Stumble can't loosen Hanyu's iron grip on Super Slam

Despite mistakes in yesterday's free skate, Japan's Yuzuru Hanyu sealed the Four Continents title by a 24.6-point margin over Jason Brown. PHOTO: REUTERS
Despite mistakes in yesterday's free skate, Japan's Yuzuru Hanyu sealed the Four Continents title by a 24.6-point margin over Jason Brown. PHOTO: REUTERS

SEOUL • Japan's two-time Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu clinched his first Four Continents title yesterday, becoming the first male skater to complete the "Super Slam".

He skated to Japanese composer Shigeru Umebayashi's Seimei for his free skate, relying on the familiar music that secured his second Olympic gold two years ago at the Pyeongchang Winter Games in South Korea.

The Japanese figure skating star hit a quad Salchow, quad toe-Euler-triple Salchow, a triple Axel, a triple flip, as well as level-four spins and footwork, but stumbled on the quad Lutz and fell on an under-rotated quad toe. He scored 187.60 points and racked up 299.42 points overall to secure the title after three previous silver medals at the tournament.

"There was a little bit of a problem with the ice before I skated. Because of that, I was unusually nervous but I think I tried my best," said the 25-year-old, who set a world record score of 111.82 points in the short programme on Friday.

"I was disappointed (with my mistakes) but I will be able to prepare for the world championships by analysing today's mistakes and I'd like to improve my skating to not repeat these mistakes in other competitions."

With the victory, he became the first male skater to complete the "Super Slam" of junior world title, world title, Olympic gold, Grand Prix Final and continental championship.

American skater Jason Brown claimed the silver medal with an emotional performance to Schindler's List, posting a personal best score of 180.11 points and 274.82 points overall.

"I'm super excited. I was really focused on going out there and skating my best performance that I could," he said.

Japan's 16-year-old Yuma Kagiyama delivered an impressive performance to the Tucker soundtrack and grabbed the bronze with 270.61 points in his International Skating Union championship debut. Jin Boyang of China slipped from second to fourth after popping two planned quads into doubles to finish with 267.67 points, while South Korea's Cha Jun-hwan came up from sixth to fifth at 265.43 points.

Four Continents features top skaters from Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas. Japan finished with three medals in the competition - two gold and one bronze, while the United States bagged four including one gold. China and Canada took two each while South Korea won one.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 10, 2020, with the headline 'Stumble can't loosen Hanyu's iron grip on Super Slam'. Print Edition | Subscribe