Yuzuru Hanyu takes command of the highly anticipated men’s event at Worlds

Two-time Olympic gold medalist and two-time World champion Yuzuru Hanyu was just about five points off from his world record short program score today but what he delivered was enough to take the lead in the men’s event at the 2021 World Figure Skating Championships.

The 26-year-old Japanese figure skater landed a quad Salchow to begin his performance and also completed a quad toe loop-triple toe loop combination and a triple axel. Hanyu received high positive grades of execution on each element but had a level three step sequence, rather than a level four – possibly costing about a point. Nevertheless, he received the highest technical score and the highest program component score, earning himself a total short program result of 106.98 points.

One of the biggest surprises in the men’s event was Japan’s 17-year-old Yuma Kagiyama, who unexpectedly split the two gold medal favorites Hanyu and Nathan Chen and currently occupies second place. Last year’s World Junior champion landed a wonderful quad Salchow-triple toe loop combination, a quad toe loop, and a triple axel, as well as received level fours for his spins and his step sequence. Although he received only the eighth highest marks for program components, the son of two-time Olympic figure skater Masakazu Kagiyama did enough in the technical aspect to earn a short program score of 100.96 points.

The defending two-time consecutive World champion Chen fell on his opening quad Lutz attempt and also received a quarter under-rotation for the element. After a successful triple axel, the 21-year-old from Salt Lake City struggled with the flying camel spin – receiving just a level two for the element. The ending of Chen’s short program performance was great, which included a highly evaluated quad flip-triple toe loop combination, and he received the second highest program component result among all athletes. His total earned score of 98.85 points puts him in third place and he remains a serious threat to Hanyu.

Worth noting that Chen currently holds the world record score in both the free skate (224.92 points) and the overall total (335.30 points), which he achieved last year at the 2019-2020 ISU Grand Prix Final. Hanyu’s personal best free skate result is 212.99 points and his personal best total score is 322.59 points, both achieved at the 2019 Skate Canada. According to these results, the placements can drastically change in Saturday’s free skate event – therefore, the excitement continues.

Three-time Russian national champion Mikhail Kolyada did enough to stay in contention for a podium battle this weekend but needs some mistakes from the skaters in front of him. Kolyada landed both jumps in his opening quad toe loop-triple toe loop combination but added a quick rotation in-between the two jumps, losing incredibly valuable points in the process. Other than that slight error, the 2018 World bronze medalist landed a great triple axel and easy triple Lutz, as well as received good marks for other elements. Kolyada received a total score of 93.52 points.

The competition shockingly ended early for the 2019 World bronze medalist Vincent Zhou today. The three-time U.S. national silver medalist fell on his opening quad Lutz, which was also downgraded, under-rotated both jumps in his quad Salchow-triple toe loop combination, and fell for a second time on a quarter under-rotated triple axel. The 20-year-old American received a low short program score of 70.51 points and only placed twenty fifth, missing out of the free skate by 0.23 points.

The judges’ scores can be found here.

Results after short program:

  1. Yuzuru HANYU (Japan) – 106.98
  2. Yuma KAGIYAMA (Japan) – 100.96
  3. Nathan CHEN (United States) – 98.85
  4. Mikhail KOLYADA (Figure Skating Federation of Russia) – 93.52
  5. Keegan MESSING (Canada) – 93.51
  6. Shoma UNO (Japan) – 92.62
  7. Jason BROWN (United States) – 91.25
  8. Junhwan CHA (South Korea) – 91.15
  9. Kevin AYMOZ (France) – 88.24
  10. Evgeni SEMENENKO (Figure Skating Federation of Russia) – 86.86
  11. Matteo RIZZO (Italy) – 83.30
  12. Han YAN (China) – 81.52
  13. Michal BREZINA (Czech Republic) – 81.43
  14. Deniss VASILJEVS (Latvia) – 81.22
  15. Daniel GRASSL (Italy) – 79.43
  16. Konstantin MILYUKOV (Belarus) – 78.86
  17. Lukas BRITSCHGI (Switzerland) – 78.27
  18. Alexei BYCHENKO (Israel) – 78.05
  19. Boyang JIN (China) – 77.95
  20. Nikolaj MAJOROV (Sweden) – 75.59
  21. Morisi KVITELASHVILI (Georgia) – 74.66
  22. Ivan SHMURATKO (Ukraine) – 73.98
  23. Donovan CARRILLO (Mexico) – 73.91
  24. Aleksandr SELEVKO (Estonia) – 70.74

Did not advance to free skate:

  1. Vincent ZHOU (United States) – 70.51
  2. Paul FENTZ (Germany) – 68.43
  3. Vladimir LITVINTSEV (Azerbaijan) – 68.43
  4. Basar OKTAR (Turkey) – 67.14
  5. Maurizio ZANDRON (Austria) – 63.88
  6. Peter James HALLAM (Great Britain) – 61.56
  7. Valtter VIRTANEN (Finland) – 60.27
  8. Mikhail SHAIDOROV (Kazakhstan) – 59.14
  9. Larry LOUPOLOVER (Bulgaria) – 58.93

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