Hanyu, Medvedeva re­tain ti­tles de­spite flaws

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Ja­pan’s Yuzuru Hanyu be­came the first skater to win four straight men’s Grand Prix Fi­nal ti­tles on Saturday as Rus­sian teenager Ev­ge­nia Medvedeva de­fended her women’s crown. Olympic cham­pion Hanyu took gold de­spite a fall which saw the 22-year-old place just third in the free skat­ing fi­nal in Mar­seille. Amer­i­can Nathan Chen landed four quadru­ple jumps in his free skate to move up from fifth to sil­ver medal po­si­tion with Ja­pan’s Shoma Uno tak­ing a sec­ond con­sec­u­tive bronze.

The three men’s favourites-Hanyu, Spa­niard Javier Fer­nan­dez and Cana­dian Pa­trick Chan-all had bad tum­bles dur­ing the elite six-skater com­pe­ti­tion. “I don’t know what hap­pened to­day. I was feel­ing a lit­tle tired, ev­ery jump was hard,” said Hanyu who scored 293.90 points in to­tal, over ten points ahead of Chen (282.85), who put the US men back on the podium for the first time since 2009, with Uno scor­ing 282.51.

Reign­ing two-time world cham­pion Fer­nan­dez (268.77) and for­mer three-time world cham­pion Chan (266.75) saw their chal­lenges col­lapse to fourth and fifth re­spec­tively. Amer­i­can Adam Rip­pon fin­ished sixth. Chen, 17, gave a re­mark­able per­for­mance with the top score of 197.55 points for his free skate to Polovt­sian Dances-ten points bet­ter than Hanyu achieved for his skate to Hope and Legacy by Joe Hi­saishi. But Hanyu nev­er­the­less held his top place from the short pro­gramme to be­come the sec­ond man to win four ti­tles af­ter Rus­sian Yevgeny Plushenko, but first to win four in a row.

“The pro­gramme is on the theme of hope and legacy and this is like my life, or my skat­ing life,” ex­plained for­mer world cham­pion Hanyu. “Some peo­ple hate me, lots of peo­ple love me, so some­times I am sad and some­times I am happy. These two halves are what the pro­gramme shows.” Ear­lier Medvedeva nar­rowly missed out on an his­toric all-time score to win her sec­ond women’s ti­tle as Cana­di­ans Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir made a win­ning return by claim­ing the ice danc­ing crown. The 17-year-old Medvedeva earned 227.66 points, just a point off the record to­tal of 228.6 set by South Korean star Kim Yu-na six years ago. Ja­pan’s Sa­toko Miya­hara scored 218.33 for sec­ond place with Anna Po­go­ri­laya of Rus­sia tak­ing third place with 216.47. Medvedeva was far from per­fect with an er­ror on a triple flip at the start of her rou­tine to the mu­sic of Alexan­dre De­s­plat de­priv­ing her of the record score. “I ex­pected more from my­self. I wanted to do more and I could have done more,” said Medvedeva.

But the world cham­pion nev­er­the­less fin­ished nearly 10 points ahead of 18-year-old Miya­hara thanks to her in­cred­i­ble per­for­mance in Fri­day’s short pro­gramme where her 79.21 points eclipsed Mao Asada’s record 78.66 two years ago. There were four Rus­sians in the sixskater field with Maria Sot­skova fin­ish­ing fifth and Elena Ra­dionova sixth. Canada’s Kaet­lyn Os­mond was fourth. Virtue and Moir, the 2010 Olympic cham­pi­ons, have come back strong af­ter two sea­sons off, win­ning the only ti­tle to have eluded them in their long ca­reer.

The Cana­di­ans scored 197.22 points to take gold ahead of two-time world cham­pion ice dancers Gabriella Pa­padakis and Guil­laume Cize­ron of France (192.81) along­side whom they train in Mon­treal. “For us this ti­tle is re­ally huge,” said Moir of a cham­pi­onship where they took sil­ver four times. —

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