Men Olympic Medalists ©Getty Images
Japan’s ‘Samurai’ Yuzuru Hanyu was unstoppable on his way to his second consecutive Olympic gold medal at Gangneung Ice Arena on Saturday. World silver medalist Shoma Uno made it one-two for Japan by overtaking Spain’s two-time World Champion Javier Fernandez, who settled for the bronze. Hanyu triumphed what was a festival of quadruple jumps.
Hanyu produced three clean quadruple jumps in his Japanese-themed routine ‘Seimei’, a movie soundtrack, but stumbled on a fourth, a quad toeloop. The two-time World Champion also hit four clean triples including a triple Axel and three-level four spins. He was ranked second in the free skating with a seasons best of 206.17 points but his advantage in points following the Short Program was enough to keep him securely in first place at 317.85 points. He is the first man in 66 years to win back to back Olympic gold medals.
Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN) ©Getty Images
"This is the best day of my skating life. My tears were from my heart. I can find one word and that is happy," an emotional Hanyu said. He had to overcome a severe ankle injury sustained in early November and had not competed since the Grand Prix in Moscow in October 2017. "I just thought, 'skate'. Just think about skating all day, all week, every day. And I trusted,” he added.
Skating to ‘Turandot’, Uno fell on his opening quad loop, but recovered to land a quad flip and two quadruple toeloops as well as six triples. He collected 203.72 points and was third in the free skating like in the Short Program, but overall moved up to second place in his Olympic debut with 306.90 points. "Looking back at my performance, there is no disappointment. It was close to perfect," Uno told the press. "I missed the first jump, but the rest of the program was fine. I stayed calm after the mistake and was able to give a good performance."
Shoma Uno (JPN) ©Getty Images
Fernandez started strongly into his ‘Man of la Mancha’ routine with a quad toe and a quad Salchow-double toe and triple Axel-triple toe, but later doubled planned quad Salchow. These were the points he was missing in the end and the six-time European Champion slipped from second to third. He earned 197.66 points for the Free Skating and ranked fourth in the segment. He totaled 305.24 points. "It was a good experience. I even thought it wasn't a perfect performance today it was a good one. Everybody was skating really well. I am so happy with the medal," Fernandez shared. "It has been a lot of work and a lot of years, for the Olympic dream to win an Olympic medal. And I finally got it. Now I can sleep, I can rest and I can really enjoy it with my people around me."
Javier Fernandez (ESP) ©Getty Images
Reigning Four Continents Champion Boyang Jin remained in fourth place. The Four Continents Champion pulled off three clean quads, but missed a quad toe. "I was very nervous at first, because in the six minutes warm-up I could not do any element clean and I fell. My legs were shaky. But when I went out to compete, I was not so nervous anymore and I tried my best,” Jin said.
Nathan Chen (USA), a distant 17th following a faulty Short Program, went for six quadruple jumps, five of which were clean, won the free skating with 215.08 points and vaulted to fifth place with a score of 297.35 points. "I think honestly putting down a rough short program and being so low in the placement just took the pressure away from me. I no longer felt like I was striving for that first-place spot," Chen commented.
World Junior Champion Vincent Zhou (USA) moved up from 12th to sixth place (276.69 points) while European silver medalist Dmitri Aliev (OAR) dropped from fifth to seventh (267.51 points followed by teammate Mikhail Kolyada (264.25 points). 2014 Olympic silver medalist Patrick Chan (CAN) landed a quad toe-double toe in what was his final competitive performance to drop from sixth to ninth place. "I kind of ended on my terms. I am in the best shape I have ever been in my career. I'm the most technically strong I have been. I am the happiest I have ever been in my skating career," Chan said.
The figure skating competition at the Olympic Winter Games continues on Monday with the Short Dance.