kent - Japanese teenager Yuzuru Hanyu dominated the short program Friday night at Skate America.
The 17-year-old set a world record by earning 95.07 points for his flawless and thrilling routine. He skated last and received the loudest cheers, then broke into a big smile when his score was announced.
“Ninety-five is an extremely high score and I really was not expecting it,” Hanyu said through a translator. “I want to say I was very surprised. But I want to compete to the final competition. I still have the free to skate.
“I want to control my emotions to the very end.”
Hanyu landed a quad toe loop early in his routine and later completed a triple axel.
“I put two difficult jumps in at the end,” Hanyu said. “This is my first Grand Prix and I don’t want to get too excited.”
Hanyu had a technical score of 51.71 and 43.36 for the artistic.
“I was actually focused on the technical and that it was over 50 I was very surprised,” he said. “I was not paying attention to the components (artistic). “But I’ve been practicing quite well and hope to carry it over to the free program.”
Hanyu switched coaches last spring and now works with Canadian Brian Orser, the two-time Olympic silver medalist.
Japan’s Takahiko Kozuka was second at 85.32. He was the silver medalist at the 2011 World Championships and finished third last year at Skate America. As with Hanyu, he landed a quad.
“It’s so important for the short program,” Kozuka said. “A clean quad is more than 10 points, where a triple flip is only five points. It’s twice the points for an element. That shows how important it really is.”
American Jeremy Abbott was third at 77.71. The defending U.S. champ fell early. He came away impressed with how Hanyu and Kozuka landed quads.
“Well, like they said it’s double the score of the flip, it’s extremely important. The talent in the men’s field is incredible,” Abbott said. “Look at the two men next to me they both did quads, and it’s no longer enough to do the triple.”
Tatsuki Machida was fourth at 75.78 to give Japan three of the top four spots. The Czech Republic’s Michal Brezina was fifth at 69.26, after falling twice.
In the pairs competition, Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov took the lead, scoring 65.78 points in the short program. The Russians were second in the last two world championships and last year’s Grand Prix final.
Despite the lead, they were disappointed with their performance, which they partly blamed on the 11-hour time difference with Russia.
“We have to find out why we skate bad short programs,” Trankov said. “It was a very bad skate for us. We never skate like that in practice.”
China’s Qing Pang and Jian Tong were second at 61.96 after Jian fell early in the routine. They finished second in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics and won world titles in 2006 and 2010.
“The biggest trouble that I have is my knee hurts when I skate,” Jian said through a translator. “When I bend my knee when I’m skating, it hurts and doesn’t have the flexibility. I used to train 5-6 days a week, but now we’ve reduced it to four days.”
Americans Caydee Denney and John Coughlin were third at 60.75, followed by France’s Vanessa James and Morgan Cipres at 55.76.