The Japan NewsTeen star Yuzuru Hanyu became the first Japanese male to win an Olympic figure skating gold medal on Friday, capturing the title with a solid performance in the free skate at the Sochi Winter Games.
The 19-year-old Hanyu, riding his record-setting score in the short program the previous night, compiled 280.09 points to become Japan’s first Winter Olympic gold medalist since Shizuka Arakawa won the women’s figure skating crown at the 2006 Turin Olympics.
Hanyu’s gold medal, the 10th overall in Winter Olympic history for Japan, raised the nation’s total medal count in Sochi to four.
Three-time world champion Patrick Chan of Canada placed second with 275.62 points. He was second after the short program, 3.93 points behind Hanyu.
The battle for the bronze medal was more intense, with Denis Ten of Kazakhstan taking home the prize with 255.10 points. Ten finished ninth in the short program. The 11 skaters behind Hanyu and Chan in the short program were within 5.89 points of each other.
Hanyu finished top in the free program, scoring 178.64 points.
Making his Olympic debut, Hanyu rewrote his own world record in the short program, becoming the first skater to score more than 100 points when he chalked up 101.45.
A native of Sendai, Hanyu was faced by challenges off the ice when his home and his ice rink were damaged by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake.
He then moved to Toronto to train under renowned coach Brian Orser, who guided South Korea’s Yuna Kim to the gold medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.
In December, Hanyu captured the Grand Prix title, defeating Chan for the first time and establishing himself as a favorite for Sochi. He then won the national championships for two consecutive years.
Meanwhile, Tatsuki Machida finished fifth with 253.42 points, while Daisuke Takahashi, the bronze medalist in Vancouver, came to sixth with 250.67.