Mind the bears - Chen readies for Yuzu

Pyeongchang (South Korea) (AFP) - American skate star Nathan Chen says he is braced for a blizzard of bears in his hotly anticipated showdown with Yuzuru Hanyu for the men's crown starting Friday.

Chen, speaking Thursday on the eve of competition, is drawn to perform his short programme immediately after defending champion Hanyu, who just happens to be Winnie The Pooh's number one fan.

And he told a press conference: "I've skated after Yuzu a handful of times.

"The only thing I can take away from it is to be prepared for the Pooh-bears to be raining down from the audience.

"The good thing about that is it takes a while to clear them off and it gives me the extra time to get ready.

"I take it for what it is and I skated after him before and skated well. The crowd is always super hyped after him, so I will use it to my advantage as well."

The 18-year-old says he's pleased to see his arch rival for Olympic honours back after his highly publicised injury that has kept the Japanese idol sidelined and out of sight since November.

Chen, the only skater to have inflicted defeat on Hanyu last year, said: "Yuzu is great, especially having him back on practice.

"As soon as the whole crew was together with Javi (Javier Fernandez), (Jin) Boyang, Shoma (Uno), the whole atmosphere was elevated and everyone was trying a little harder.

"I really feel Yuzuru's presence on the ice. It really elevates us and gets us to try harder.

"He has definitely inspired me and motivated me over the past few seasons to try newer quads, to try different things out and different layouts out."

- Quad king -

Chen, who displayed nerves in an error-strewn short programme in the team event in which the USA picked up bronze, is itching to get out on the rink on Friday.

"I want to get another Olympic medal outside the team event. Really that is what has been motivating me and hopefully I will be able to do that here."

A native of 2002 Winter Games venue Salt Lake City Chen is set to unleash a string of quads to live up to his name as the quad king assigned to him after he became the first to roll out five in a free skate.

"I think I will include the quad Lutz, however, the number will be between four or five quads.

"I am capable of doing all of them, but Salchow, toeloop, flip and Lutz are the most comfortable at the moment and I think that's where my mind is set."

He has attempted six in the long format without success, and reckons attempting the half dozen could be a risk too great.

"I don't really feel as though that's something I am going to set my mind to right now. I think that five quads is pretty much what I am very confident about."

Asked who he would rate as his main rivals he replied: "Honestly, just myself. I know that is cliche, but it's true.

"I can't control at all what these other guys are doing, and I know they are really stronger now. If I start dwelling on what they are going to do, or what I think they will do, it's just going to negatively impact myself."