Yuzuru Hanyu breaks world record at Four Continents; Chock, Bates win ice dance

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Yuzuru Hanyu skated the highest-scoring short program in history, breaking his own record at the Four Continents Championships in Seoul on Friday.

Hanyu, the two-time Olympic champion, tallied 111.82 points with a quadruple Salchow and a quad toe loop-triple toe loop combination. Hanyu reverted to his 2018 Olympic season short program for the first time. He held the previous short program record of 110.53 from November 2018.

“Today’s performance was the most perfect performance I’ve ever done,” Hanyu said, according to the International Skating Union. “I set as a goal a score higher than 110 for myself.”

Hanyu leads China’s Jin Boyang by 15.99 points going into the free skate. American Jason Brown is in third.

Four Continents features top skaters from North America, Asia (but not Russia, which is part of Europe in Olympic sport) and Australia. A TV and live stream schedule is here.

Hanyu and other skaters are preparing for March’s world championships in Montreal. That’s where Hanyu will next face Nathan Chen, who is skipping Four Continents to focus on sophomore studies at Yale. Chen beat Hanyu in their last five head-to-head programs starting with the 2018 Olympic free skate.

Earlier, U.S. champions Madison Chock and Evan Bates extended their resurgence, repeating as Four Continents ice dance gold medalists despite a free-dance fall. Chock and Bates, eighth and ninth at their two Olympics, totaled 213.18 to beat Canadians Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier by three points.

Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue, the top U.S. couple the previous two seasons, dropped from first after the rhythm dance to third. Donohue erred on a twizzle in the free dance.

Chock and Bates bettered Hubbell and Donohue in all three head-to-heads this season. Chock and Bates rank third in the world going into the world championships, trailing four-time world champions Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France and Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov of Russia.

At the European Championships last month, the Russians handed the French their first defeat since the PyeongChang Olympics.

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Joey Mantia extends U.S. medal streak at speed skating worlds; Dutch dominance returns

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Joey Mantia ensured the host U.S. finished with a medal at the world single distances championships. Ireen WüstKjeld Nuis and Jorrit Bergsma ensured the Netherlands finished atop the medal standings.

Mantia joined Shani Davis as the only U.S. men to earn individual medals at three different editions of the championships, taking bronze in the 1500m on the last day of the speed skating meet at the 2002 Olympic oval outside Salt Lake City.

Mantia won the mass start at the last two worlds in 2017 and 2019 (and finished fifth on Sunday, after the 1500m bronze).

Mantia clocked a personal best 1:42.16 in the fifth of 12 pairs of the 1500m. It held up until Nuis (1:41.66) and countryman Thomas Krol (1:41.73) in the last two pairs.

“Was starting to think that I’m so old that I can’t time trial anymore,” Mantia, a 34-year-old whose last 1500m personal best came in 2015, told media in Utah. “Maybe there’s a little bit of hope left.”

Mantia’s medal extended the U.S. streak of making the podium at every world championships this millennium — 16 straight. The single bronze is the smallest medal output since 2000.

Full results are here.

Wüst and Nuis gave the Dutch a sweep of the men’s and women’s 1500m titles, two years after they did the same at the PyeongChang Olympics. Bergsma, an Olympic and world 10,000m champion, earned his first global medal of any color — gold — in the 16-lap mass start.

The Netherlands failed to earn any golds on the first two days of the four-day competition. The dominant Dutch, who topped the medal standings at every Olympics and worlds dating to the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games, entered Sunday trailing Russia.

But Wüst began the day by clocking 1:50.92 to win the 1500m by .21 over Russian Yevgenia Lalenkova. American medal hope Brittany Bowe, the 2015 World champion who took bronze last year, finished 14th a day after taking eighth in her world-record 1000m distance.

Nuis and Krol went one-two in the men’s 1500m to tie Russia’s medal total. Then Irene Schouten took bronze in the women’s mass start to put the Netherlands ahead for good, followed by Bergsma’s capper.

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Netherlands on the board; more world records at speed skating worlds

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It took four world records from other countries before the Netherlands won its first title in an Olympic program event at the world single distances speed skating championships.

Jutta Leerdam got the dominant skating nation on the board on the third day of the four-day competition and in the ninth Olympic program event. Leerdam scored an upset over defending champion and world-record holder Brittany Bowe, the American who ended up eighth.

Leerdam, 21, prevailed despite having zero World Cup podiums to her name. She clocked 1:11.84, just .23 slower than Bowe’s world record set on the same Utah Olympic Oval last year. Bowe, who recently had her yearlong win streak snapped in the 1000m, finished in 1:12.92.

“It’s a nightmare,” Bowe said, according to media on site.

Later, the Netherlands won the men’s team pursuit in a world record 3:34.68, the fifth world record in Olympic events the last two days on the world’s fastest ice at the 2002 Olympic oval outside Salt Lake City.

Full results are here.

The world championships conclude Sunday, highlighted by American Joey Mantia defending his world title in the mass start.

In other Saturday events, both the men’s 1000m and women’s 5000m world records fell. On Friday, world records were lowered in the men’s 10,000m and women’s team pursuit.

Pavel Kulizhnikov followed his Friday world 500m title with the 1000m crown, repeating his double gold from 2016. Kulizhnikov was one of the Russians banned from the PyeongChang Olympics after he served a prior doping ban.

On Saturday, Kulizhnikov clocked 1:05.69 to take .49 off Dutchman Kjeld Nuis‘ record from last March, also set at Salt Lake City. Nuis, the Olympic 1000m and 1500m champion, took silver, 1.03 seconds behind.

Russian Natalya Voronina and Czech Martina Sablikova both went under Sablikova’s world record in the 5000m. Voronina came out on top in 6:39.02, 2.99 seconds faster than Sablikova’s record from a year ago and 2.16 seconds faster than Sablikova on Saturday.

Voronina’s time would have been the men’s world record as recently as 1993. Sablikova won the previous 10 world titles in the event dating to 2007.

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