No pain, no gain: Hanyu Yuzuru zeroing in on gala

Double Olympic champion fights badly sprained right ankle as he prepares for Beijing 2022 finale on Sunday.

By Shintaro Kano

Pain or no pain, it appears Hanyu Yuzuru has every intention of skating the gala on Sunday (20 February).

Hanyu on Tuesday practised for the second consecutive day, gliding nice and easy for 35 minutes to the "Phantom of the Opera".

And for good measure, he threw down a quadruple toeloop and a quad Salchow as well as a triple Axel, gingerly testing the sprained right ankle.

Hanyu did not stick around for long but had this to say on his way out of the practice rink:

"It's not a competition but the Opera in China does have some meaning to me so I really wanted to show it here.

"The ankle still hurts and I know people might say this and that about it but I'm going to take painkillers and enjoy it for this period".

Phantom of the Opera was Hanyu's free skate music during the 2014-15 Grand Prix season.

In China during his warm-up for the free, he collided into local favourite Yan Han, badly bloodying his face. Hanyu went on to skate with his face taped up and finished second.

On Monday at a standing-room only press conference streamed and televised to all corners of the globe, Hanyu revealed his ankle hurt so much that he shouldn't have performed the free skate.

"The sprain was worse than I initially thought. Any other competition and I would have definitely pulled out", said Hanyu, who was injured doing the quadruple Axel in practice on the eve of the free.

"The doctor told me I need to rest it for 10 days. It was that bad. It hurt so badly during morning practice the day of competition that I even thought about pulling out.

"I was given a painkilling shot about 10 minutes before warm-up and decided to compete".

The rest is history is as we know it. And now it looks like the two-time will suck it up one more time before bowing out of Beijing.


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