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.
After losing his third consecutive Olympic gold medal at the Beijing Olympics in February, the 27-year-old world champion in 2014 and 2017 has left it unclear whether he will compete again on ice.
Two-time figure skating gold medalist Yuzuru Hanyu smiles during a press conference in Tokyo on July 19, 2022. The 27-year-old has announced his retirement from competition. (kyudo) == kyudo
“I will no longer be able to compare with other competitors,” he said during a press conference in Tokyo, where about 150 media outlets flocked to cover the world star’s words. “But I will continue to fight against my weaknesses and my former self.”
“In terms of results, I’ve achieved everything I can. I stopped wanting to evaluate.”
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He narrowly missed becoming the first athlete to land the quadruple jump of his childhood dreams of competing during free skating in Beijing, dropping his attempt at the half-alternation quadruple 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, also winner of four consecutive Grand Prix finals from 2013 and a 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 continued up to Beijing in pursuit of the quad axle, but I feel I can’t necessarily do that in competitions,” Hanyu said. “I actually feel like it’s giving more people a chance to see 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.”
Hanyu, a native of Sendai in Miyagi Prefecture in Japan’s northeastern Tohoku region, started the sport at the age of four and inspired the victims of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that devastated the region with a victory at the 2014 Sochi Games.
He was the first snowboarder not from Europe or the United States to win the Olympic competition.
Uncompromising with his leaps and not afraid to utter words with his coaching staff if necessary, Hanyu also had a unique talent for choreography that made him skate to classical, Japanese, or even rock among other subjects during his career.
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.
become hanyou Youngest recipient of the People’s Honor Award from the Japanese government At the age of 23 that year.
“They’re proof of my life,” he said of two Olympic golds, before saying he’s ice skating better now.
“It was like a normal thing for 23 and 24 year olds to run into a brick wall. I was 23 at the Pyeongchang Games and had been able to develop tremendously up to this point, including my jumping skills. I think I am at my best Currently.”
Hanyu revealed that he could have left the competition after the Olympic victory in February 2018, when he triumphed after returning from a right ankle ligament injury just three months ago.
Japanese figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu performs free skating at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea, on February 17, 2018 (Kyodo) == Kyodo
But he continued to fight as he had yet to win the Four Continents Championship, which he won in 2020 to claim all the major titles in the sport.
Fellow sports figures from Japan praised Hanyu’s career and personality following the recent announcement with speed skating superstar Nao Kodaira and Hiroyasu Shimizu as well as skaters Miki Ando and Kanako Murakami on the list.
Shuma Ono, the 24-year-old who won silver in 2018 and bronze in the 2022 Olympics, said his opponent was a “milestone” in his career.
“I’m full of determination and hope,” Hanyu said in his new class, though he admitted he finds it “extremely difficult” to draw a mental line between a rider and skater at the show.
“There are plans in the works but I’m reluctant to give you details…I think there are more ways to showcase snowboarding that are appropriate for this time and era,” he said. “I hope to make fans who never came to watch want to come.”
“I will appreciate the sporting value of snowboarding as a professional athlete while pursuing my ideals. I have no sense of loneliness.”
“I can categorically say (that I will not miss the competitions). I will try to provide this feeling of tension with my future activities.”
The merged image shows various facial expressions by two-time Olympic figure skating gold medalist Yuzuru Hanyu during a press conference in Tokyo on July 19, 2022. The 27-year-old announced his retirement from competition. (kyudo) == kyudo
Hanyu 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.”
Hanyu is back on the ice for the four-station “Fantasy on Ice” show held in May and June in Japan.
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
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