MONTREAL – Olympic and world champion Yuzuru Hanyu opened his season by breaking his own world record in the short program at the Autumn Classic International on Friday night.
The 22-year-old Hanyu pulled off an error-free routine to score 112.72 points, topping the 14-man field and adding 1.77 points to the previous best mark he set at the 2015 Grand Prix Final.
“My program is very clear in terms of what it wants to express. I feel comfortable performing it,” Hanyu said. “I think I was able to grow a little more. I could skate with confidence.”
Two-time world champion Javier Fernandez of Spain is in second place with 101.20, followed by Canada’s Nam Nguyen with 88.40.
Daisuke Murakami is seventh with 70.09.
Hanyu began his free skate to Chopin’s Ballade No. 1 with a quadruple salchow, then went on to land a triple axel and quad toe loop/triple toe loop combination jump.
The Sendai native received level-fours for his spins and step sequence. Hanyu entered the event with some soreness in his right knee and chose not to attempt a quad loop as originally planned.
Hanyu, the 2014 gold medalist in Sochi, is attempting to become the first man in 66 years to win consecutive titles at the Olympics.
American Dick Button captured the gold at the 1948 Games in St. Moritz, Switzerland, and again at the 1952 Games in Oslo.
The free skating is scheduled to take place on Saturday.
Mai Mihara is in second place in the women’s competition going into Saturday’s free skate behind Canada’s Kaetlyn Osmond.
Meanwhile, in Minsk, Nana Araki earned the silver medal at the Belarus Junior Grand Prix on Friday.
Araki, a 15-year-old from Higashiura, Aichi Prefecture, retained her second-place position after the short program to finish behind Russia’s Alexandra Trusova.
Araki posted a total score of 183.00 in the first JGP of her career to join Trusova (196.32) and compatriot Stanislava Konstantinova (181.98) on the podium.
Tatsuya Tsuboi, a 14-year-old from Okazaki, Aichi Prefecture, is in fifth place in the men’s event heading into Saturday’s free skate.
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