The men took to the ice for the free skate yesterday, April 1, in Boston and the men brought the heat. Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu, who has broken world record after world record this season was in the lead by 12.04 points heading into the free skate. Surprisingly Hanyu faltered in the free skate leaving the door open for the other men. Since the ISU scoring system has been established no man has been able bridge a gap of that margin, but tonight Spain’s Javier Fernandez did just that, defending his world title and giving the audience a performance to be ecstatic about.
After being in Yuzuru Hanyu’s shadow most of the season, Javier knew that he had to skate a perfectly clean program to win the championships, but he struggled in practices due to severe pain. Every time Fernandez would bend his knees his skate would rub against his heel in such a way that it was almost unbearable. After seeking medical attention he was able to skate without much pain and focus on the task set before him. Fernandez landed three quads and seven triple jumps and all with the charm and charisma that only Javier can bring to the ice. “I didn’t think about how important it was for me to win or anything, just kept going from jump to jump.” Fernandez said. “Before skating, I knew that I had a chance to win, but that I have to do a clean program, and I did.” Needless to say it was a season’s best performance and a personal best score as well.
Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu made several mistakes. He put his hand down on the landing of his opening quad salchow, he fell on his second quad salchow, turned out of his triple axel and put his hand down again on the triple lutz. It was a less than stellar performance, but even still he managed to hold on and capture the silver medal. “I’m disappointed… I’m not sure what to say,” Yuzuru said. “I want to do it over.”
Claiming the bronze and making history by becoming the first Chinese man to win a medal at Worlds, was China’s Boyang Jin. Jin landed four quad jumps in his program, they were not perfectly clean quads, but Boyang was grateful for this experience and is eager to learn from both Yuzuru and Javier. “The competitions I’ve done before are not as big as the Worlds,” Jin said. “And I might be overwhelmed a bit. But I think overall I’ve gained experience from the event, and it will help me perform better in my next Worlds.”
It was an incredibly competitive men’s event, but even so, the U.S. men emerged and brought everything that they had to the table. Grant Hochstein had a fantastic free skate nailing each of his elements and bringing the crowd along with him each moment of the way that erupted at the end giving him a standing ovation. “Just being at Worlds is a dream and after I got here I don‘t even know how far my dreams extended,” Hochstein said. “I think it’s pretty close to everything I wanted it to be.” Grant finished in tenth place at his World Championships debut.
Max Aaron also skated brilliantly, landing both of his quad salchows and allowed the audience to push him to the end of his free skate and give it everything that he had. “This is truly special,” Aaron said. “It’s a moment I will never forget. I’ve always wanted this on home soil. The short [program] was a little bit of a bummer, but to come out here and give everything I got, it was fun.” He also earned a season’s best score and finished in eighth place.
Adam Rippon was the last to skate of the U.S. men and he electrified the audience, opening with a quad lutz. His lutz was under-rotated, but it was great that he was able to stay on his feet and the rest of his program was superb. “I was really nervous going into today,” Rippon confessed. “I felt a little shaky in my warmup. I fought through everything but at the same time I tried to have the best time ever and I did.”
It was a disappointing night for three-time world champion Patrick Chan who was one of the favorites for the podium. He made several mistakes that left him in fifth place. “The skating just didn’t feel good,” Chan said. “I like to enjoy my skating and today I wasn’t able to do that. I thought I felt good, but actually I felt like I was fighting my skates or my feet all the time.”
For many of the men it was a fabulous night of figure skating that they will never forget, while for others it will inspire them to work harder for next year. Today will be the final day of competition as the pairs and ladies take to the ice for their free skate.
Men’s final results:
1. Javier Fernandez ESP – 314.93 WATCH NOW
2. Yuzuru Hanyu JPN – 295.17 WATCH NOW
3. Boyang Jin CHN – 270.99 WATCH NOW
4. Mikhail Kolyada RUS – 267.97 WATCH NOW
5. Patrick Chan CAN – 266.75 WATCH NOW
6. Adam Rippon USA – 264.44 WATCH NOW
7. Shoma Uno JPN – 264.25 WATCH NOW
8. Max Aaron USA – 254.14 WATCH NOW
9. Michal Brezina CZE – 237.99 WATCH NOW
10. Grant Hochstein USA – 237.29 WATCH NOW
11. Denis Ten KAZ – 230.13 WATCH NOW
12. Ivan Righini ITA -228.52
13. Alexei Bychenko ISR – 226.07
14. Deniss Vasiljevs LAT – 224.54
15. Misha Ge UZB – 223.53 WATCH NOW
16. Jorik Hendrickx BEL – 221.43
17. Brendan Kerry AUS – 210.56
18. Maxim Kovtun RUS – 210.14
19. Chafik Besseghier FRA – 203.20
20. Michael Christian Martinez PHI – 204.10
21. Julian Zhi Jie Yee MAS – 202.94
22. Phillip Harris GBR – 190.42
23. Ivan Pavlov UKR – 178.89
24. June Hyoung Lee KOR – 174.88