Yuzuru Hanyu: World Champion Continues to Break Records

Kealani Finegan ’19

21-year-old Yuzuru Hanyu is breaking all the records in the figure skating world. Back in December he bested his own high score to win his third consecutive Grand Prix final title, leaving other competitors in the dust. In 2014 he was crowned Olympic champion and world champion for men’s figure skating, in addition to being a three-time Grand Prix Final champion, the 2010 world junior champion, the 2009 Junior Grand Prix Final champion and a four-time Japanese champion. Hanyu is also the first Japanese man to win an Olympic gold medal in figure skating. He holds the current world record for the short program, long program, and total program score.

To give a brief overview of figure skating, competitors must perform twice. Their first performance is known as a short program. The short program is approximately two minutes and fifty seconds and has a prescribed list of moves that the competitor has to perform, including a high level jump of three revolutions in the air, a spin with varying positions, and a footwork sequence. The second performance is called either a long, or free skate program, because this routine lasts about four and a half minutes. The requirements are similar to the short, but the quantity of required moves is much greater. Competitors are then ranked based on the scores of their program. Program scores are determined using a system known as the International Judging System (IJS), which awards points based on a variety of factors such as execution and presentation. The final placements are the result of the short program score added with the long program score. A typical total winning score is in the high 200 point range.

Hanyu has surpassed all previous records by breaking 300 points. His own record, as well as the world record, is currently at 330.43 points. His amazing success has raised the bar for fellow competitors and for the future of figure skating. It will be exciting to see how far this sport can push the boundaries and defy gravity even more than it already is!


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