Yuzuru Hanyu took a big step toward winning gold at the 2014 Sochi Olympics after posting a new world record in his short program.
Christine Brennan of USA Today provided the details of the captivating performance:
Hanyu breaks his own WR w/ 101.45 points. He will be almost impossible to beat for gold, barring, well, any of stuff that happened earlier.— Christine Brennan (@cbrennansports) February 13, 2014
Skating to "Parisian Walkways" by Gary Moore, the Japanese star was nearly flawless. At the conclusion of the short program, he had about a four-point lead over reigning world champion Patrick Chan of Canada.
Nick McCarvel of NBC Olympics described the show with what he expected the score to be:
After hearing the score that actually exceeded his high expectations, McCarvel believed this to be deserved:
Will Brinson of CBS Sports sees this as the start of a great career for Hanyu:
Yuzuru Hanyu first man to ever bust 100 points in a short program. Dude's winning every gold medal for the next 12 years— Will Brinson (@WillBrinson) February 13, 2014
Of course, the 19-year-old figure skater will first have to win gold in Sochi by coming through with another strong performance in the free skate. If he skates like he did in the short program, he should have no problem holding off Chan, who is the only skater within 14 points of him.
Hanyu did not show his free skate routine during the team competition as compatriot Tatsuki Machida took the ice for the longer program. However, Hanyu was dominant in the short program to start the week with a score of 97.98 to give Japan an early lead, which it did not keep.
After the opening competition, the teenage sensation was most impressed with beating Russian legend Evgeni Plushenko. According to the South China Morning Post, Hanyu explained, "I envied Plushenko for a long time and admired him and to be able to fight and defeat Plushenko on the same night is unbelievable."
Unfortunately, fans have apparently seen the last of Plushenko after he withdrew from the men's competition and retired, according to Barry Wilner of the Associated Press (h/t ABC News).
Still, there seems to be a new star on the rise in men's figure skating as Hanyu breaks new ground with his impressive performances.
Follow Rob Goldberg on Twitter for the latest breaking news and analysis.