Hanyu wins Japan 1st gold in men's single figure skating at PyeongChang Olympics
Defending champion Yuzuru Hanyu won Japan the first gold medal at PyeongChang Olympics on Saturday in men's single figure skating, while Jin Boyang set China's best result in the event as the fourth finisher.
Hanyu won the title with 317.85 points, beating compatriot Shoma Uno and multiple world champion Javier Fernandez of Spain to the second and third on 306.90 and 305.24 respectively.
Jin scored 194.45 points to finish the fifth among 24 skaters in free skating, summing up to 297.77 points in total for the fourth overall.
Hanyu, 23, also become the first figure skater in 66 years to win back-to-back Olympic gold medals in this event.
"I have no words right now. I am overwhelmed. I am just happy with my performance and my hard training and everything," said a teary Hanyu.
"This is the best day of my skating life. My tears were from my heart. I can find one word and that is happy," he added.
More than 5,000 spectators in Gangneung Ice Arena might feel the waves of Deja vu when Hanyu, in a delicately-embroidered costume of ancient Japanese ghost chaser, replayed Seimei, a defining program he staged in 2015-2016 season to bring him to the peak of his career back then, but in a more ethereal way on Saturday.
Despite two stumbling landings after a quad salchow jump and a triple lutz jump, Hanyu finished the routine infectiously with an impressive presentation score of 96.63 points. His favorite yellow Pooh bear toys then rained down onto the rink as Japanese fans were screaming his name and waving banners with his name or cartoon images.
Hanyu, bothered with constant injuries or illness, later told a press conference that he had to "push" himself to finish some elements in the competition.
"I have been through a lot after Sochi, like new programs, injuries, surgeries including those for my right ankle, but I can't quit from figure skating. I hope I can keep challenging myself bravely."
He also attributed the gold medal to Fernandez, a "friend and best competitor" as well.
"Frankly, we both gave a quality performance today, which is not usual," said Hanyu, smiling to the Spanish sitting side by side. "He is a great encouragement for me in the game, when he' s doing well, I wanna do better. This won't happen through training."
Chinese male figure skaters, who made debut in individual event in the 1980 Winter Games, had their record improved from 7th made by Jin's teammate Yan Han in Sochi.
Hopes weighed on the shoulders of Jin, who won the Four Continents Championships last month, as fans back in China believed that he could be the record breaker and even come back home with a medal.
In the Star Wars soundtrack, the 20-year-old Jin presented a powerful and quality program. The only scar of his show was marked when he fell down onto the ice after a quad toeloop jump.
"I was very nervous at first, because in the six minutes warm-up I could not do any element clean and I fell. My legs were shaky. But when I went out to compete, I was not so nervous anymore and I tried my best," Jin said.
Tired and nervous, Jin finally burst into tears in the kiss and cry corner when his score read on the screen.
"It's great to break the Olympic record of my country. I trained so hard over the past four years, to an extent I almost couldn't bear. I cherished every competition, and I need to focus on the details," said Jin.
"I'm young and I have a lot of potentials. I will work hard through the next four years to stand on the podium at the next Olympics in Beijing," he added.