Yuzuru Hanyu Writes Another Chapter in Figure Skating Legend South Korea — At a figure-skating competition in Moscow last October, Yuzuru Hanyu was told that he resembled to some a heroic character, delicate but fierce, from the Japanese tradition of anime. He did not see himself that way, the slender, long-legged Hanyu said in an interview, his hair flopping over one eyebrow. But with a smile, he added, “I like to win with some drama.”. He could have had no idea how much drama lay ahead. Less than three weeks later, Hanyu sustained ligament damage to his right ankle while rehearsing a difficult four-revolution jump. Nearly four months elapsed before he could compete again, here at the Winter Olympics, but he showed little erosion of skill or victorious determination from the layoff. Skating on Saturday, Hanyu, 23, did not perform flawlessly before what was essentially a home crowd, in an arena where fans waved dozens of Japanese flags. But he displayed sufficient stamina, jumping ability, elastic spins and ethereal grace to win a second consecutive gold medal, becoming the first men’s repeat Olympic champion since Dick Button of the United States in 1948 and 1952. The ankle is not completely healed, and Hanyu said he worried at times before the Games whether he would be able to skate again. But the injured joint held up enough to support another winning performance, with 317.85 points. Afterward, Hanyu said playfully, “I’d like to thank my ankle, you did a good job.” He prevailed with a strategy of restraint, avoiding the riskiest quadruple jumps in his four-and-a-half-minute routine and relying on the completeness of his ability. His countryman, Shoma Uno, 20, took the silver medal with 306.90 points. And Javier Fernandez, 26, a training partner of Hanyu’s, won Spain’s first Olympic skating medal, taking bronze with 305.24 points.   Even though Nathan Chen of the United States, who was among the early favorites, did not reach the medal podium, he did find some measure of redemptive satisfaction — and perhaps some sting of regret — with a performance of audacious ambition that brought him fifth place over all. Vincent Zhou of the United States finished sixth, and Adam Rippon, also of the United States, was 10th.     With nothing to lose after finishing a disastrous 17th in Friday’s short program, Chen became the first Olympian to land five quadruple jumps cleanly in a routine and actually attempted six, but he put his hands to the ice on a quad flip. He still won the free skate. He made the decision to attempt six quads on Friday night, after the short program. Relieved of expectation and feeling “just an anger,” he told himself, “I’ll just go for it.” “I definitely did want to redeem myself after the two short programs that I did here,” Chen said in reference to his mistake-filled performances in the team and singles competition. He added: “As much as I tried to deny it, I felt the pressure a lot before the short program, especially thinking about scores and placement and all that. And that was completely out of my control. That just tightened me up and made me really cautious on the ice. I just had to completely forget about expectations and allow myself to be myself.”     By contrast, Hanyu was every bit himself in both the Olympic short and long program — unhurried, resolute, staking a claim to be the greatest skater ever with his speed, artistry, coverage of the ice and technical skill. Reached by telephone in New York, Button said of Hanyu, “I think he’s beautiful; he moves like a dream.” Wearing a white tunic on Saturday, Hanyu performed as a character out of Japanese folklore: Abe no Seimei, a spiritual adviser and astrologer from the 11th century with Merlin-like mystical powers. He received one perfect score of 10 for musical interpretation and two 10s for the design of his program. Hanyu can appear so relaxed on the ice that Julian Yee, a Malaysian skater, said he “looks like he wakes up from bed and goes and jumps.” Photo     On Nov. 9, though, Hanyu’s Olympic chances grew uncertain, when he landed awkwardly while rehearsing a quad lutz before a competition in Japan. It is the most difficult of the four-revolution jumps currently being performed. Hanyu was trying to perfect the lutz, in part, to match Chen’s magnificent jumping ability. But Hanyu’s legs pretzeled upon landing the jump. He would not be able to train again on the ice for about two months. As he recovered, he rehearsed the jumps on the floor of his training center in Toronto and used visualization techniques to imagine himself completing the maneuvers in competition. “My strength is, I’m able to really analyze myself and have that image and try to match that with the physical skating,” Hanyu said Saturday. He arrived at the Olympics, having been able to practice his triple axel for only about three weeks and his quad jumps for two weeks. He avoided the risky quad lutz at these Games, performing instead two quad salchows and two quad toeloops, which are considered easier and more reliable, in his long program. Continue reading the main story   Photo  .

Yuzuru Hanyu Writes Another Chapter in Figure Skating Legend
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