Figure skating: Japanese icon Yuzuru Hanyu retires from competition

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Figure skating: Japanese icon Yuzuru Hanyu retires from competition

Figure skating: Japanese icon Yuzuru Hanyu retires from competition

Japanese figure skating icon Yuzuru Hanyu announced he is retiring from competition Tuesday but will continue his bid to land the elusive quadruple axel as a professional exhibition skater.
After missing out on his third straight Olympic gold at the Beijing Games in February, the 27-year-old world champion from 2014 and 2017 left it unclear whether he would ever again compete on the ice.

Two-time Olympic figure skating gold medalist Yuzuru Hanyu smiles during a press conference in Tokyo on July 19, 2022. The 27-year-old announced his retirement from competition. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

“I’ll no longer be able to be compared with other competitors,” he said during a press conference in Tokyo. “But I’ll keep fighting my weaknesses and my past self.”
“In terms of results, I’ve achieved everything I could achieve. I stopped wanting to be evaluated.”

IN PHOTOS: Memories of Yuzuru Hanyu, undisputed king of the ice

He narrowly missed becoming the first athlete to land the quad axel in competition during his free skate in Beijing, falling on his attempt at the four-and-a-half-rotation jump.

Composite photo taken Feb. 10, 2022, shows Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan attempting a quadruple axel during the men’s figure skating free skate at the Beijing Winter Olympics at the Capital Indoor Stadium in Beijing. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

Hanyu, also the winner of four straight Grand Prix Finals from 2013 and a six-time national champion, withdrew from the world championships in March as he had not recovered from the ankle sprain he sustained in Beijing.
“I carried on until Beijing in pursuit of the quad axel, but I feel I can do it not necessarily in competitions,” Hanyu said. “I actually feel it gives a chance for more people to witness it (in person).”
“I made the decision (to stop competing) after Beijing…I’ve thought through many things and felt I no longer need to be on the same stage, while also feeling more determined to get better and stronger.”
A native of Sendai in Miyagi Prefecture in northeastern Japan’s Tohoku region, Hanyu began the sport at aged 4 and inspired victims of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that devastated the area with his victory at the 2014 Sochi Games.
He was the first male figure skater not from Europe or the United States to win the Olympic competition.

Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan smiles at the awards ceremony after winning the gold medal in the men’s figure skating event at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, on Feb. 15, 2014. Hanyu became the first Japanese man to win an Olympic figure skating gold. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

He made a historic defense of his Olympic gold at the 2018 Pyeongchang Games, becoming the first to achieve the feat in the sport in 66 years, since American Dick Button.
Hanyu became the youngest recipient of the Japanese government’s People’s Honor Award at age 23 that year.
Hanyu revealed he could have quit competing after the Olympic win in February 2018, when he triumphed on his return from right ankle ligament damage suffered just three months earlier.
Japanese figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu performs his free skate at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea, on Feb. 17, 2018. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo
But he kept on fighting as he had not yet won the Four Continents Championships, which he won in 2020 to sweep all the major titles in the sport.
“I’m filled with a sense of resolve and hope,” Hanyu said on his new chapter, although he admitted he is finding it “very hard” to draw a line mentally between a competitor and an exhibition skater.
“There are plans in progress but I’m holding back from giving you details…I think there are more ways to exhibit figure skating befitting this time and age,” he said. “I hope to make the fans who never came to watch want to come.”
“I’ll treasure the sporting value of figure skating as a professional athlete while pursuing my ideals. I have no sense of loneliness.”
Defending world and Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu falls during training in Osaka on Nov. 9, 2017, for the NHK Trophy, with the spill bad enough for him to require treatment. Seeking his third straight NHK title on the weekend, Hanyu appeared to have hurt his right ankle when he fell while attempting a quadruple lutz. (Kyodo) 
He finished fourth at the Beijing Winter Olympics in February.
After an unsuccessful three-peat bid 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 field it will be in,” he said of his next step after the Olympic gala. “It could be an ice show or a competition.”
Hanyu returned to the ice for the four-stop “Fantasy on Ice” show which took place in May and June in Japan.

Japanese figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu performs in the Fantasy on Ice show at Makuhari Messe in Chiba, near Tokyo, on May 27, 2022. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

 

Two-time figure skating Olympic gold medalist Yuzuru Hanyu (L) laughs with former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as he receives the People’s Honor Award at a ceremony at the premier’s office in Tokyo on July 2, 2018.(Kyodo) ==Kyodo

Photo taken in Sendai on July 19, 2022, shows a copy of an extra edition of a local newspaper reporting that two-time Winter Olympic gold medalist Yuzuru Hanyu, 27, a native of the northeastern Japan city, has decided to retire from competitive figure skating. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

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