Lady luck shines on spirited Fernandez

Javier Fernandez competing during the free skate programme on Friday. The Spaniard produced a flawless performance to keep his world figure skating crown.
Javier Fernandez competing during the free skate programme on Friday. The Spaniard produced a flawless performance to keep his world figure skating crown. PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

BOSTON • Javier Fernandez needed a little luck to keep his world figure skating crown out of the hands of Olympic and world champion Yuzuru Hanyu, and he got it.

On Friday at the World Figure Skating Championships, the stars aligned for the Spaniard, who sailed through his Guys and Dolls routine with nary a wobble, knocking off three picture-perfect quadruple jumps - a toe-loop and two salchows, one in combination with a triple toe.

Fittingly, at one point in his choreography with Frank Sinatra singing Luck be a Lady Tonight, Fernandez blew on imaginary dice for good luck. It worked.

The crowd at Boston's TD Garden roared its approval as Fernandez was awarded 216.44 for his free skate, the second best score of all time, and 314.93 in total.

"I told myself, 'I have a chance to win and I have to do a clean programme', and I did," he said. "It was not an easy day, not an easy month with a couple of injuries.

He revealed that a sore swollen heel had threatened to derail his title defence.

Hanyu benefited from the 12-point cushion he earned in the short programme and the stumbles that befell his arch-rival Patrick Chan to hang on for silver after an error-strewn free-skate put his medal hopes in jeopardy.

He earned just 184.61 for his finale set to the soundtrack of the Japanese film Seimei.

That score was 34 points short of his own record.

The Japanese tallied 295.17 in all, well short of his monster score of 330.43 at the Grand Prix Final last December.

"I'm disappointed," he said. "To skate a good programme, I need to balance my body and my mental (approach) and I was probably not able to do that too well today."

The bronze went to China's jumping phenomenon Jin Boyang, who collected 181.13 for his free skate, 270.99 overall.

It was the first men's world championships medal for China.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on April 03, 2016, with the headline 'Lady luck shines on spirited Fernandez'. Print Edition | Subscribe