Yuzuru Hanyu’s back is up against the wall — just as rival Nathan Chen has lifted the weight of the world off his shoulders.

The two concluded Tuesday’s short program at the Beijing 2022 men’s figure skating competition separated by 18.82 points, leaving Hanyu’s potential third straight Olympic gold in doubt after Chen walked out of the Capital Indoor Arena as the clear leader in a talented pack that includes second-place Yuma Kagiyama and third-place Shoma Uno.

“If I try to think about what went wrong, nothing comes to mind,” Hanyu said after opening his short program set to “Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso” with a popped quad salchow, shocking the crowd of hundreds in attendance.