Japanese figure skating icon Yuzuru Hanyu has announced that he will retire from competition on Tuesday but will continue to try to get the elusive four-axis axle as a professional skater at the show.
Two-time Olympic champion Yozuru Hanyu holds a press conference in Tokyo on July 19, 2022 (Kyodo)
After losing a third consecutive Olympic gold at the Beijing Olympics in February, the two-time world champion, 27, has left it unclear whether he will compete again on ice.
“I will no longer be able to compare with other competitors,” he said during a press conference in Tokyo. “But I will continue to fight against my weaknesses and my former self.”
“In terms of results, I’ve achieved the things I can. I stopped wanting to evaluate.”
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He narrowly missed out on becoming the first athlete to land a quadruple jump in competition during free skating in Beijing, falling in his attempt at the semi-rotation quad jump.
A composite photo taken on February 10, 2022, shows Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan attempting to use a quad axle during the men’s free skating at the Beijing Winter Olympics at the Capital Indoor Stadium in Beijing. (kyudo) == kyudo
Hanyu, a four-time Grand Prix final winner and six-time national champion, withdrew from the world championships in March because he had not recovered from the ankle sprain he sustained in Beijing.
“I’ve gone all the way to Beijing in pursuit of the quadruple axel but I feel I can do that, not necessarily in competitions…I actually feel it gives more people a chance to watch it (in person).”
“I made the decision (to stop competing) after Beijing… I thought about many things and felt like I didn’t need to be on the same stage anymore, while also feeling more determined to get better and stronger.”
Japanese figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu performs free skating at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea, on February 17, 2018 (Kyodo) == Kyodo
Born in Sendai in Japan’s northeastern Tohoku region, Hanyu inspired the victims of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that devastated the region with his victory at the 2014 Sochi Games.
He made Historic defense of his Olympic gold at the 2018 PyeongChang Gamesbecoming the first to achieve this feat in the sport in 66 years, since American Dick Button.
Injuries were a constant in Hanyu’s illustrious career.
Hanyu returned from injury at the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang after sustaining damage to his right ankle ligament when training for the NHK Cup in November 2017. Three months before Beijing 2022, another ankle ligament injury forced him to withdraw from the NHK Cup repeatedly.
World and Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu falls during training in Osaka on November 9, 2017, for the NHK Cup, as the spill was bad enough to need treatment. In pursuit of his third consecutive NHK title at the weekend, Hanyu appeared to have injured his right ankle when he fell while attempting a quadruped lutz. (Kyodo)
Finished fourth at the Beijing Winter Olympics in February.
After a failed attempt three times in Beijing, Hanyu said he had “no more to offer” and needed time to think about his future.
“It doesn’t matter what field it’s in,” he said of his next step after the Olympic festival. “It could be an ice show or a competition.”
Japanese figure skater Yozuru Hanyu performs at the Fantasy on Ice show at Makuhari Messe in Chiba, near Tokyo, on May 27, 2022. (Kyodo) == Kyodo
Hanyu is back on the ice for the four-station “Fantasy on Ice” show held in May and June in Japan.
Hanyu, who started skiing at the age of four, survived the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that devastated the region and became a local champion when he won his first Olympic gold in Sochi in 2014 as a teenager.
Five-year-old Japanese figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu is pictured at a skating rink in November 2000 (Photo courtesy of Hanyu Family) (Kyodo)
He is the youngest recipient of the People’s Honor Award from the Japanese government, After receiving the award from then-Prime Minister Shinzo Abe when he was 23 years old.
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