Nov. 17 (UPI) -- Yuzuru Hanyu took gold at the Rostelecom Cup figure skating competition in Moscow on Saturday after sustaining an ankle injury during morning practice. He won with a lead of 29.84 points.
The Japanese skater gave fans a scare and a dose of deja vu when he took a hard fall. In his second Grand Prix event last year, Hanyu sustained a major injury to his ankle that nearly kept him from Pyeongchang Winter Olympics -- which he went on to win. On Saturday, he injured the same ankle.
"I twisted my foot this morning and it really hurts. It wasn't as bad as last year," Hanyu told the Olympic Channel. "This injury made me change my program and sadly, I couldn't perform the way I wanted. I think this is a big problem for my ankle."
After the injury, Hanyu decided to skate anyway. He suffered a fall and several other major mistakes in his free skate performance. But his successful jumps, along with Friday's world record-breaking score, carried him to victory. He landed two clean quads -- a salchow and a toe loop.
"So he was having treatment all morning and it was a big question if he was going to skate," said his coach, Brian Orser. "We had to change the order of the jumps, we had to make a lot of changes. He made a lot of changes."
"The doctor told me not to skate because the injury would get worse, but I still decided to go for it. That was my choice," Hanyu said.
His free skate program is a tribute to acclaimed Russian skater Evgeni Plushenko. The decision to skate Saturday was largely tied to Hanyu's conviction to honor him at a competition in Russia.
"I was thinking to stop this competition after my injury but it's my choice," Hanyu said. "I trained hard to pay tribute to Russian skating and Russian choreography. I am satisfied with how I could skate here."
Hanyu appeared in a post-competition press conference on crutches and said he was unsure whether he would be able to compete in the Grand Prix Final. This season is the first time he has won a gold medal at both of his Grand Prix assignments, which determine qualification for finals.
The Grand Prix series continues with the Internationaux de France on Friday in Grenoble, France. The Grand Prix Finals will be held in Vancouver beginning Dec. 6.