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Flawless Hanyu enjoys historic day at NHK Trophy

Olympic champ first skater to notch 200-point free, 300-point overall score
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Yuzuru Hanyu was simply amazing in his record-setting free skate, as the Olympic champion became the first skater to score over 200 points in the segment (216.07) and 300 points overall (322.40). The Japanese skater pumped his fist when it was all over, cruising to gold and clinching his fifth trip to the Grand Prix Final. -Getty Images

Yuzuru Hanyu reached a new height at the 2015 NHK Trophy, becoming the first skater ever to score more than 300 points under the international judging system. 

Coming into Saturday's free skate with the lead, Hanyu skated a flawless routine to the song "Seimei" to set a new world record. He opened his program, choreographed by Shae-Lynn Bourne, with a quad salchow, then successfully landed a quad toe. He continued with a triple flip, and, after a step sequence, landed a clean qudruple toe-triple toe combination in the second half. 

Overall, he compiled three quads and seven triples, and every element, from the jumps to the spins to the steps, received positive Grades of Execution (GOEs) from the judges. His program was perfect, and the Japanese spectators were on their feet by the end. He received a score of 216.07 points for the free to come away with 322.40 points overall, both marking all-time highs for the sport.

"I'm so excited; I don't know what to say," Hanyu said. "I was aiming for scoring over 200 points in the free, and 300 in total. I was aware that I was putting myself under pressure and tried to control myself."  

The previous high score was Patrick Chan's 196.75-point free skate and 295.27-point overall score, both of which he recorded at 2013 Trophée Eric Bompard. Hanyu broke the free skate record by almost 20 points and took the overall mark by more than 25 points.  

"Such a great moment. It was magical," Hanyu's coach, Brian Orser, said in front of a big group of Japanese journalists. "All of us will remember this forever."

When asked if this score would be broken someday, Orser replied, "If it does, it will be by him."

Boyang Jin hung on to take silver after turning in a 170.79-point free to finish with 266.43 points overall. In his program to "Dragon Racing" by John Powell, Jin had planned to perform four quads. He opened with a flawless quad lutz, which he performed with ease, but he stepped out of his second jump, a quad salchow. He managed to pull out quad toe-triple toe combination in the second half of the routine, but he doubled his fourth planned quad, a toe loop.

"Overall, I did OK, but there were many small mistakes," Jin said.

When asked how many quads he thinks men's skaters will need to compete for a medal at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea, Jin answered, "I think four is enough," causing the reporters to chuckle.

Both Hanyu and Jin qualified for the Grand Prix Final. 

Third place went to Takahito Mura, who landed two quad toes (one in combination). He made some mistakes toward the end of his free skate and finished with a total score of 242.21, which was good enough to stay in third place overall.

"I'm not quite where I'm hoping to be, but I skated much better here than at Skate America, and it feels good to be on a same podium with Yuzuru again," Mura said. 

Team USA's Grant Hochstein rallied from eighth in the short program to finish fourth overall. Skating to music from Les Misérables, he landed a clean quad toe in the beginning of his program and went on to successfully land a triple axel-double toe combination as well as seven more triples. 

"I felt good. It was very important for me to do a quad," Hochstein said. "I've never done it in an international competition until yesterday. I've learned to trust my coaches, Peter [Oppegard] and Karen [Kwan-Oppegard], and they are sending me in the right direction"  

Hochstein finished third in the free skate, missing the podium by less than six points.

Another U.S. skater, Richard Dornbush, had a rough day. Skating to "Yellow" and "Viva la Vida" by Coldplay, Dornbush fell on his opening quad toe. He made a few other mistakes and received a score of 139.30 for his free skate to finish with 217.50 points overall, good for eighth place. 

"I had a tough time in this competition, especially with injuries," Dornbush said of his strained back and shin troubles. "I was happy to be able to get through the program. Now, I'm going to go home and take some time off to let my injury heal."

Maxim Kovtun headed into the free skate in fourth but made several mistakes on his jumps to fall to 10th place overall. Kovtun had a shot to make the Grand Prix Final but will miss the event for the first time since he moved up to the senior level three years ago. 

The men's field at the Grand Prix Final will consist of Javier Fernández, Hanyu, Shoma Uno, Jin, Patrick Chan and Daisuke Murakami.