Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan built off his record-breaking performance in the short program with a solid showing in the free skate to win the gold medal in men's singles figure skating. Patrick Chan of Canada won silver and Denis Ten of Kazakhstan took bronze.
The second part of the competition went exactly as expected. There was a major battle among nearly a dozen skaters for the bronze medal, while Hanyu and Chan advanced their budding rivalry by skating for the top spot on the Olympic podium.
Let's check out how all 24 skaters who qualified for the free program finished, both in the second discipline and overall. The results are followed by a recap of the action from the Iceberg Skating Palace and the current medal count.
Men's Free Skate and Overall Results
|Place||Skater||Country||Free Score (Rank)||Total|
|1||Yuzuru Hanyu||JPN||178.64 (1)||280.09|
|2||Patrick Chan||CAN||178.10 (2)||275.62|
|3||Denis Ten||KAZ||171.04 (3)||255.10|
|4||Javier Fernandez||ESP||166.94 (5)||253.92|
|5||Tatsuki Machida||JPN||169.94 (4)||253.42|
|6||Daisuke Takahashi||JPN||164.27 (6)||250.67|
|7||Yan Han||CHN||160.54 (7)||246.20|
|8||Peter Liebers||GER||153.83 (9)||239.87|
|9||Jason Brown||USA||152.37 (11)||238.37|
|10||Michal Brezina||CZE||151.67 (13)||233.62|
|11||Tomas Verner||CZE||151.90 (12)||232.99|
|12||Jeremy Abbott||USA||160.12 (8)||232.70|
|13||Brian Joubert||FRA||145.93 (14)||231.77|
|14||Alexander Majorov||SWE||141.05 (16)||224.86|
|15||Kevin Reynolds||CAN||153.47 (10)||222.23|
|16||Jorik Hendrickx||BEL||141.52 (15)||214.04|
|17||Misha Ge||UZB||135.19 (17)||203.26|
|18||Florent Amodio||FRA||123.06 (18)||198.64|
|19||Michael Christian Martinez||PHI||119.44 (20)||184.25|
|20||Yakov Godorozha||UKR||119.54 (19)||182.19|
|21||Alexei Bychenko||ISR||114.62 (21)||177.06|
|22||Abzal Rakimgaliev||KAZ||110.22 (22)||174.40|
|23||Zoltan Kelemen||ROU||98.35 (23)||158.76|
|24||Viktor Romanenkov||EST||78.44 (24)||139.99|
The free program was split into four groups of six. The first two sets of skaters were those that struggled to remain within striking distance of the podium during the short program. That doesn't mean there weren't a couple impressive performances, though.
United States national champion Jeremy Abbott watched his medal hopes slip away on Thursday after a hard fall. He could have stopped right there; instead, he got up and finished the routine. He followed that with much stronger all-around performance in the free skate.
Jim Caple of ESPN passed along comments from the American after the short program. Abbott remained upbeat despite being disappointed that one moment ended his podium hopes.
"As much as a disappointment this is, I'm not ashamed," Abbott said. "I'm not the least bit ashamed. I stood up and I finished that program, and I'm proud of my effort and what I did under the circumstances."
He responded with a clean, albeit not perfect, second phase of the competition to salvage a respectable final score. Who knows how things would have turned out without the fall, but he deserves a lot of credit for finishing strong.
Another impressive skater from the first half of the free program was Tomas Verner of the Czech Republic. He missed on several elements over two days, which prevented him from getting into the medal mix, but when he connected, it was right up there with the top contenders.
His total score was enough to give him the lead heading into the midway break, as TSN Skate noted, but the potential was much higher. He just wasn't able to deliver flawless elements when he needed them most.
Tomas Verner into first place with a FP score of 151.90 and a total score of 232.99 #Sochi2014— TSN Skate (@SkateTSN) February 14, 2014
As expected, the competition started to heat up in the second half of the free program. There were 11 skaters within six points of a bronze-medal position and then the battle at the top between Hanyu and Chan, who both had terrific short programs.
Ten came out immediately after the break and put together a great program. He connected on a triple Axel and triple toe combination that really took the routine to another level and put pressure on the other bronze contenders.
Although the score wasn't going to hold up, Darren Rovell of ESPN provided an interesting note about what Ten would have received if he did win gold:
The country that gives the most cash for a gold medal? Kazakhstan ($250,000)— darren rovell (@darrenrovell) February 14, 2014
The only skater who seriously challenged Ten in the third group was Japan's Tatsuki Machida. He had the program elements to move atop the standings heading into the final group, but he simply didn't execute. The low grades of execution allowed Ten to stay in first.
Once the final group took to the ice, there were certainly some signs of nerves. Spain's Javier Fernandez and Japan's Daisuke Takahashi, who proved their talent in the short program, simply failed to deliver their best skates on the Olympic stage.
Neither was able to get the technical scores necessary to overcome Ten. It illustrated the small margin for error in the Games.
Hanyu took the ice next and had a chance to all but lock up the gold with a perfect routine. He couldn't do it. Two mistakes early in the program ensured Chan would still have an opportunity to make a comeback.
Dawn Rhodes of the Chicago Tribune noted the three elements where the Japanese star failed to convert with precision:
Ooh, boy. Yuzuru Hanyu has left the door open for Mr. Chan. Fell on the quad salchow, stepped out of triple flip, shaky on 2nd axel— Dawn Rhodes (@rhodes_dawn) February 14, 2014
While it was still a good enough routine to move him comfortably into first, it certainly wasn't on the level he was hoping for when the skate began.
Chan couldn't capitalize. Aside from an early quad toe and triple toe combination, which was textbook, the execution fans have come to expect from the Canadian just wasn't there. He failed to deliver on a couple Axels and couldn't convert his other quad.
It was a disappointing showing because Hanyu gave him a direct path to the top of the podium and he didn't get the job done like he had so many times in the past. That includes gold medals at the World Championships each of the past three years.
Damien Cox of the Toronto Star probably summed up the thoughts from around Canada:
That's got to be massively disappointing for Patrick Chan, to come up with that performance after Hanyu fell twice. Too bad.— Damien Cox (@DamoSpin) February 14, 2014
After a middling performance from Peter Liebers of Germany, the United States' Jason Brown was the final skater. He had a chance to capture bronze.
The American teenager couldn't rise to the occasion, however. There were simply too many minor mistakes along the way to earn a medal-worthy score from the judges. But it was definitely a tremendous learning experience for him to build off moving forward.
For the competition, that meant Ten held on to his podium spot. He was the first skater of the third group and posted a score that held up all the way to the end.
Looking ahead, Hanyu, 19, and Chan, 23, should continue to set the standard for the next four years. Whether they will be able to maintain such a large edge over the rest of the field, giving themselves some wiggle room for mistakes as they did this time around, is a question mark.
There are plenty of fellow young skaters who will look to push their way into the mix alongside that duo. That includes Ten, Machida, Fernandez and Brown, among others. It will be interesting to see how the field sets up for the 2018 Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Current Medal Count