Figure Skating

Yuzuru Hanyu takes commanding lead at Helsinki Grand Prix

AP, Kyodo

Yuzuru Hanyu leads comfortably after the men’s short program at the Helsinki Grand Prix after landing two clean quads.

The two-time defending Olympic champion was nearly flawless in the Saturday skate, aside from a wobble coming out of his quad toe-triple toe combination. He earned 106.69 points to open his first GP event of the season.

Hanyu will go into Sunday’s free skate with a commanding lead over second-place Michal Brezina, who received 93.31 points. The Czech also made no significant errors but was slightly less ambitious than Hanyu, putting his quad salchow-triple toe combination at the opening — compared to later on for Hanyu.

China’s Jin Boyang was in a distant third (85.97). Keiji Tanaka was seventh (80.60) in the 11-man field.

Despite dominating the field, Hanyu said “I need to train more.”

Brezina, who is bouncing back from a couple of disappointing seasons, said he’s been feeling more relaxed as he gets older.

“I’m not really thinking about skating as the main thing that stresses me out,” the 28-year-old said.