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World Figure Skating Championships: Machida upstages Olympic Champion

Today, March 26, the men took to the ice for the short program at the 2014 World Figure Skating Championships. It seems that some of the men decided to put up a fight, making it more difficult for Olympic gold medalist, Yuzuru Hanyu, to collect the world title.

Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan competes in the Men's Short Program during ISU World Figure Skating Championships at Saitama Super Arena on March 26, 2014 in Saitama, Japan.
Photo by Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images

Tatsuki Machida gave a brilliant performance, stealing the show away from Hanyu, executing each of his elements effortlessly. He truly had the strongest, cleanest skate of the event, landing a gorgeous quadruple toe-triple toe combination. He was rewarded nicely with a seasons best score of 98.21.

Coming in just two points behind Machida, Spain’s Javier Fernandez, performed one of his best short programs all season as well. His quadruple salchow was absolutely beautiful and the strain of having gone through the Olympic Games did not show at all. Javier seems ready to fight for his spot on the podium.

Coming off an Olympic gold medal win, having the World Championships in his own home country and now trying to obtain his first-ever world title, might have just been a little too much for Yuzuru Hanyu. Hanyu fell on his opening quadruple toe-loop, which surprised everyone, including Hanyu. He quickly collected himself and performed the rest of his program error-free. Hanyu’s short program is loaded with difficult, high scoring elements, which helped put him currently in third place. Though it’s only third place, he is almost seven points away from the lead, which is a pretty large gap to close in the free skate.

Another surprise was Tomas Verner who genuinely seemed to enjoy himself and had a great skate, putting him currently in fourth.

American, Jeremy Abbott fell on his opening quadruple but regrouped and completed his program well, putting him currently in eighth place with Max Aaron trailing right behind him in ninth place.

Patrick Chan has dominated the world title for three years, but with his absence a new champion will be crowned on Friday, March 28 when the men take to the ice for the free skate.

Men's short program: Current standings