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Hanyu botches combo, still comes out on top

Takahashi falls on triple Axel, finishes fourth; Miner, Aaron sit ninth, 10th

Yuzuru Hanyu opened up a 2.57-point lead despite missing his triple-triple combination.
Yuzuru Hanyu opened up a 2.57-point lead despite missing his triple-triple combination. (Getty Images)

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By International Skating Union
(02/08/2013) - Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan took the lead in the men's short program at the 2013 Four Continents Figure Skating Championships. China's Han Yan came in second, and Richard Dornbush of the U.S. finished third.

Skating to "Parisian Walkways," Hanyu hit a quadruple toe loop and triple Axel, as well as difficult spins, but he did only a single Lutz-triple toe loop combination. The Japanese champion, who finished second at this event in 2011, scored 87.65 points.

"I do not feel good about my performance," the reigning world bronze medalist said. "I think I missed the Lutz because my timing was a bit fast.

"I did not feel the pressure from being the national champion. I did not focus on winning or losing to Daisuke [Takahashi] or Takahito [Mura] -- I was focusing on my own performance."

Yan's tango routine featured a triple Axel, quadruple toe loop and a triple Lutz-triple toeloop. The reigning world junior champion earned a season's best of 85.08 points.

"I am very pleased with what I did. I did all my elements," Yan said. "I don't have a special goal for this event, this being my first (international) senior competition. I don't expect a medal or anything; I am here to learn. Today's result won't put pressure on me. I just want to show what I can do in practice [I can do] in the free skate, and want to do all my elements."

Dornbush produced a quadruple toe loop, triple Lutz-triple toe and three Level 4 spins in his program set to "With or Without You" by U2, but he touched down with his hand on the triple Axel. He collected a season's best 83.01 points.

"I felt really good, mostly because I was not expected to be here," Dornbush said. "Skating better than at nationals was very fulfilling. I was called up on Sunday, and I came up here. I just want to end the season with a high note."

After winning the silver at the Finlandia Trophy, the Californian placed fifth and sixth at his two Grand Prix events. He credits his improved health for his short-program result in Osaka.

"My international season didn't go as well as I had hoped," Dornbush said. "I feel better now, at this point in the season, than in the international one, because my ankle had been hurting a lot, and it was difficult to train."

Takahashi is ranked fourth with 82.62 points after falling on his triple Axel and landing an ugly quad toe.

Ross Miner took ninth after amassing 74.01 points. He popped his opening quad into a double but skated clean the rest of the way.

"It was wonderful to be out there with such a supportive crowd," Miner said. "I wish I could have done a better quad. I did a good one in the warm-up, and I rushed my timing in the program. Lesson learned. It's another opportunity to get feedback and improve into worlds."

Recently crowned U.S. champion Max Aaron placed 10th with 72.46 points. He fell on his triple Axel and managed to tack on only a double toe to his opening quad Salchow.

"Definitely not the way I wanted to start off, but I still have the world championships," Aaron said. "I'm glad I had the opportunity to be here and to learn from it going into worlds."