Monday, 19/3/2018 | : : UTC-7
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Olympic champion, Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN) was skating backwards at a high speed when he collided with Han Yan (CHN) during the warm up prior to the Men’s free skate. The two crumpled to the ice. A medical team moved toward Hanyu and helped him to his feet. Both skaters left the ice without assistance.

Behind the boards, Yan collapsed again and lay motionless. He was tended to and taken to a room off the arena.

Hanyu was checked out, but bloodied and wearing an ace bandage on his head, returned to the warm up.  He appeared disoriented while pointing to his head.

Neither skater was taken to a hospital.

Forty-five minutes later Han Yan tried to defend his 2013 Cup of China gold medal, but stumbled on his opening 3A and 4T, before struggling with his remaining elements.  The earlier crash proved too much for Yan to overcome, and the stunned skater finished in 6th place.

Nam Nguyen (CAN) placed 6th in the short, 5th in the free and 4th over all.  The Skate America bronze medalist opened with a 4S and 3A that earned almost 20 points but popped the second 3A in combination. Midway in the program, he substituted a 3S with a 3A+3T for 14.15 points, and then did a 3F+2T+2Lo for another 9.74. The youngster completed six clean triples.

The La Strada 80.34 technical score was the highest in the competition.

Richard Dornbush (USA) won the bronze medal with a lyrical and artistic presentation of “Yellow” and “Viva la Vida” by Coldplay, choreographed by Mark Pillay.

The 2014 Lombardia Trophy winner opened with a 4T, 3A, and 3Lz, with both hands over his head that totaled over 28 points. A 3A+3T after the midway mark earned another 14.86.

Dornbush blended all his elements with a musical interpretation and captures a picture of elegance on the ice that drew in the audience.  Unfortunately, costly mistakes near the end marred the near-flawless performance.

Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN) stood at center ice looking like a Samurai wounded warrior gathering strength to do battle with his Phantom of the Opera program.

Coach Brian Orser said he allowed him to skate because he wasn’t exhibiting any physical signs of a concussion – his eyes were clear, and he was speaking normally.

“This is not the time to be a hero. You have to take care of yourself,” Orser reminded Hanyu.

The 2014 World champion struggled, falling five times, but pushed on through the program. Orser held up his student as he stepped off the ice.

Hanyu sobbed in the Kiss & Cry when his marks were announced. He was in 1st place with one more skater to perform. The silver medalist received stitches in his head and chin and was checked for a concussion before flying home to Japan on Sunday for a further examination.

“I know tomorrow he will feel like he’s been hit by a car,” said Orser.  “Both of these boys are going to feel awful.”

Maksim Kovtun (RUS) won his first Grand Prix title, but the crash had an effect on the nineteen-year old, who said he couldn’t concentrate on his own preparation.

“When they suspended the warm up, my coach tried to calm me down,” he said. “It was hard for me to pull myself together.”

The Russian champion fell on the opening 4S, but rebounded with an 11.44-point 4T, followed by only three clean triples. Hanyu actually outscored Kovtun’s technical and component marks, but lost five points for the falls.

The flawed program suffered being the last in a drama-filled evening. The energy had already been sucked out of the arena.

The Cup of China Men will next compete at the following:

Maxim Kovtun – Trophee Bompard

Yuzuru Hanyu – NHK Trophy

Richard Dornbush – Trophee Bompard


Hanyu returned to Japan in a wheelchair and was diagnosed with a bruised head and chin plus a hurt midriff, left thigh and right leg. He will see how his recovery progresses before deciding to skate at the NHK Trophy in three weeks.

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