Olympic champ Hanyu wins world figure skate title

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Associated Press

Posted on March 28, 2014 at 7:01 AM

SAITAMA, Japan (AP) — Japanese teenager Yuzuru Hanyu came back with a brilliant free skate to become the first man in 12 years on Friday to win the Olympic and world figure skating titles in the same year.

The 19-year-old Hanyu, who trailed compatriot Tatsuki Machida by nearly seven points after the world championships short program, produced a near-flawless free skate to finish with 282.59 points, just three-tenths of a point ahead of Machida.

Javier Fernandez of Spain was third with 275.93.

"That was very close," Hanyu said. "I work hard to become a skater who can always end with strong performances. I felt the responsibility to win the event."

Hanyu fell twice during the free skate at the Sochi Olympics but had no falls on Friday. Skating to "Romeo and Juliet," he opened with a quad salchow and followed with a quad toeloop.

His only deduction came on the triple flip and he got extra points on five straight jumps.

The men's Olympic-worlds double was last achieved by Alexei Yagudin in 2002.

Machida captured his first major medal with a graceful performance to Stravinski's "Firebird."

"I showed everything I have at this moment," Machida said. "I tried to perform without caring about the score or ranking but it got into my head and I had a really tough four minutes."

Fernandez, who was fourth in Sochi, was deducted points when he singled a planned triple lutz.

"I popped the triple lutz," Fernandez said. "And I didn't do my quad salchow triple toeloop combination, but still it was a good program even though Yuzuru did better than me."

Maxim Kotvun of Russia was fourth followed by Jeremy Abbott of the United States.

In ice dance, European champions Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte received 69.70 points to finish first in the short program. Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje of Canada trailed by half a point. Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat of France were third on 68.20.

Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev, the top-ranked Russians, were forced to withdraw after Soloviev injured his groin in the morning practice.

Defending champions and Olympic gold medalists Meryl Davis and Charlie White of the United States were not taking part. The ice dance concludes on Saturday with the free dance.

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