Figure Skater Cha Jun-hwan Beats Expectations to Finish 5th at Beijing Olympics

  • By Song Won-hyung

    February 11, 2022 11:05

    Cha Jun-hwan finished fifth in the men's singles figure skating competition at the Winter Olympics in Beijing on Thursday, an unprecedented feat for a male Korean skater.

    Cha scored personal bests in both the short and free skating programs of 99.51 points and 182.87 points, totaling 282.38 points.

    The last time a Korean figure skater reached the top five at the Winter Olympics was when Kim Yu-na won the silver medal at the Sochi Games in 2014.

    American Nathan Chen, who has swept all non-Olympic figure skating competitions since 2018, grabbed the gold, scoring 332.60 points -- 218.63 points in the free skating and 113.97 points in the short program. He broke his own world record in the short program but failed to do so in the free skating.

    Japan's Yuma Kagiyama won silver with 310.05 points and Shoma Uno bronze with 293 points. Defending champion Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan came in a disappointing fourth with 283.21 points, failing to clinch a third straight Olympic gold medal.

    Cha Jun-hwan performs in the men's singles free skating event at the Winter Olympics in Beijing on Thursday.

    Cha competed 21st out of 24 skaters and fell while attempting his first jump, a quadruple toe loop, but managed to finish his routine without any other mistakes. "It was too bad I made a mistake on my first jump, but I'm satisfied that I completed the remainder smoothly. I also achieved my Olympic goals of getting a personal best score and being among the top 10," he added.

    Cha finished in 15th place in Pyeongchang in 2018. "The Pyeongchang Olympics experience helped me a lot in preparing for this competition," Cha said. He also thanked his supporters for helping him come this far.

    "I learned a lot from this Olympics and it gives me hope [that I can do better]," he added. "The Olympics are over, but the season is not yet finished. I will continue to work hard and prepare for the World Championships in March."

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