＜JAPAN TIMES 2018/11/07付 記事から引用＞
Yuzuru Hanyu amazes again in Helsinki win
by Jack Gallagher
Nov 6, 2018
Just when you didn’t think he could go one better, he did.
Two-time Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu stunned the skating world again with his artistry and technical prowess on the way to a commanding victory at the Helsinki Grand Prix last weekend.
Hanyu set three world records in the process for highest short program (106.89), free skate (190.43) and total score (297.12) under the new +5/-5 GOE system. But it wasn’t the numbers that resonated, it was the manner and passion with which he achieved them that did.
As if that wasn’t enough, the Sendai native also threw in another historic first — a quad toe loop/triple axel combination. Never before landed in competition in the history of skating.
Lost in the glare of the records and the quad toe/triple axel was one more first. One that is almost hard to believe. The triumph marked the first time in Hanyu’s nine years on the senior GP circuit that he has won his opening event.
“Actually I was fighting my condition, as it was not so good before I came here and after I came here,” Hanyu was quoted as saying by the ISU website. “But I beat myself. Although the quad loop and quad toe were not perfect, I am pleased I was able to stay on my feet.”
Michal Brezina of the Czech Republic came in second (257.98), nearly 40 points behind Hanyu.
Just as in the Sochi and Pyeongchang Olympics, the stage for the win was set by Hanyu’s sublime short program. Skating to “Otonal,” he began with a beautiful quad salchow, followed that with a nice triple axel, then hung on to the back end of his quad toe loop/triple toe loop combination jump.
He only received a level three on his step sequence, but it hardly mattered. The plaudits poured in from the experts afterward.
“Even by his standards, it was phenomenal,” stated Eurosport’s Simon Reed.
“One of his best ever. It is just utterly amazing,” commented Reed’s partner Mark Hanretty. “He’s still come back and is not just sustaining his excellence, but improving his excellence.”
Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir, both Olympians themselves, were wowed by Hanyu’s majestic performance.
“In this short program he was absolutely mesmerizing,” Weir said on the NBC telecast.
“He is just one of those skaters I feel honored to watch,” Lipinski remarked.
Lipinski and Weir were just getting warmed up for the main event — Hanyu’s free skate to “Origin.”
Though the superstar’s opening quad loop and a quad toe loop were deemed under-rotated by the judges, Lipinski and Weir were floored by what they saw.
“There were so many beautiful delicate moments in that program. There was a strength to the choreography,” Weir stated. “You could see that he believed in it so 100 percent.”
As Weir analyzed a replay of Hanyu’s free skate, he saw in it a lesson.
“First time ever, quad toe/triple axel sequence. Just brilliant,” Weir remarked. “The fact that he is back again, not letting his level dip below what it was at the Olympic Games, it’s so inspiring. All the young skaters out there should be looking at this and know that there is no end unless you decide it is the end.”
Weir credits Hanyu’s success in part to his ability to block out distractions.
“He completely disconnects himself from what is going on around him and only focuses on the skating,” Weir noted.
Lipinski, the 1998 Olympic champion, was impressed by Hanyu’s presence while performing.
“Watching him at center ice, where I think he is most natural, most comfortable, the joy that he brings to his fans,” Lipinski said. “The aura and the presence that he brings to ice, it’s unlike anyone else. I think he has had it for a long time. This is just who he is.”
Lipinski admitted that Hanyu is one in a million.
“It’s just rare to see this type of perfection in skating. Today wasn’t absolutely perfect,” Lipinski said. “But we talk about what he embodies. He is the entire package. He has the artistry, he has the technical ability, he has the performance ability, and he is able to withstand pressure.”