defends Olympic title, Uno takes silver
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[February 17, 2018]
By Gabrielle Tetrault-Farber and Elaine Lies
GANGNEUNG, South Korea (Reuters) -
Japan's Yuzuru Hanyu took gold in the men's singles competition on
Saturday despite several mistakes in an otherwise mesmerizing
programme, becoming the first man in 66 years to defend his Olympic
title and giving Japan its first Pyeongchang gold.
Skating in front of a crowd of euphoric supporters at the Gangneung
Ice Arena, the 23-year-old took steps out of his quad toeloop and
triple Lutz. But those errors did not stop him from delivering a
gold-worthy performance despite a gap of weeks in his training after
injuring his ankle last November.
Hanyu, a two-time world champion, finished nearly 11 points overall
ahead of compatriot Shoma Uno. It was the first time Japanese
athletes took two top podium places at a Winter Olympics since 1972.
"Getting to this place was really tough," Hanyu told reporters.
"Because I had time off from skating, I was able to do a lot of
planning and thinking about strategy."
Out of competition since October and off the ice for weeks after a
training fall that injured his ankle in November, Hanyu said his leg
was still not in perfect condition and that a making a full recovery
was his first goal.
"When I was hurt I had a lot of days when I thought I might not be
able to skate again, so now having been able to skate and getting
these good results is really the best," Hanyu later told a news
Japan exploded with joy at his win, the first time a male figure
skater defended his Olympic title since American Dick Button in
1952. Within 90 minutes of Hanyu's victory the hashtag "Hanyu-kun" -
an affectionate diminutive - had been tweeted 1.1 million times and
was the top trend globally.
Skating last, Uno fell on his opening quad loop but fought his way
back to silver, earning a combined total of 306.90 points.
Javier Fernandez, a six-time European champion competing in his last
Olympics, made a wobbly landing on his quad Salchow early in his
programme but regrouped to earn 197.66 points for his free skate and
"I know I didn't do the perfect programme, but I was satisfied with
what I did," Fernandez told reporters.
"It got me an Olympic medal. That's all I've got to say."
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Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics - Men Single free skating
competition final - Gangneung, South Korea - February 17, 2018 -
Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan competes. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj
CHEN REBOUNDS, MAKES HISTORY
Quadruple jump specialist Nathan Chen rebounded from an error-laden
short programme with a historic free skate that put him in the lead
before Hanyu, Uno and Fernandez had skated.
The 18-year-old American, who was 17th after the short programme,
became the first skater to land six quads at the Olympics to earn
215.08 points, nearly 11 more than his personal best. He finished
fifth with a combined total of 297.35.
"I think that after having such a disastrous short programme and
being so, so low in the rankings, lower than almost ever, it allowed
me to completely forget about results and just completely focus on
enjoying myself out on the ice," said Chen, who won bronze with the
U.S. in the team event.
Canada's Patrick Chan, who was sixth going into the free skate after
falling on his triple Axel, stepped out of a triple toeloop and put
his hand down on a triple Axel in the free skate.
Chan, who won gold with Canada in the team event, finished ninth
overall in his last Olympics.
"It was obviously not the dream skate, but I think...from beginning
to end, from day one of the Games to now, I'm very, very happy with
how I held it together," Chan told Reuters.
"I just kept chugging along at goals and achieved the goals I had
(Reporting by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber, Elaine Lies, additional
reporting by Soyoung Kim; Editing by Greg Stutchbury/Amlan
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