Hanyu wins short with record-setting performanceOlympic champ posts score of 106.33 en route to taking 10-point lead
Yuzuru Hanyu showed Friday that when he's at his best, he's untouchable.
At the final stop in the 2015 Grand Prix Series, the NHK Trophy in Nagano, Japan, Hanyu excited the home crowd by setting a new world record in the men's short program Friday. Skating to a ballade by Frédéric Chopin, the Olympic champion successfully landed a quad salchow, quad toe-triple toe combination and triple axel. It was the first time Hanyu included two quads in his short and also the first time he landed a quad-triple combo in competition.
The judges rewarded him by giving him the highest score ever under the international judging system: 106.33.
"I really don't have much to say about the score. I know I should have been surprised, but what was more important for me was that I finally skated this program clean," Hanyu said at the press conference.
This is the second season that Hanyu has used this program, which was choreographed by Jeffrey Buttle, but he has never skated it error-free -- until today. Since Skate Canada, where he finished second to Patrick Chan, the three-time Japanese champion decided to change the jump content in the program.
"I was trying quad salchow and quad toe loop from spread eagle at the exhibition practice in Canada, and they felt good. So I decided to give myself a new challenge," Hanyu said.
When asked if taking out the lutz, the jump he has had problems with in the past, gave him some relief, he replied right away.
"No, not really," he said. "Trust me, it wasn't easy. I had to work really, really hard (to include two quads)."
He exceeded the previous world record, set by himself at the Sochi Olympics, by nearly five points. But he is not celebrating yet.
"I still have to skate tomorrow," Hanyu said.
Boyang Jin from China also skated a clean program with two quads and sits in second place with a score of 95.64. At the Cup of China three weeks ago, he became the first skater to land a quad lutz in combination, and he repeated that feat here in Nagano.
"I'm happy that I was able to land all my jumps today. I was able to show how I skate at practice," the 18 year-old Chinese champion said through an interpreter.
Takahito Mura skated a clean program that included a quad toe, triple axel and triple lutz-triple toe combination, receiving 88.29 points for his effort.
"I did not skate well at Skate America (where he finished 10th), and I was very frustrated. So I was determined to skate better here," Mura said.
Russia's Maxim Kovtun is in fourth place after landing his quad salchow-triple toe combination but falling on his triple axel.
Team USA's Richard Dornbush landed his first jump, a quad toe, but touched a hand down on his triple axel and sits seventh with a season's-best score of 78.20. His countryman, Grant Hochstein, pulled out a quad toe and a triple axel to earn a personal-best 74.30 points, putting him in eighth.
The overall level of the event was very high. Of the 12 competitors, 10 performed at least one quad, with the top two landing two apiece.
Hanyu was asked if he thought that trying two quads in the short was going to become the norm rather than the exception.
"Not everyone can do two quads in the short program, and that is due to their style of skating," Hanyu said. "If someone has one quad with good spins and good steps, like Takahito, I think he still can be very competitive. I was able to score over 100 when I only did one quad."
He said, "A skater like Jason Brown didn't do quad, but he had good component marks and earned high GOE (Grade of Execution) with his good quality triple jumps. I agree with Hanyu, that it will depend on a skater's style."