Two-time Olympic Champion Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan overcame an ankle injury to win his second Grand Prix gold medal as the Rostelecom Cup continued Saturday in Moscow. Morisi Kvitelashvili of Georgia claimed the silver, the first ISU Grand Prix medal for his country, while Kazuki Tomono of Japan earned the bronze.
Hanyu took a bad fall in morning practice on a quadruple loop, twisting his right ankle, and left the ice before the session ended. The two-time World Champion then changed his program content, taking out the quad loop.
He opened with a quad Salchow followed by a quad toe, triple loop, triple flip and somewhat shaky quad toe-triple Salchow sequence. However, Hanyu fell on a triple Axel and popped the second Axel. The Olympic Champion scored 167.88 points for a total of 278.42 points.
“The injury is not the same as last year, but it is very painful and it forced me to change my program. I wanted to skate perfectly in Russia - too bad that it was not possible. I did what I could do considering my condition,” the 23-year-old said.
“I thought about withdrawing because of the injury, but it is my choice. I really wanted to skate this program in Russia.”
Morisi Kvitelashvili (GEO) claimed the first ISU Grand Prix medal for his country 2018 © International Skating Union (ISU)
Skating last, Kvitelashvili produced a solid performance that featured three quadruple jumps – he only put down his hand on the second quad toe – as well as a triple flip-triple Salchow sequence and three more triples. The Georgian underrotated the triple Axel, but he scored a season’s best of 158.64 points and accumulated 248.58 points.
“I did everything as planned, but not everything went as smoothly as I would have liked. We’ll just continue to work. I am glad that I was able to show my program as clean as I could,” Kvitelashvili said.
Tomono landed two quad Salchows and five triples in his program to Riverdance. However, he also underrotated two triple jumps. He scored 156.47 points, a season’s best, and moved up one spot to third with 238.73 points.
Kazuki Tomono (JPN) in action in Moscow on Saturday 2018 © International Skating Unionn (ISU)
"Unfortunately I was unable to control my nerves and lost to myself, but then I was able to get a grip on myself. This is the first time I made the podium at a Grand Prix and I am very happy about that,” the Japanese skater said.
2018 World bronze medalist Mikhail Kolyada (RUS) landed two quadruple jumps to pull up from eighth to fourth on 225.42 points. Skate Canada silver medalist Keegan Messing (CAN) came fifth on 220.75 points, edging Paul Fentz (GER) who placed sixth on 220.57 points. Alexander Majorov (SWE) faded from third to tenth after numerous errors (205.59 points). Artur Dmitriev (RUS) was the first skater to attempt a quadruple Axel in international competition, but he fell and the jump was downgraded. He made other errors to finish 11th (189.58 points).
Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN) claimed gold despite suffering an injury in practice 2018 © International Skating Union (ISU)