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Japanese determine skater Yuzuru Hanyu retires from competitors

TOKYO: Japan’s two-time Olympic determine skating champion Yuzuru Hanyu introduced his retirement from competitors on the age of 27 on Tuesday (Jul 19), after fighting accidents at this 12 months’s Beijing Video games.

It brings down the curtain on a glittering profession that has seen the elegant skater develop into a nationwide icon who’s trailed world wide by adoring followers.

It follows a string of accidents, together with at February’s Video games, the place the “Ice Prince” was dethroned as Olympic champion by rival Nathan Chen of the US, with Hanyu ending a disappointing fourth in Beijing.

Sporting a darkish swimsuit and bowing deeply as he took to the stage, Hanyu instructed a packed press convention in Tokyo that he was completed as a aggressive athlete.

“I am going to now not be in contrast with different skaters as a competitor,” Hanyu mentioned, saying he’ll focus on skating in exhibition exhibits for his followers.

“I’ve no unhappiness. I need to proceed to do my finest.”

Hanyu made clear his discomfort with the concept of being thought-about retired.

“I do not like utilizing the phrase ‘retire’,” he mentioned.

“Ice exhibits are usually thought-about one thing elegant and enjoyable, however I need to stay extra of an athlete … I need individuals to see me as I proceed to struggle.”

Together with his swish skating type and delicate, boyish seems to be, Hanyu is an icon for his “Fanyu” supporters, who bathe the ice with Winnie the Pooh toys after his routines. In Japan, the cartoon character has develop into intently related to Hanyu, who is commonly seen carrying a Winnie the Pooh tissue case to competitions.

He gained his first Olympic singles title on the 2014 Sochi Video games after which grew to become the primary man in 66 years to defend his crown 4 years later in Pyeongchang.

He additionally gained the world championships in 2014 and 2017 however he has been dogged by harm in recent times, together with an ankle ligament drawback that he needed to overcome to win his second Olympic gold.


The identical ankle compelled him to overlook the 2021 Grand Prix season, however he made a profitable return eventually 12 months’s Japanese nationwide championships.

It was there that he tried to develop into the primary skater to land a quadruple axel bounce, which was anticipated to be his secret weapon on the Beijing Video games.

However as a substitute, he tumbled twice and mentioned afterwards, “It seems like all the things has gone mistaken this time round.”

Hanyu mentioned Tuesday he had thought-about ending his aggressive profession after Pyeongchang in 2018, however determined as a substitute to proceed to struggle for his objective of the quadruple axel.

“So far as competitions go, so far as their outcomes, I believe I’ve been in a position to take all of the issues I wished to take. I believe I’ve grown in such a means that I do not search that form of analysis anymore,” he mentioned.

The elusive quadruple axel stays on his thoughts, he admitted, and the skating sensation mentioned he would “work more durable” so he may someday “land it efficiently in entrance of everybody”.

“What I need is to stay somebody who continues to work exhausting towards desires and objectives,” he mentioned.

Hanyu is a nationwide hero in Japan, the place he grew to become the youngest recipient of his nation’s prestigious Folks’s Honour Award in 2018, and his each transfer is headline information.

However he nonetheless stays one thing of an enigma regardless of the large consideration, not often granting interviews and having no social media presence.

His followers spend fortunes watching him compete and even carve sculptures of the rake-thin star, who is named “Yuzu” to his devotees.

Hanyu started skating as a toddler in his native Sendai, in Japan’s northeast. When the large earthquake and tsunami hit the area in 2011, he was practising on the ice and was compelled to flee the rink on his skates.

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