Sochi / Russia

The figure skating competition at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games continued in Sochi, Russia, on Friday with the Men’s Free Skating

Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN) strikes Olympic gold
Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu struck gold at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games on Friday and became the first Japanese man to win the title. His win was also the first gold medal for Japan at Sochi 2014. Patrick Chan of Canada took the silver medal and Denis Ten of Kazakhstan surged from ninth after the Short Program to capture the bronze.

Skating to “Romeo and Juliet” by Nino Rota, Hanyu landed a quadruple toeloop and seven triples including two Axels, but fell on a quadruple Salchow and a triple flip. The 19-year-old scored 178.64 points for the Free Skating and accumulated 280.09 points overall to skate to the title in his debut at the Olympic Winter Games. "Oh my God. I'm so surprised. I can't find the words. It was such a difficult program for me and I felt rough, physically. I'm just shocked," Hanyu said. "I was trying not to think about winning a gold medal, but I couldn't deflect the pressure, which was massive. I'm so proud of this feat as a Japanese. The Olympics is so wild and unpredictable. I've never been this nervous for a competition in my entire life. I'm upset with the performance I had, but I left everything I had out there."

Chan's routine to “Four Seasons” and “Concerto Grosso” featured a quadruple-triple toeloop combination and four triple jumps, but he made errors on his second quad toe and the triple Axel. The three-time World Champion earned 178.10 points for this performance and totaled 275.62 points. "My plan was to take all the elements one thing at a time. I wanted to focus on myself, but I made several little mistakes. Figure skating is hard," Chan said. "There was a lot of pressure to win the gold for Canada, but I really wanted to do it for myself. Feeling the medal slip away was definitely a lingering thought. I'm disappointed, but life goes on”, the 23-year-old said.

Ten, who skated in the penultimate flight, produced a quadruple toeloop and seven clean triple jumps to score 171.04 points. Overall he racked up 255.10 points and won the first Olympic figure skating medal for Kazakhstan."Today what happened is a very big accomplishment winning the first medal for my country, Ten said. "This is a gift to my compatriots and to my country. I hope it's not the highest achievement in my life. This (performance) was definitely my season's best. I'm glad about all the jumps and I tried my best in my choreography. I hope people enjoyed it.“

Javier Fernandez (ESP), who stood in third place following the Short Program, slipped to fourth with a total of 253.92 points.  Tatsukie Machida (JPN) pulled up from 11th to fifth, while 2010 Olympic bronze medalist Daisuke Takahashi (JPN) came sixth.

Hanyu is the second youngest Olympic men's champion. Dick Button (USA) was the youngest when he won the title aged 18 at the St Moritz 1948 Games.

The figure skating competition at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games continues Sunday with the Short Dance