Japan's Ice Prince Yuzuru Hanyu said a hole in the ice ruined a vital jump in his Olympics short program ice skating performance

·3 min read
In image of Yuzuru Hanyu touching the ice during the men's singles skating short program
Yuzuru Hanyu missed the opening jump of his Olympic short program routine — a quadruple Salchow.Matthew Stockman/Getty Images
  • Japanese figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu missed the first jump of his routine — a quadruple Salchow.

  • In a post-skate interview, Hanyu told reporters that his skate was caught in a small hole in the ice.

  • The missed jump is a huge setback in Hanyu's quest for a third back-to-back Olympic gold.

Fans were devastated after Japan's Ice Prince, figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu, missed the opening jump of his Olympic routine — a quadruple Salchow.

Hanyu, the men's figure skating defending champ, kicked off his Beijing appearance by skating in the men's skating short program on Tuesday. However, he missed a planned quadruple Salchow at the beginning of his performance, turning the complicated jump into a single Salchow instead.

Speaking to the media after his skate, Hanyu told reporters that his skate was caught in a minor flaw in the ice right before his planned jump.

"When I took off, I (stepped) in some hole — maybe, some other skater was doing a toe loop, or a flip, I don't know. But I was on a hole, so I couldn't take off for the first jump," Hanyu said.

"But actually, I didn't feel anything bad," Hanyu said. "I was saying to (myself) — okay, this is not working. So I just focused on the next part. I really love to hear the music, and I love to skate to this music."

Hanyu's missed jump left him with a shockingly low score of 95.15 points in the short program, a considerable setback for the two-time Olympic medalist who is looking to secure his third gold medal in Beijing. For context, Hanyu most recently earned 111.31 points during his Olympic qualifying skate at the Japanese nationals.

The Beijing Olympic Committee did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider.

Heartbroken fans offered an outpouring of support to Hanyu on social media, praising the skater for his artistry and perseverance despite the staggering setback. Hanyu is still expected to attempt a quadruple Axel — a jump that has yet to be cleanly completed by any skater in any competition — during his free skate program, "Heaven and Earth," on Thursday.

"I hope Yuzuru will skate without pressure during Thursday's free skate," Hanyu supporter Yumi Saito, 31, who works at a tech company, told Insider. "I just want him to enjoy himself and not feel any burden for missing the jump."

"A single error does not take anything away from what a legend he is," Taiwanese fan Deng Yi-Hsin, 22, told Insider. "He will always be a two-time Olympic gold medalist and a prince in our hearts. Now we will look forward to his quadruple Axel."

Hanyu is going into the free skate in eighth place, trailing far behind American skater Nathan Chen, who broke Hanyu's short program world record of 111.82 points at the 2020 Four Continents tournament with a score of 113.97 points.

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