Here at last: Hanyu Yuzuru arrives in Beijing

After days of the waiting game, two-time defending champion gets into China for Tuesday's short programme.

By Shintaro Kano
Picture by 2021 Getty Images

He's here.

The GOAT, the two-time reigning Olympic champion, the Prince known as Hanyu Yuzuru arrived in Beijing for the Olympic Winter Games on Sunday (6 February), ending days of speculation and guessing of his whereabouts.

Hanyu on this day did not appear at his official practice slot at Capital Indoor Stadium. He also did not issue a statement.

The men's short programme is scheduled for Tuesday with the free two days later. Hanyu was drawn into the second-to-last group and will start 21st.

Hanyu, who will be looking to become the first skater in 94 years to win three consecutive men's singles titles, is no stranger to last-minute arrivals.

In PyeongChang four years ago when Hanyu defended his title despite a less than 100 per cent right ankle, he got in two days prior to the start of competition.

At the nationals last December - when he qualified for Beijing by winning his sixth championship, he also got in two days before.

In short: Hanyu knows what he's doing.

It's been six weeks since Hanyu quashed any and all doubts as to what kind of form he was in, having not competed since the World Team Trophy in April.

In Saitama, the 27-year-old looked every bit the Hanyu the world has known him to be - if not better in some respects. Hanyu himself said he has never been better technically.

But will it be good enough for him to become the first skater ever to land the quadruple Axel in competition, which he plans to incorporate in his free skate?

In four days' time, we will all find out.


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