Japanese figure skating icon Yuzuru Hanyu announced she is retiring from competition on Tuesday but will continue her attempts to land the elusive quad Axel as a professional exhibition skater.
Two-time Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu holds a press conference in Tokyo on July 19, 2022. (Kyodo)
After missing out on a third consecutive Olympic gold medal at the Beijing Games in February, the 27-year-old double world champion left it unclear if he would ever compete on the ice again.
“I can no longer be compared to other competitors,” he said during a press conference in Tokyo. “But I will continue to fight my weaknesses and my past self.”
“In terms of results, I achieved what I could achieve. I stopped wanting to be judged.”
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He nearly became the first athlete to land a quad Axel in competition during the free skate in Beijing, falling while attempting a four-and-a-half spin jump.
In a composite image taken on February 10, 2022, Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan performs a quad Axel during the men’s free skate program at the Beijing Winter Olympics at the Capital Indoor Stadium in Beijing. (Kyodo) == Kyodo
Hanyu, also a four-time Grand Prix Final winner and six-time national champion, withdrew from the World Championships in March after recovering from a sprained ankle he sustained in Beijing.
“I continued all the way to Beijing chasing the quad Axel, but I feel like I can do it, not necessarily in competition… I really feel like it gives more people a chance to see it (in person).”
“I made the decision (to stop competing) after Beijing… I thought a lot and realized that I no longer need to be on the same stage, and also felt more determined to become better and stronger.”
Japanese figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu performs his free skate at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea on February 17, 2018 (Kyodo) ==Kyodo
A native of Sendai in the Tohoku region of northeast Japan, Hanyu inspired the victims of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that devastated the area with his victory at the 2014 Sochi Games.
He did historic defense of his Olympic gold at the 2018 PyeongChang Games.becoming the first to accomplish a feat in sports in 66 years since the American Dick Button.
Injuries have been a constant in Hanyu’s brilliant career.
Hanyu returned from injury at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics after suffering a ligament injury in his right ankle while training for the NHK Trophy in November 2017. Three months before Beijing 2022, another ligament injury to the same ankle forced him to withdraw from the NHK Trophy. again.
Defensive world and Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu falls while training in Osaka on November 9, 2017 to receive the NHK trophy. The spill is so severe that it needs treatment. Aiming for his third consecutive NHK title this weekend, Hanyu appeared to have injured his right ankle when he fell while attempting a quad lutz. (Kyodo)
He finished fourth at the Beijing Winter Olympics. in February.
After an unsuccessful bid for three peats in Beijing, Hanyu said he had “nothing more to give” and that he needed time to think about his future.
“It doesn’t matter what area it’s in,” he said of his next move after the Olympic gala. “It could be an ice show or a competition.”
Japanese figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu performs at the Fantasy on Ice show at Makuhari Messe in Chiba, near Tokyo, on May 27, 2022. (Kyodo) == Kyodo
Hanyu returned to the ice for a four-stop Fantasy on Ice show that took place in May and June in Japan.
Hanyu, who started skating at age 4, survived the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that devastated the area and became a local hero when he won his first Olympic gold in Sochi in 2014 as a teenager.
Japanese figure skating superstar Yuzuru Hanyu at the age of five at the rink in November 2000. (Photo courtesy of the Hanyu family) (Kyodo)
He is the youngest recipient of the Japanese Government’s People’s Honor Award. receiving an award from then Prime Minister Shinzo Abe when he was 23 years old.
A photo taken in Sendai on July 19, 2022 shows a copy of a local newspaper supplemental issue announcing that two-time Winter Olympic gold medalist Yuzuru Hanyu, 27, from a city in northeast Japan, has decided to retire from competition. skating. (Kyodo) == Kyodo
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