Hanyu Yuzuru's quadruple Axel challenge comes up short - but walks away a winner

The two-time Olympic gold medallist misses out on making history, saying "I have nothing left to give".

By Shintaro Kano
Picture by 2022 Getty Images

Hanyu Yuzuru may not have landed the first quadruple Axel in history.

But he walks away from the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games proud and with his chin up.

"I honestly left everything out there. I have nothing left to give", a tearful Hanyu said on Thursday (10 February), following the free skate in which his score of 188.06 left him in fourth place, 10 points short of the podium.

"I was at top gear right from the start and I thought I rotated the Axel as well as I could. I went for it, and it's something I'll cherish forever.

"(Finishing fourth) It is what it is. This Olympics was a challenge and I gave it everything I have".

Hanyu Yuzuru finished fourth at Beijing 2022.
Picture by 2022 Getty Images

The two-time Olympic gold medallist was aiming to become the first man to execute the quad Axel in competition at these Games.

Hanyu left practice early in the morning, packing up after 20 minutes without skating to his music "Heaven and Earth".

But he under-rotated the opening jump of his program and fell, though it was the closest he'd come to completion in either competition or practice. Hanyu had unveiled the quad Axel in competition for the first time at the Japanese nationals in December.

Hanyu also fell on the following quad Salchow, a jump he singled in the short program after hitting a hole.

That mistake left him in eighth going into the free, eventually costing him a medal and for the first time in his career, the 27-year-old leaves the Games empty-handed.

Hanyu ahead of his free skate.
Picture by 2022 Getty Images

Hanyu however has no regrets, as difficult as the journey was and as much as winning means to him.

"Sure the result is disappointing but I think I went all in," he said. "It wasn't easy. A lot goes through my mind when I think about what I tried.

"In terms of winning and losing, I didn't get it done. But I think today's performance reflects the title of my music - Heaven and Earth.

"I fell on the Axel, fell on the Salchow but nailed everything in the second half. It's about falling and getting back up again".

The GOAT left the arena with a smile beneath his mask and full-on appreciation for his fans.

"I've been kind of wanting to do (the quad Axel) since I was a kid. My mentor and coach back then kept telling me I'd do it one day and I've been working on it ever since.

"I want to thank everyone for all the support. I don't know if I skated to their expectations and I'm sorry if I didn't. All I want to do is thank them for everything".

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