Yuzuru Hanyu won the men’s title at the Cup of Russia despite an ankle injury that left him on crutches, while fellow Olympic figure skating champion Alina Zagitova won the women’s title on Nov. 17.
Hanyu, the two-time defending Olympic gold medalist, started strongly with two clean quads and appeared to be his usual assured self in the free skate, but he stepped out of his second pass at a quad toe loop then fell on a triple and singled an axel.
With his ankle wrapped in a bandage, Hanyu hobbled into a news conference and said he had aggravated a previous ankle injury in the morning practice. He had considered dropping out, he said, but “I really love skating here. I really wanted to skate this program.”
Hanyu expressed disappointment in his free skate routine, where his only blemish was a fall on the penultimate jump, a triple axel.
“I gave a miserable performance in the free skate, so I feel very apologetic,” Hanyu said. “I felt like I tried my best. It couldn’t be helped because of my weak ankle. I did what I could do.”
Hanyu went into the free skate with a 20-point lead after setting a world record in the Nov. 16 short program, but his preparations were cut short when he fell during an official practice session. (AP, Kyodo, AFP-Jiji)