Yuzuru Hanyu, the defending world and Olympic champion, took the ice first tonight in the final flight of the men’s short program to great anticipation. Hanyu, who is considered to be one of the greatest male skaters of all-time, hadn’t competed since injuring his ankle in November; though considered one of the favorites for gold and practicing well since his late arrival in Pyeongchang, there still was uncertainty as to how he would compete after the injury.
The suspense was short lived. The 23-year-old hit his opening quad jump—a quad salchow—beautifully. The smooth landing...it was like butta.
The rest of his program? Similarly masterful. With his short program performance, Hanyu made it clear that not only is he fully recovered from his injury, but that he intends to defend his Olympic title from Sochi. He ended the program with 111.68 points, putting him in first place. If he hits again in the long program, he’ll become the first male skater to defend his Olympic title since 1952 when American Dick Button did it.
And then the Poohs rained down.
Hanyu really likes Winnie the Pooh a lot, so his fans buy Pooh bears of varying sizes and throw them onto the ice after he skates. And for what seemed like several minutes after Hanyu’s sublime performance, the Poohs kept coming.