Two-time champ Hanyu in 8th after short program

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Yuma Kagiyama reacts after his performance in the short program of the men’s singles in Beijing on Tuesday.

BEIJING — Figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu’s quest for gold at three consecutive Olympics suffered a huge setback Tuesday, as the Japanese superstar placed eighth in the short program of the men’s singles at the Capital Indoor Stadium in Beijing.

Yuma Kagiyama led the Japanese contingent, finishing second with a personal best of 108.12, while Pyeongchang silver medalist Shoma Uno was third at 105.90. Uno’s score was also a personal best, topping his previous high on Friday during the men’s short program of the mixed team event.

Three-time world champion Nathan Chen of the United States was atop the roster Tuesday with the highest score of 113.97. Hanyu scored 95.15.

The three Japanese skaters all qualified for the free skate on Thursday, along with Chen and 20 others.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Shoma Uno performs in the short program of the men’s singles in Beijing on Tuesday.

“I didn’t feel like I made a mistake,” Hanyu told reporters after his performance, during which he failed to execute a planned quad salchow at the beginning of his routine.

“Right at the takeoff, there was a hole [made by an earlier skater],” Hanyu recalled. “I tried [a quad salchow], but my brain protected my body.”

Hanyu pulled off a quad toe loop-triple toe loop combination and a triple axel. “I was able to focus during the performance. Overall, this was one of my best performances [in the short program].”

There are nearly 20 points between Chen and Hanyu. “My form is perfect” for the free skate on Thursday, Hanyu stressed.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Yuzuru Hanyu performs in the short program of the men’s singles in Beijing on Tuesday.

“I was unlucky today, but I want to prepare well to perform [a quadruple axel],” Hanyu said.

Kagiyama pumped his fist after finishing his performance. “I put everything into the Olympics, and that led to today,” he said. “My jumps were perfect, and I give myself 98 points [out of 100].”

“This is my first Olympics, and I wanted to enjoy everything,” Kagiyama said. “So I’ve been having fun.”

Uno said his performance in the team event helped him Tuesday. “I had a mistake on one of my jumps,” Uno said. “So I was surprised to see a personal best.”

“I was satisfied with my successful jumps. And I realized what I lacked in my spins during the team event, and I performed today with that in mind,” Uno said.