in another way)

World Champion Nathan Chen of the U.S. (Photo: ISU)

Has it been only a week since the brilliant showdown between American Nathan Chen and Japan’s double Olympic champ Yuzuru Hanyu?

Chen’s dominating victory at the 2019 ISU World Championships was put into perspective by no less an authority than Globetrotting’s Phil Hersh, writing for In a lengthy story that recapped the amazing back-to-back Free Skate performances by Hanyu and Chen, he noted:

“[W]hat Nathan Chen did in winning the 2019 World Figure Skating Championships in Japan was transcendent greatness.

“No one other than Chen in the 123-year history of the event has done two unblemished, artistically compelling skates with the technical demands of the jump elements in his short program and free skate.

“And no one else has done it while on spring break from his freshman year at Yale, one of the most academically demanding universities in the world. Or with a video chat coaching arrangement, separated by 3,000 miles from Rafael Arutunian, his skating mentor for eight years.”

The story also has video links to the Free Skate performances of both champions, so you can see them once again. They were special.

Chen and Hanyu got more than applause for their performances in Saitama City (JPN). There was also money. The ISU’s payscale for the World Championships includes:

Men and Women for places 1-6:
• $64,000-47,000-33,000-19,000-11,000-8,000.

Pairs and Ice Dance for places 1-6:
• $90,000-65,000-45,000-26,000-16,000-10,000.

The total prize purse for the Worlds was $868,000 U.S., plus small honoraria ($700-900 for individuals or $900-1,350 for Pairs or Ice Dance) for extra performances in exhibitions held at the end of the Championships.

In case you were wondering, the skaters don’t get this money directly. It’s sent to their national federation, but the ISU also has a rule which states that the federation may not keep more than 10% of any prizes won by skaters.

Speak of Hanyu, he will skip the season-ending World Team Trophy competition from 11-14 April in Fukuoka (JPN) to rest his ailing right ankle, injured last November.

“I went all out for the World Championships,” he said, according to a statement released by Japan’s skating federation. “It’s difficult to make my right foot bear even more, and my doctor has told me I need further treatment.

“I want to make a complete recovery as soon as possible and start training ahead of next season.”

The U.S. Figure Skating Association has confirmed Chen to appear at the World Team Trophy.

Hanyu is still no. 1 in another area: viewers on the International Olympic Committee’s

At last Thursday’s news conference following the close of the IOC Executive Board meeting in Lausanne (SUI), Olympic Broadcast Services chief Yiannis Exarchos (GRE) about the top-performing sports on the online site. He declined to give any information about that, but did note that:

“What I can tell you also is that Yuzuru Hanyu is the biggest star of the Olympic Channel. Not just in Japan – everywhere – figure skating has an extraordinary performance. Obviously all the content that we specifically do for Japanese athletes has a lot of traction, but I would to specifically single out figure skating as a very special case of increased traffic.”

So, he’s still no. 1, at least for now!