Kagiyama takes silver in figure skating; Uno 3rd ahead of Hanyu

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Yuma Kagiyama performs his silver medal-winning free skating program at the Beijing Winter Olympics on Thursday.

Teenager Yuma Kagiyama and Shoma Uno did enough to hold off two-time defending champion and compatriot Yuzuru Hanyu and come away with medals in the men’s figure skating on Thursday at the Beijing Winter Olympics.

American Nathan Chen topped them all.

Chen dazzled in a free program at Capital Indoor Stadium that included five quadruple jumps to capture the gold medal with 332.60 points, with Kagiyama finishing second with 310.05 and 2018 silver medalist Uno taking the bronze with 293.00.

“All of the hard work I put in over the years to achieve my Olympic dream is packed into this silver medal,” the 18-year-old Kagiyama said. “I overcame hardships and this was the result.”

The medal order was the same from that in Tuesday’s short program, where Hanyu sunk to eighth place after a major mistake.

In the end, Hanyu finished in fourth place with 283.21 points, as further errors in the free skate likely cost him a medal.

Hanyu, knowing he had to go for broke to have any chance of making the podium — much less become the first to win three consecutive Olympic men’s titles since Sweden’s Gillis Grafstrom did it in 1920-24-28 — opened with a quadruple axel, a jump that has never been completed in competition.

Skating to “Heaven and Earth,” he came up well short on the final rotation and tumbled backward to the ice. But that was not necessarily what cost him a medal, as he then proceeded to fall on the following quad salchow, a jump that should not pose a problem.

“I gave it my all. Honestly speaking, I don’t think I could have done any more,” Hanyu said. “I suppose the effort I put in didn’t pay off. For sure, there was so much that didn’t go well here starting with the short program.”

Hanyu, who had the rare experience of skating in the second-to-last of the six-skater groups, received a score of 188.06 — well below his career best of 212.99 set at Skate Canada in 2019 — to provisionally put him into first place, where he remained until the top three took the ice.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Shoma Uno, the 2018 silver medalist, will take home the bronze this time.

Uno and Kagiyama then stepped up and assured themselves of their second medals in Beijing, after both earned a bronze in the team event.

Uno, skating to Ravel’s “Bolero,” managed to pass Hanyu despite a program pockmarked with mistakes on two scheduled combinations. He fell on a quad flip, and later downgraded a triple flip after a triple axel to a single flip. His score of 187.10 was lower than Hanyu’s, but still enough for the bronze.

Kagiyama put on a golden performance that on this day would only be good enough for silver. Skating to “Gladiator,” he nailed an opening quad salchow and wobbled on a quad loop, but otherwise had a nearly flawless routine for a score of 201.93.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Reigning Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu tumbles after attempting a historic quadruple axel during his free program.

The Yokohama native is coached by his father Masakazu, a two-time Olympian. He introduced himself to the skating world with a gold medal at the 2020 Winter Youth Olympics, which he followed with a silver medal at the 2021 senior world championships.

After being congratulated by his father, Kagiyama told the press, “We worked together for many years with the goal of making the Olympics. I’m happy to share this joy with him.”

For Chen, the three-time world champion, the gold was his first Olympic medal after a disappointing fifth-place finish four years ago in Pyeongchang. He had the top free skating score of 218.63 to clinch the title.