Figure Skating

Hanyu focused ahead of season opener

Kyodo

Quad king Yuzuru Hanyu arrived in Montreal on Wednesday as his second Winter Olympic campaign swings into action with the Autumn Classic International, his first event of the 2017-2018 figure skating season.

Showing calm before the storm, Hanyu, the reigning Olympic and world champion, did not let the effects of travel fatigue get to him, saying “I’m OK” when asked how he is feeling physically after his flight.

The 22-year-old from Miyagi Prefecture became the first male Japanese skater in history to win Olympic gold in Sochi in 2014, and will be looking to add another gold to his collection of medals at the Pyeongchang Olympics in February next year.

At the Sept. 20-23 event in Sportplexe Pierrefonds, Hanyu will compete against 15 other entries, the lineup including two-time world champion Javier Fernandez of Spain who is also his training partner at the Toronto facility where he is currently based.

Daisuke Murakami is the only other Japanese competing in the men’s field.

The Autumn Classic is a lower-level event in Quebec which is also considered a tune-up for the Rostelecom Cup, the first of six ISU Grand Prix series which takes place Oct. 20-22 in Moscow.

The men’s short program will be held Friday evening and the men’s free skate the following day as the last of four programs for senior skaters.

Meanwhile, 18-year-old Mai Mihara, who along with Rin Nitaya will compete in the women’s field, took part in an official training session on Wednesday.

“In both the training rink and competition rink I was able to find my (skating) sense. If I take a leap of faith I should be able to do this,” said Mihara, who won the Four Continents in South Korea in February.

The women’s short program is scheduled for Thursday and the free skate for Saturday.