In a stunning turn of events, double Olympic figure skating champion Hanyu Yuzuru singled his opening quad Salchow in the men's short program for a less-than-stellar 95.15 points, placing eighth overall on Tuesday (8 February).
Hanyu said he was caught in a hole on the rink as he wound up for the first element of his performance at Beijing 2022.
"I’m struggling to get a hold of this more than anyone right now", Hanyu said at Capital Indoor Stadium, where the entire crowd gasped after popping his jump.
"Honestly, it feels like I didn’t even make a mistake. I don’t know, is it bad karma? Did I do something to be disliked by the ice? That’s how I feel, standing here being interviewed.
"Right at takeoff for the Salchow, on the curve, there was a hole. It wasn’t even a jump, really. My form was good, my rhythm felt right and I think you saw that in my other jumps".
Hanyu started 21st to the day's biggest pre-competition cheers - but who could have imagined the startling sequence waiting for figure skating's biggest star.
The 27-year-old Japanese only arrived here on Sunday afternoon and practised on Monday in the sub rink. Tuesday morning was the first time he set foot in the competition venue.
Hanyu - who held the world record in the short with a 111.82 until Nathan Chen shattered it on this day - virtually threw up his hands as he felt convinced and confident about the build-up he had to these Games since winning the nationals in December.
Hanyu in fighting mode for free skate
He said he feels like there was no mistake on his behalf.
"I don’t feel tired at all, easy physically", Hanyu said. "The preparation to get here was right. It’s mind-boggling because everything had gone right until now.
"Like I said, I don't feel like I made a mistake. My form was perfect. I felt razor sharp during the six minutes and I could sense things down to the centimeter, millimeter.
"I was being careful about avoiding holes in the ice so I probably swung out 10 centimeters more than I usually than this happens. What can you do".
The free skate is on Thursday. And he has not thrown in the towel just yet - because you never know, as it was for Hanyu on this day.
"Anything can happen. Let's see how things turn out. I’m just going to give it everything I’ve got and try to claw back into the competition".
Asked if he was still planning to attempt the quadruple Axel in the free, Hanyu was absolutely resolute.