Yuzuru Hanyu breaks world record in Grand Prix Final short program

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Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu broke the short program world record for the second time in two weeks, topping the field at the Grand Prix Final in Barcelona on Thursday.

Hanyu totaled 110.95 points, landing a quadruple Salchow, a quadruple toe loop-triple toe loop combination and a triple Axel.

“My step was only level three,” Hanyu said through a translator of a less-than-perfect footwork sequence. “Rather than getting more points, I just wanted to perfect my elements better.”

The Japanese star previously broke the world record for the decade-old scoring system at the Sochi Olympics (101.45) and two weeks ago at NHK Trophy in Japan (106.33). Hanyu also broke the free skate record at NHK Trophy, totaling 322.40.

Hanyu, who turned 21 on Monday, can become the first man to win three straight Grand Prix Finals after the free skate Saturday (full schedule here). The Grand Prix Final is the most prestigious annual competition outside of the World Championships.

He goes into the free skate with a huge 19.43-point lead over Spain’s Javier Fernandez, who beat Hanyu at last season’s World Championships.

“It doesn’t matter what I do, I’m not going to be able to get higher than that,” Fernandez said of Hanyu’s score.

Hanyu skated immediately before Fernandez in the short program, pumped his fists when his score came up and then motioned for the crowd to silence as Fernandez readied for his skate.

Earlier, Olympic silver medalists Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov of Russia topped the pairs short program. Canada’s Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford, who won last season’s World title in the Russian pair’s absence, were third, 2.1 points behind.

Alexa Scimeca and Chris Knierim, the first U.S pair to make the Grand Prix Final since 2007, placed six out of seven after Scimeca doubled her jump on planned side-by-side triple Salchows.

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