Yuzuru Hanyu left no doubt in winning his Grand Prix season debut for the first time in nine tries.
The double Olympic champion tallied 297.12 points to beat Czech Michal Brezina by 39.14 in Helsinki this weekend. It’s one of the largest margins of victory in Grand Prix series history.
Hanyu’s free skate on Sunday included a historic quadruple toe loop-triple Axel sequence with four total quads (though two were under-rotated). Hanyu’s total score is the best in the world this season, supplanting world champion Nathan Chen‘s 280.57 from Skate America two weeks ago.
However, Hanyu said his goal was to break 200 points in the free, and he came up 9.57 short.
“Not all the jumps were perfectly landed, but through the short and the free program I was on my feet, so I’m very happy about that,” he said through a translator.
Hanyu and Chen are expected to go head-to-head for the first time since the Olympics at December’s Grand Prix Final. Hanyu said he hopes to try a quad Axel this season, but not until after Japanese nationals in late December.
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Brezina, 28, picked up his second silver of the Grand Prix season. He landed one quad in each Helsinki program, and though he fell in the free skate, he should be headed to the exclusive, six-skater Grand Prix Final for the first time since 2011.
South Korean Cha Jun-Whan took third for the second straight week. He was followed by the last two world bronze medalists, Russian Mikhail Kolyada and Chinese Jin Boyang, who each fell multiple times in the free skate. American Alex Krasnozhon was seventh.
The Grand Prix season continues next weekend at Japan’s NHK Trophy, headlined by Olympic silver medalists Shoma Uno and Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron.
As a reminder, you can watch the ISU Grand Prix Series live and on-demand with the ‘Figure Skating Pass’ on NBC Sports Gold. GO HERE to sign up for access to every ISU Grand Prix and championship event, as well as domestic U.S. Figure Skating events throughout the season…NBC Sports Gold gives subscribers an unprecedented level of access on more platforms and devices than ever before.
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