Throw your Pooh bears in the air, and hurl ’em like you just don’t care!
The Olympic men’s free skate competition took place Friday night at Gangeung Ice Arena in PyeongChang, a rink that had been littered with plush Winnie the Pooh toys after Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu (the 2014 gold medalist with a thing for the honey fiend) completed his performance in Thursday’s short program. Indeed, Hanyu was in the lead going into the free skate, followed by Spain’s Javier Fernanzdez in second and Japan’s Shoma Uno in third.
But the evening quickly became about who could land the most quad jumps, and when American Nathan Chen completed six of ’em — five in gorgeous fashion — he rebounded from his disastrous short program the night before and racked up a technical score that suddenly made him a medal contender.
But a solid performance from Spain’s Javier Fernandez ultimately knocked Chen out of the running for a podium spot. When everything was done, Hanyu won gold (again), with teammate Shoma Uno of Japan taking silver and Fernandez earning bronze.
At the end of the four-hour-plus competition, here are a few other (unofficial) prizes we’d like to give out:
MUSIC WE ENJOYED THE MOST | A tie between the Star Wars score (including “The Cantina Song”), skated to by China’s Jin Boyang, and Pink Floyd’s “Money,” skated to by Australia’s Brendan Kerry
BEST JOHNNY WEIR BURN, VOL. I | Germany’s Paul Fentz, who skated to music from Game of Thrones and dressed in a costume to match, had a less-than-desirable outing featuring several stumbles, prompting Weir to observe that the rest of his program “just sort of flitted away, flew away on a dragon’s eyelash.”
BEST JOHNNY WEIR BURN, VOL. II | “He did his job, and he had his Olympic moment,” Weir said, damning Belgium’s Jorik Hendrickx with faint praise
BEST JOHNNY WEIR ACCOLADE | “It’s like his knees are made out of whipped cream, they’re so fluffy and white,” Weir said of Olympic Athlete from Russia Mikhail Kolyada. 1) The comment was so odd, we’re not 100 percent sure we got it down correctly. 2) But we are fairly certain Weir pronounced “whipped” like Family Guy‘s Stewie does.
BEST RECOVERY | After a hard fall at the beginning of his skate, China’s Han Yan pulled it together and finished strong with a fancy, well-executed step sequence.
MOST FUN | The Charlie Chaplin-inspired routine skated by Canada’s Keegan Messing may not have been the most technically challenging number we saw all night, but man, what an engaging performance!
MOST MOVING RESPONSE TO A SUCCESSFUL SKATE | USA’s 17-year-old competitor Vincent Zhou fell to his knees, pumped his fist and seemed ready to burst into relieved sobs at the end of his elegantly performed number.
BEST USE OF A BEDAZZLER | We have a feeling that the International Space Station was probably able to see light reflected off the jeweled shirt worn by America’s Adam Rippon. (P.S. And that’s not a bad thing. Dude’s got style.)