Voronov leads NHK Trophy after injury to Hanyu
Sergei Voronov is happy to be seen as a veteran of his sport after taking advantage of Yuzuru Hanyu's injury to claim the lead at the Grand Prix of Figure Skating NHK Trophy.
Olympic champion and home favourite Hanyu was forced to withdraw due to an ankle injury sustained during practice in Osaka.
And 30-year-old Voronov took the opportunity with both hands, recording a season's best 90.06 in the men's short programme to lead the competition.
Fighting for a top-six spot in the series overall to earn a place in December's final, the two-time European medallist insists his age does not affect his skating.
"In my country, a veteran is a respected person, a veteran of the war for example," he said.
"At 30 years old, you just start to flourish in life. The most important thing is that you love what you are doing. If we didn't love it, we couldn't do it.
"I am happy with my performance because not only the jumps but the whole program came out at a high level."
Israel's Alexei Bychenko finished behind Voronov with another season's best, 85.52 points while Jason Brown could still qualify for his first Grand Prix final after finishing third.
World champions Wenjing Sui and Cong Han skated to the lead in the pairs event, scoring 79.43 points, with world silver medallists Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov second and Kristina Astakhova and Alexei Rogonov coming third with a personal best of 70.47 points.
World champion and Rostelecom Cup winner Evgenia Medvedeva once more dominated the women's short program, but the rising star of the show was young talent Polina Tsurskaya.
The 16-year-old's personal best score of 70.04 points left her in third on her debut performance at international senior level – completed to the sound of the Game of Thrones theme tune.
A particularly poignant moment came during second-placed Carolina Kostner's performance, dedicated to two young Italian skaters who recently died in a car accident on their way home from a competition.