Japanese teenager Yuzuku Hanyu survived two falls to emerge on top of a tense and error-ridden finale to the men's figure skating competition at the Winter Olympics in Sochi Friday.
The 19-year-old had set a world-record score in the short program, but under pressure of expectation in the concluding free routine appeared to have blown his chances as he failed to land two jumps.
However, there was drama still to come on day seven of the Games as three-time world champion Patrick Chan of Canada once again saw his dreams of Olympic gold crumble.
A lackluster display littered with mistakes saw Chan fail to overhaul Hanyu, who was left as a relieved winner -- Japan's first in the event as the country opened its gold-medal account in Sochi.
He is the youngest winner of the figure skating competition at a Winter Games for 66 years. "I'm so proud of this feat as a Japanese," he said.
"The Olympics is so wild and unpredictable. I've never been this nervous for a competition in my entire life. I'm upset with the performance I had, but I left everything I had out there."
The 101.45 points Hanyu accrued in such incredible style Thursday gave him sufficient buffer to take the gold with a total of 280.09.
Chan took silver on 275.62 points, but it will be little consolation with ultimate triumph within his grasp. Denis Ten of Kazakhstan won the bronze.
Chan admitted he had felt the pressure in bidding for Canada's first gold of the Games.
"We're all human. Even (snowboard star) Shaun White makes mistakes. Unfortunately, I made one too many," the 23-year-old said.
Russia's main hope, Yevgeny Plushenko, had to pull out before the start of the short program after damaging his back in the warmup.
Swiss upsets the odds
Earlier Friday, the upsets continued in the alpine skiing competition as Switzerland's Sandro Viletta took the men's super-combined title.
The 28-year-old had never won a medal in a major championship and had won just a single World Cup event.
But his combined time of two minutes 45.20 seconds over the downhill and slalom runs gave him gold.
"This is amazing -- it's perfect, it's more than a dream come true. It's also a big shock. I didn't think I would come first," he said.
Croatian veteran Ivica Kostelic finished second, 0.34 seconds behind Viletta, to claim his fourth Olympic silver and third in the combined.
He was competing on a slalom course set by his father, who also coaches him. All the coaches of the top-15 ranked skiers go into a lottery to decide who will can lay out the course and Ante Kostelic won the draw.
Italy's Christof Innerhofer followed his silver in Sunday's downhill by claiming the bronze medal.
He had only praise for the course designer, despite finishing behind his son.
"I thank Ante Kostelic for setting a good course," he said.
But defending champion Bode Miller never recovered after a disappointing downhill run and finished sixth while world champion and U.S. compatriot Ted Ligety trailed home 12th.
The variable ski conditions may have worked against the favorites, as Ligety suggested after his disappointing performance.
"They really make for funky results. You can see the results sheet so far. It's far from the World Cup result sheets," he said.
"But we all have to ski and deal with it. There are no excuses."