Even though 19-year-old Japanese phenom Yuzuru Hanyu came away from Friday’s free skate with a gold medal, his program was far from the exuberant performance we’ve come to expect from athletes on top. He appeared shaky, nervous — even falling twice, though his standing coming out of Thursday’s short program helped boost him to the night’s top honor.
Patrick Chan of Canada, a three-time world champion and Hanyu’s closest competitor, started his routine strong but seemed to pull back — and make several mistakes — as he went along. In the end, his “safe” skate — in the words of commentator and former Olympian Tara Lipinski — netted him the silver.
Khazakstan’s Dennis Ten wound up winning the bronze, bringing home his country’s first medal in the sport.
The competition seemed diminished by the confidence-shaking events of the previous evening, when Russian favorite and retiring skater Evgeni Plushenko hurt himself during the warm-up to the men’s short program and had to withdraw just minutes before he was scheduled to make his final Olympic showing.
Also on Thursday evening, Team USA’s Jeremy Abbott took a hard spill at the beginning of his program, though he rallied and finished the routine, nailing the rest of his elements. Abbot turned in a consistent performance in Friday’s free skate, winding up in twelfth place overall.
What was your favorite moment from Friday’s winter games? Were you jazzed to see skeleton athlete Lizzy Yarnold take home Britain’s first gold of the games? Did you cry along with Noelle Pikus-Pace when she retired as a silver medalist in that same event? Have you checked out curling yet? Sound off in the comments!Follow @kimroots