Hanyu made the rotation for the quad in the opening seconds, but slipped on the landing and lost his footing badly. After another fall on a triple flip, Hanyu finished crouched on the ice, his head bowed, certain he had lost the gold.
The judges awarded him 178.64 points – a good score, but one that left him vulnerable to three-time world champion Patrick Chan of Canada. But Chan, up next, fared worse, and made three errors. Hanyu’s combined score of 280.09 was enough give him the gold.
World silver medalist Denis Ten of Kazakhstan took the bronze. Hanyu is the Asian to take Olympic gold in the men’s figure staking.
How Yuzuru Hanyu almost thew it away
But Patrick Chan also faltered
A gold performance, in spite of the falls
The skaters’ reaction
“I thought the gold medal was not in my hands,” Hanyu told reporters later. His routine over, Hanyu knelt on the ice, his hands spread out in front of him, contemplating a chance that appeared blown. “I was so nervous and I was so tired,” he said.
Asked if he thought he would win, Hanyu shook his head. “No, I was so sad.”
Chan was left to rue an opportunity lost. “I had that chance and it slipped out of my hands,” he said.