Sochi Olympics' Yuzuru Hanyu Becomes the First Japanese Man to Win Gold in Figure Skating

Not quite a surprising Olympic moment, but an Olympic moment nonetheless: Just one day after making figure skating history — becoming the first person to break 100 points during his short program — Japan's Yuzuru Hanyu won the gold medal in men's figure skating, after an outstanding showing in Sochi. But lest you believe the short program marked the last time the 19-year-old broke a record, think again: After executing a routine that won him 178.64 points, Hanyu became the first Japanese man to ever win an Olympic gold medal in figure skating. Ever!

Though Hanyu's incredible showing should not be discounted, he was certainly aided by a shocking moment at this year's Olympics. Just prior to the start of the men's short program, Russian figure skating legend Evgeni Plushenko dropped out of the competition following an injury during warm-up. (Earlier in the week, Plushenko had helped Russia snag the gold medal in figure skating's first-ever Olympic team competition.) And though Patrick Chan proved to be a worthy competitor, the Canadian skater fell during his long program, picking up silver and allowing Hanyu to glide in for the win. As for bronze? Well, that went to Kazakhstan's Denis Ten, who hopefully proved to Americans watching that there's more to the country than the cultural stereotypes fabricated for Borat.

But what happened to the American skaters? Turns out, 2014 is not quite the best of times when it comes to U.S. men's figure skating. Though Jason Brown charmed audiences in Sochi, he finished in 9th place, while Jeremy Abbott — who, it should be noted, inspired the entire crowd after finishing his short program following a nasty fall — placed 12th. Still, it seems the former, who already won a team bronze in Sochi, is hardly upset to have missed out on making the podium in the individual competition:

We can certainly all bank on seeing that ponytail — and the elusive quad — again come 2018.

Image: Getty Images