Golden Skate

Han Yan leads men at Cup of China after two-year hiatus

Han Yan

China’s Han Yan performs his Short Program at 2019 Cup of China

2019 Cup of China

Men’s Short Program

Coming off a two-year hiatus after shoulder surgery, China’s Han Yan took the lead in the men’s event on home ice on Friday night at 2019 Cup of China. Close behind is teammate Boyang Jin, followed by Matteo Rizzo of Italy.

Skating to “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri, a calm and confident Yan landed a triple Axel, triple flip-triple toe, and triple Lutz. The 23-year-old from Harbin also displayed good footwork and level 4 spins to grab the lead with 86.46 points.

“I am just very happy to be here,” said the 2018 Chinese national champion. “I said I want to come back, and I want to fulfill my promise. The short program was not perfect, there were some small mistakes, but it was exciting for me to perform in competition again and I enjoyed the welcome of the spectators and the judges.”

Last to skate, Jin fell on a quad Lutz, but ralllied to land a quad toe-double toe and triple Axel. The 2019 Four Continents silver medalist also delivered good level 4 footwork and spins in his routine to “First Light”, scoring 85.43 points for second place.

“I had too much power going into my first jump,” observed the 22-year-old. “I lost control and fell. Overall, I felt very positive, but I did not quite show my training level today.”

Rizzo took a fall on a triple Lutz, but otherwise landed a strong quad toe and triple Axel in his routine to Start A Fire” by John Legend. The 2019 European bronze medalist showed level 4 footwork and two level 4 spins to place third with 81.72 points.

“It is great to be back in China,” said the 21-year-old. “It is already the second time for me this season. As for my performance, obviously I am not happy with what I’ve done. I made a huge mistake, but I’m happy with the beginning of the program⁠—it was quite strong.”

USA’s Camden Pulkinen fell on his opening quad toe, but recovered to land a triple Axel and triple Lutz-triple toe. Two spins were graded a level 4 and the 2018 U.S. junior national champion earned 78.92 points for fourth place.

Keegan Messing of Canada sits in fifth with 76.80 points. The 2019 Autumn Classic bronze medalist fell on his opening quad toe, but landed a double Axel and triple Lutz-triple toe.

He Zhang China is in sixth place with a new personal best of 76.03, followed by Keiji Tanaka (74.64) and Russia’s Andrei Lazukin (74.31).