Yuzuru Hanyu sets Olympic record in men's short program

Canada's Chan sits 6th, Messing 10th ahead of free skate

By Benjamin Blum, CBC Sports

Defending Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu dominated the men's short program at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea on Friday, showing no ill effects of an ankle injury that's sidelined him since November.

The defending Olympic champion from Japan landed two quads and scored a Games-record 111.68 — 1.04 points shy of his world record — to lead the field heading into the free skate at 8 p.m. ET on Friday. Hanyu will have a chance to become the first back-to-back men's gold medallist since Dick Button 66 years ago.

"I just felt happy to skate, I just felt satisfied with my every element. I am really happy because I was really feeling the music too, and the ice," Hanyu said after his skate. "I am very satisfied with my performance today but I still have tomorrow, so I will do my best tomorrow."

Spain's Javier Fernandez, who like Hanyu is coached by Canadian Brian Orser, qualified second at 107.58, followed by Japan's Shoma Uno at 104.17.

Chan falls on triple Axel

Toronto's Patrick Chan sits in sixth place after scoring 90.01 on his Dust In The Wind routine. Keegan Messing, an Alaskan-born Canadian, also qualified for the free program in 10th while skating to Singin' In The Rain.

"There still was the one mistake on the triple Axel and at the Olympic Games, you can't be making those kinds of mistakes at this level, but it is what it is," said Chan. "That's life."

VIDEO | Patrick Chan's short skate

Chan, who has been bedevilled by the triple Axel often in his career, helped Canada win gold in the team event earlier in the Games, finally reaching the top step of the Olympic podium.

After dominating the sport for three years, Chan finished a heartbreaking runner-up to Hanyu at the Sochi Olympics four years ago.

After taking a season off competing, he returned with hopes of making up for that disappointment. But the sport changed in his absence. The focus is all about the big jumps. American Nathan Chen has five quads listed for Saturday's long program, while Hanyu usually attempts three or four. Chan has just two.

Unfortunately for Chen, he had a disastrous day in his first individual Olympic skate. The American teen phenom, a favourite to win here, fell twice and didn't complete a jump combination, which is death in the short program.

"Honestly, it was bad," said Chen, who sits 17th with just 82.27 points, 22 less than his total at U.S. nationals. "I made as many mistakes as I possibly could have. Everything seemed right but there were little mistakes here and there."

With files from Reuters, The Associated Press and The Canadian Press