Humble Hanyu wins Finlandia with grace on, off ice

Dornbush impresses with best technical scores, takes silver; Weir thanks fans

The men's medalists at Finlandia -- Spain's Javier Fernandez (left), the United States' Ricky Dornbush (center) and Japan's Yuzuru Hanyu -- finished well ahead of the rest of the field.
The men's medalists at Finlandia -- Spain's Javier Fernandez (left), the United States' Ricky Dornbush (center) and Japan's Yuzuru Hanyu -- finished well ahead of the rest of the field. (Janis Engel)


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By Jyrki Pirkkalainen, special to
(10/06/2012) - Talk about a humble winner.

Japan's Yuzuru Hanyu not only bowed to the podium before stepping onto it as the 2012 Finlandia Trophy men's champion, but after the victory ceremony, he went to get some ice from a bucket and give the ice patchers a helping hand.

Maybe the 2011 world junior champion wanted to make up for leaving sweat stains on the ice. The 17-year-old was so exhausted after skating a difficulty-laden clean program, complete with two different quads, that he had to lay down on the ice to recover for a while to be able to bow to the audience.

"I am pleased, but it was still not perfect", Hanyu said about his performance. "I don't have specific goals for this season. I want to take the time to get to know my new coach's style," he explained, referring to his Canadian coach, Brian Orser.

Not far behind the Japanese, Richard Dornbush from the U.S. skated the program of his life, and, in fact, even beat Hanyu in the technical elements scores. Apart from a fall on his second quad toe loop, the 21-year-old nailed everything. A special highlight was his triple Lutz-triple toe combination, with arms raised over his head on both jumps.

"I came very close to what I can do at this point of the season," Dornbush said. "The quad had been giving me some trouble earlier this week, but I was able to do the first one [in the program]. Otherwise, I just wanted to stay calm and not get overexcited."

A new personal best of 239.99 points lifted him up to second place in the final standings. The skater announced that his goal is to make it to the Grand Prix Final.

Spain's Javier Fernandez delivered one of his planned three quads beautifully, but ran out of steam in the latter half of his Charlie Chaplin program. The winner of Friday's short program dropped to third but scored a respectable 235.20 points.

"There were both good and bad things in my program," the Spaniard said. "I tried my best today, but I was nervous about going onto the ice because I caught a cold."

Johnny Weir concluded his comeback after a 32-month break from competitive skating with fourth place and 201.42 points. The 28-year-old had small problems on most of his elements, like the two-footed landing on the quad toe loop.

"It was a very difficult day for me, but I'm very proud of myself that I actually came back to competition," the three-time U.S. champion said. "My quad today was more clean than the one in the short program. I changed my program quite a lot after the mistake on the triple loop. I took out some transitions, which will surely show in scores, and had to focus on my breathing."

While most other skaters said their main goal for this competition was to get feedback from the judges, Weir had a different view.

"I want you to write in your articles that saying thank you to my fans is the most important thing about this competition," he advised the journalists. "I hope my fans will stay with me throughout the Grand Prix, U.S. nationals and hopefully worlds."