Men’s Olympic Figure Skating Ends With Unlikely Winner

Yuzuru Hanyu from Japan survived not one, but two crashes to take the men’s Olympic figure skating competition on Friday.

The event was full of dramatic developments on Thursday’s first round when the favorite to win the gold, local hero Evgeni Plushenko, aggravated a back injury which left him unable to skate his program.

In a shocking development that left the thousands who had packed the Iceberg Skating Arena to watch the Russian dominate the event yet again, they watched instead as he hurt himself during warm-ups.

After several moments which included conferring with his coaches, Plushenko approached the judges and informed them that he was not able to perform, the audience stunned and silent.

Following the biggest disappointment of these games for the host, the evening needed to move on and so American Jeremy Abbott was up next.

Whether it was nerves or lack of concentration Abbott couldn’t complete a jump and fell hard, looking like he would not get up to continue in the Olympic figure skating, however, when he started getting up, the crowd began cheering him on and in an interview after his short program, he confessed that is what made him determined to complete his program.

Abbott finished to a loud ovation and on Friday the four-time US champion moved from 15th to 12th place.

Considering all the elements coming into play on the figure skating men’s competition, Hanyu survived the fall on his opening jump, a quad salchow, but he also crashed while attempting a triple flip.

That would have suggested Canadian Patrick Chan had a sure medal, but he made three mistakes in a lack-luster program and finish second.

This was the first Olympic medals in figure skating for both Japan and Canada, Kazakhstan’s Denis Ten won the bronze at Sochi.

After the 19-year-old finished, he kneeled thinking he had not made it:

“I was so nervous and I was so tired,” he said. “But I was surprised (to win). I was not happy with my program.”

A day after the great Russian figure skater Plushenko withdrew from competition — effectively ending his Olympic figure skating career — the world crowned a new young gold medalist putting Japan on top of the podium for the first time in their history.

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