Spain’s Javier Fernandez competes during the men’s free skate. (Alexander Demianchuk-Reuters)

SOCHI, Russia — Standing third after Thursday’s short program, Javier Fernandez of Spain was first up among the last six skaters to compete in Friday’s men’s free skate, which will determine the 2014 Olympic champion.

The most prolific practitioner of the quadruple jump, Fernandez was the lone competitor who planned three quad jumps. He pulled of a dazzling quad toe loop to open but got shaky from there—doubling the second jump of a planned quad salchow-triple toe combination and stepping out of a triple axel.

Fernandez is a stylish performer, but almost certainly cost himself a spot on the podium in tackling such an ambitious program. His marks, 166.94, vaulted him into second (total score of 253.92), with the leader, Yuzuru Hanyu, and three-time world champion Patrick Chan still to come.

Up next: Japan’s Daisuke Takahashi, the 2010 world champion; Hanyu; Chan; Peter Liebers of Germany; and 19-year-old Jason Brown of the United States, making his Olympic debut.


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