What if I told you that after the medals ceremony Yuzuru Hanyu went off-stage and, after giving an interview to a Japanese television, took off his gold medal and put it around Brian Orser’s neck? Mr. Orser smiled with emotion – and this particular moment was one of the many magical ones surrounding Yuzuru Hanyu’s win in Barcelona.
by Florentina Tone
This is, of course, Yuzuru’s second Grand Prix Final title, after the one he got in Fukuoka last year, but, boy, oh, boy, the Spanish crowd made him feel exactly like home. “You’re a crazy audience!”, an enthusiastic Yuzuru said in the Kiss and Cry, after he’d seen his gigantic scores (194.08 points for the free and 288.16 overall), had thrown his hands in the air with excitement and hugged his coach. This was a season best performance for Yuzuru (and, really, how much more can he do?) and Barcelona will definitely stay in his mind as the place where he triumphed, letting himself carried away by the music, feeling it, living it, and making once again history in the men’s event and figure skating as a whole. It was truly the program of an Olympic champion, skated in a loudly and very supportive arena, and the fact that he could share the emotions of the event with Javier Fernandez, in Javier’s country, might have proven an incredible incentive for this talented young athlete, who nailed a masterpiece of a program and ran away with the gold.
Heading to the boards after his performance – actually, a missed triple Lutz toward the end of the program kept the scores from skyrocketing – Yuzuru jumped into Brian Orser’s arms; and when the scores were showed, the audience roared in delight, as it had done after every jump the Japanese skater nailed during his free skating, to music from “The Phantom of the Opera”. In the Kiss and Cry, Yuzuru thanked the public for such a treat, turning respectfully to every part of the arena, and, minutes later, on the podium, he was Javier’s biggest fan, jumping, laughing, applauding – and, more than that, asking the public to join him in giving the Spaniard the best possible welcome to the second place of the podium. These two young men, sharing the same coach and training place in Toronto, looked happy and proud – and to me, and, I’m sure, to many others, this particular outcome (Yuzuru getting the gold and Javier, the silver) was the perfect ending to the men’s event; and one of the best moments – if not, indeed, the best – of the entire event in Barcelona.
One thing is sure: right after the performance, in the Kiss and Cry, during the medals ceremony, while making the tour of the arena with a Japanese flag on his shoulders and, later on, in the press conference, Yuzuru Hanyu’s joy was almost palpable. He kept smiling and laughing, exchanging accomplice looks with Javier and making jokes (as the scene in which Yuzuru “took a picture” of the Spaniard, his fingers taking the shape of a camera, in a moment in which all the photographers in the room did exactly the same thing, of course, with real cameras in their hands).
Hours of excitement in Barcelona, during and after the men’s free program – and I for one I’m thrilled I was there to witness them all. So, here it is, the (photo) story of Yuzuru’s win in Barcelona. I’m sure that after seeing the pictures you’ll have a large smile on your faces; that huge has been the joy.