Yuzuru Hanyu, Nathan Chen top Weibo’s search rankings following Olympics free skating faceoff

  • After an unsuccessful attempt to win his third consecutive gold medal at the Olympics, Yuzuru Hanyu has received an outpouring of praise and support from fans.
  • Hanyu has been a trending topic on Weibo following his free skate performance on Thursday, in which he attempted a quadruple axel, along with the hashtag #4a, a reference to the notorious jump that has featured heavily at this year’s events.
  • Fans have commended the 27-year-old “Ice Prince” from Japan for attempting to take on such a difficult challenge.
  • Meanwhile, U.S. athlete Nathan Chen, who recently earned a gold medal at Thursday’s free skate competition, has been receiving mostly criticism on Chinese social media while also trending on Weibo’s search ranking.
  • Many of the comments on Chen’s performance have been negative due to his interview comments in regards to China’s human rights issue and his Chinese American identity.

Following his gold medal-winning free skate performance on Thursday, Nathan Chen, as well as Japan’s two-time champion Yuzuru Hanyu, have both been trending search topics on Weibo. 

Chen finished the event in first place with a total score of 332.60, while Hanyu finished fourth with a total score of 283.21. 

During Hanyu’s performance, the 27-year-old attempted to land the world’s first quadruple axel but was unable to succeed. Many of Hanyu’s fans took to social media to express their admiration and support for his ambitious attempt. One Chinese spectator at the event even cheered the skater on in Japanese during his performance after his fall, reported Kyodo News

Following Hanyu’s performance, as well as the performances of Nathan Chen and Kamila Valieva, who recently became the first male and female skaters to land quadruple axels at the Olympics, the hashtag #4a, a reference to the notorious jump, became a trending search topic on Weibo. 

According to BBC, Weibo users left encouraging messages for the immensely popular Hanyu, with one commenting, “Win or lose it doesn’t matter, the Olympics are about trying to break through your own boundaries.”

Another user wrote, “No matter or not you are a champion – you’re still an ice skating miracle. Every performance is his best.”

Chen’s performance also went viral on Chinese social media, trending at second overall on the search rankings, following his gold medal win. Despite a record-breaking performance at Thursday’s competition, many Weibo users denounced Chen’s performance while calling him derogatory names in reference to his Chinese American heritage. 

According to Bloomberg, some users called the 22-year-old a “banana,” a term used to describe someone of Chinese descent as being too Westernized, while others have described his performance as average.

Other users claimed that Chen was “insulting China,” referring to an interview he had done before the games where he talked about China’s human rights issue and how the Olympics was “bringing it to light,” Bloomberg reported.

Among the negative comments, however, were also positive ones that praised Chen for his gold medal win and his world-record performance, with the hashtag #AmericanPlayerChenWeiGoldMedal also trending on Weibo, reported BBC.

Featured Image via NBC Sports (left, right)

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