Hanyu wins short program, Plushenko retires

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 13, 2014 at 2:53 pm •  Published: February 13, 2014
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SOCHI, Russia (AP) — Japan's Yuzuru Hanyu made figure skating history, and now can chase even more of it.

He'll do so without having to fend off a challenge from another record-setter, Russia's Evgeni Plushenko.

Hanyu became the first figure skater to break the 100-point mark with a spectacular performance in the men's short program on Thursday night at the Sochi Games. He earned 101.45 points with a playful, almost seductive routine in which he seemed to flow above the ice.

"I was so surprised with my score," Hanyu said. "I didn't know I got over 100."

He shouldn't have been, considering the speed, sharpness, entertainment value and total conviction of his skating. He nailed his two biggest jumps, including a huge a quadruple toe loop to open the program, and his triple lutz-triple toe combination was exquisite.

And then the fun began.

He charmed the judges with his facial expressions, staring directly at them with an inviting smile during his intricate steps and turns to "Parisian Walkaways."

"For Yuzuru, that was perfection," said his coach, Brian Orser. "That's as good as it gets."

Hanyu, 19, also won the men's short program in the team event and is on quite a run with wins in the Grand Prix Final, Japanese championships and his Sochi achievements.

"I always had pressure. I think I can have confidence after those competitions," he said.

While Hanyu was soaring to a nearly 4-point lead over three-time world champion Patrick Chan of Canada, Plushenko finished his stellar career with another injury.

The only figure skater in the modern era to win medals in four games, including gold in the new team event last weekend, Plushenko hurt his back in training Wednesday. He gave it a go in warmups before Thursday's short program, but after falling on a triple axel, he knew he was done.

"I said to myself, 'Evgeni, you must skate. It's two more days, short and long program,'" the 31-year-old and 2006 Olympic gold medalist said.

But he could not.

"I think it's God saying, 'Evgeni, enough, enough with skating,'" added Plushenko, who said he's had 12 surgeries.



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