The men's figure skating event at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia came to a close on Feb.14 with the decisive long program round. The evening proved a tough one all around, as numerous skaters stumbled and Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan claimed gold over pre-event favorite and three-time world champion Patrick Chan of Canada despite delivering a less than perfect free skate.
Hanyu, who entered the round on a high after setting a world record short program mark of 101.45 on Feb. 13, skated just before Chan in the last group. NBC broadcaster and Olympic medalist Tara Lipinski was critical of the performance, which featured one significant fall as well as other more minor bobbles, calling it "safe" and opining that his combined score of 280.09 left the title in Chan's hands.
But then the unthinkable happened as Chan followed and committed numerous errors in his own program that left him with a disappointing silver medal-worthy total of 275.62. Denis Ten, who skated earlier in the evening, earned Kazakhstan its first-ever figure skating medal by capturing a surprise bronze with a total mark of 255.10. Hanyu's win represents Japan's first ever gold in Olympic figure skating.
Fan favorite Jason Brown of the United States closed out the program and had a chance to steal away the bronze, but a tight rendition of his popular "Riverdance" routine left him in ninth place. Despite falling from sixth place, Brown was visibly thrilled to earn a top 10 placement in his first Winter Games appearance. Jeremy Abbott recovered from a serious fall during his short program to finish a respectable 12th in his final Olympic appearance.
Figure skating at the 2013 Winter Olympics in Sochi resumes Feb. 16 with the short dance round of the ice dancing competition, featuring gold medal favorites Meryl Davis and Charlie White of the United States.