SOCHI, RUSSIA – National and Grand Prix Final men’s champion Yuzuru Hanyu and teammate Tatsuki Machida got in their first practice on Tuesday ahead of the Sochi Games.
Hanyu, who traveled to Russia from Canada, where he trains, did not attempt any quadruple jumps at the practice rink next door to the figure skating venue.
“I had an enjoyable skate,” Hanyu said. “I have no concerns about my physical condition. I am going to be able to push my performance to the limit.”
Wearing his Olympic team jersey for the first time, Hanyu got a feel for the ice and finished his 40-minutes on the ice with a beautiful triple axel.
It’s Hanyu’s second trip to Sochi, following the 2012 Grand Prix Final. He said, however, the atmosphere had changed drastically since he took second place here when the area surrounding the arena was under construction.
“It has become really beautiful. Then there wasn’t a single sunny day,” said Hanyu, who enjoyed practicing in the same group with one of his role models, 2006 Turin Olympic champion Evgeni Pluschenko.
Machida, who arrived in Sochi earlier in the day, nailed a quad but said his left leg was still stiff from his flight in.
“When I travel, my legs aren’t right for a day or two,” he said. “I didn’t do all that well, and I was also rushing a little bit.”