Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu produced a remarkable comeback to win the men’s world figure skating title on Saturday, a key boost to his hopes of retaining his Olympic gold next year.
Hanyu was fifth after the short program but produced a world-record free skate score of 223.30 points, landing four quadruple jumps, for a total of 321.59 points.
The 22-year-old Hanyu praised the passionate support from Japanese fans.
“If they are happy, I’m so happy,” said Hanyu, who was in tears after learning his score.
Short program leader Javier Fernandez of Spain, skating last, dropped to fourth with a fall and other errors, giving Hanyu his second career world title after victory in 2014.
The silver went to Japan’s Shoma Uno with a 319.31-point total on a strong day for figure skating in Japan, which has won six of the 12 world championships men’s medals awarded over the last four seasons.
China’s Jin Boyang was the bronze medalist for the second straight year, scoring 303.58.
Three-time world champion Patrick Chan was fifth behind fellow veteran Fernandez, while US national champion Nathan Chen finished sixth after attempting a record six quad jumps in his free skate, with mixed results.
Saturday’s free skate illustrated the relentless march in men’s figure skating toward ever more quad jumps, which demand huge power and control from a skater.
The final six skaters to take the ice Saturday attempted 24 high-risk quad jumps between them, with three falls - two of them for Chen - and a few more awkward landings.