Yuzuru Hanyu sets new short program world record
Yuzuru Hanyu showed exactly why he has won two Olympic gold medals with a scintillating short program at GP Helsinki on Saturday.
After his routine to the music 'Otonal', the crowd rose from their seats to salute a near-flawless performance from one of the greatest figure skaters of all time as the familiar Pooh bears flooded the ice.
"I felt so much power from all the fans today and I felt the power pushed me in my performance today." - Yuzuru Hanyu speaking to Olympic Channel.
His score of 106.69 was a new world record after new scoring rules came in for this season, beating PyeongChang silver medallist Shoma Uno's mark of 104.15 set in September's Lombardia Trophy.
Apart from a slight mistake at the end of a quad toe loop into triple toe loop combination, Hanyu was close to perfection.
"I’m not totally happy with my skating today but it was good overall, so I’m a little glad."
After a shaky start to his season at the Autumn Classic, Hanyu's coach Brian Orser was pleased with the 23-year-old's effort on ice.
"It was great. The one area where we were focusing on after the Autumn Classics was spins, and the spins were great. I’m happy and he’s happy." - Brian Orser talking to Olympic Channel
'Otonal' was used by Johnny Weir in the 2005-06 season with the American two-time Olympian "Supes excited" at Hanyu's tribute.
And Hanyu told Olympic Channel why he made his choice of music and routine.
"Johnny Weir is one of my heroes. I’ve always looked up to him. And I really liked the way he landed the jump, it always has a nice flow. Also his jumps really matched the music and I was really inspired.
"This year is the year after the Olympics and I’m a little more relaxed so this year I really wanted to skate to the music that I really wanted to."
Now Hanyu is in pursuit of Nathan Chen's top free skate of 189.99 set at last month's Skate America and the reigning world champion's total of 280.57.
Skate America runner-up, Czech Michal Brezina, was more than 13 points behind Hanyu with 93.31 points with China's Boyang Jin third on 85.97.
But all eyes will be on Hanyu in Sunday's free skate and whether he can set more records in Finland.
"It’s a good way to start but I will be even stronger."