TOKYO -- U.S. figure skater Nathan Chen won the Olympic gold medal on Thursday, beating Japanese rivals including two time Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu, after scoring a total of 332.60 points in the men's short and free programs.
Japanese skater Yuma Kagiyama won the silver medal, while compatriot Shoma Uno won the bronze. Champion Chen scored more than 20 points higher than Kagiyama, who had 310.05 points. Uno scored 293 points.
Hanyu finished in fourth with 283.21 points, followed by Junhwan Cha of South Korea, who scored 282.38.
If he had ranked first, Hanyu would have become the first male figure skater to win three straight Olympic golds in 94 years.
A quadruple axel would be challenging for anyone, but the hurdle was even higher for Hanyu, who has hardly competed this season due to an ankle injury. In the end, Hanyu failed to land the jump and a high-scoring quadruple Salchow shortly after that, and fell short of the gold.
"I did my best. ... I tried so hard, I couldn't have done it any better. ... [Attempting a quadruple axel] was maybe an unrewarding effort, but I did my best," Hanyu told media after his performance.
"It is important not to make mistakes, I know, otherwise you can't win, but in a sense, those two mistakes in the first part of the performance formed the story of my 'Heaven and Earth,'" Hanyu added, referring to the song to which he performed.
In the first round of men's figure skating on Tuesday, Hanyu had disappointing results, missing a quadruple Salchow, the opening jump of his Olympic skating routine.
Ranked eighth after the short program, Hanyu tried to recover and make it to the podium by attempting a quadruple axel, a jump never completed in official competition. Axels are the most difficult of the sport's six kinds of jumps -- they are the only ones where the skater steps forward and lands backward.
Hanyu has been in the spotlight in the Olympic host country, too. On Thursday morning, before Hanyu's program started, "#Is it possible for Yuzuru Hanyu to achieve the triple crown?" was the third-most-trending topic on China's Twitter-like Weibo.
Under COVID restrictions, the limited audience at the stadium, who were invited by the Beijing 2022 organizing committee, were not allowed to bring in stuffed animals, and so the usual scenes of Hanyu being showered with Pooh bears after his performance were absent. In China, Winnie the Pooh has been banned after being likened to the president.
After his performance, Hanyu left the rink with a deep bow. Fans in the almost-empty rink cheered as he walked away.
Even though Hanyu did not make it to the podium, "#Why everyone loves Yuzuru Hanyu" was now the most trending topic in Weibo.
One Weibo user wrote, "Attempting difficult moves, even if he failed, he still got up to finish the subsequent moves and performances, and maintained an excellent level."