Figure Skating

Yuzuru Hanyu breaks own world record in men's short program at Four Continents

Kyodo, AP

Two-time defending Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu broke new ground to an old tune on Friday when he took the lead at the Four Continents Championship with a world-record score in the men’s short program.

Hanyu opened with a quad salchow and followed with a quad toe loop/triple toe loop combination to score 111.82 points as he took to the ice to the accompaniment of “Chopin’s Ballade No. 1,” the music he used for his short program at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics and just returned to at this competition.

China’s Jin Boyang was second with 95.83, while American Jason Brown finished third (94.71).

“It feels like it was the first time I’ve been able to skate without thinking in a long time,” said Hanyu, who broke his own world record of 110.53 points that was set at the 2018 Cup of Russia.

“I was able to really enjoy myself again. I so wanted to deliver a good performance, and the crowd responded. Of all the times I’ve skated to Ballade No. 1, this was the best.”

Following his program, the rink was littered with so many stuffed dolls that Hanyu appeared compelled to help the young skaters scoop them from the ice for the next skater.

Yuma Kagiyama marked his senior international debut with a career-best 91.61. The 16-year-old, whose father, Masakazu, competed for Japan in figure skating at the 1992 and 1994 Winter Olympics, won the 2020 Winter Youth Olympics men’s title in January.

In December, Kagiyama was third at the Japan Championships.

“My short program hasn’t been that good this year, so I went for broke. I’m glad I could skate a clean routine,” Kagiyama said. “I came in as an underdog, so I wasn’t nervous.”

Kazuki Tomono placed seventh (88.22).

In ice dance, Madison Chock and Evan Bates of the United States defended their title, finishing first with 213.18 points. Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier of Canada were second with 210.18 points, while Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donahue, also of the United States, were third with 208.72.

Chock slipped on a transition move but the couple recovered.

“It was a testament on how well-trained we are,” Bates said, “because we picked up really quickly from this fall that took us by surprise.”

Nathan Chen, an American who won the world title in 2019, is not taking part in the event. The men’s free skate is on Sunday.