Yuzuru Hanyu: Japanese figure skating icon retires from competition

The 27-year-old, dressed in a suit and tie at a press conference in Tokyo, said that as long as he withdraws from competition, he will continue his career as a professional athlete.

He added that he will continue to strive to achieve the legendary quad Axel, which has never been completed in competition, following his failed attempt at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.

Hanyu, a two-time world champion and winner of four Grand Prix Finals, is known to his fans around the world, including many fans in China, as “The Ice Prince”.

His supporters are known for throwing Winnie the Pooh’s toys on the ice after his performances; the skater considers the character A. A. Milne to be a good luck charm.

On Tuesday, Hanyu expressed his “deepest gratitude” to his fans, adding that he hopes people will continue to support him and believe that “it’s worth watching me ride.”

Japanese figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu holds a press conference in Tokyo on July 19, 2022.

“Please keep watching me fight,” he said, bowing several times to cameras and reporters.

Many fans flooded social media to express their support for his decision on Tuesday, thanking him for his hard work and dedication to the sport over the years.

Hanyu won his first gold medal at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi at the age of 19, becoming the youngest male champion since 1948 and the first Asian male to win gold in figure skating. His performance in Sochi immediately made him a star and, perhaps, Japan the most famous athlete.
Yuzuru Hanyu skating at Fantasy on Ice 2022 at the Makuhari Event Hall in Chiba, Japan.

He defended his title at the 2018 Pyeongchang Games, becoming the first male figure skater since 1952 to win back-to-back Olympic gold.

After his victory in 2018, fans sent him tens of thousands of congratulatory messages, including one from the then prime minister. Shinzo Abe – who subsequently awarded Khan with the People’s Award, making him the youngest recipient of the prize.

Hanyu attempted a third gold medal at the Beijing Winter Games in February, but injured his ankle during practice and fell while attempting the infamous quad Axel.

Why Japan is in slavery to figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu

Hanyu failed to successfully complete a four-and-a-half-spin jump before putting him on the ice and ended up finishing fourth in the competition.

Afterwards, he said in a press conference that his ankle was so sore the morning before the final that he considered withdrawing and would “definitely” do so if it were “any other competition”. site of the Olympics. The same ankle had already been the source of repeated injuries in the months leading up to the Games.
Fans throw gifts on the ice to Yuzuru Hanyu after the men's short program at the Gangneung Ice Arena.
An ankle injury prevented him from taking part in the World Figure Skating Championships in March. Olympic website.

In June, Hanyu held a tour of Japan with an ice show but did not speak to the media, according to the Olympics website.