Hanyu Yuzuru closes chapter on Beijing - and maybe more

Japanese figure skater to shut it down, with quadruple Axel and world championships looking distant as he recovers from third Olympic Winter Games.

By Shintaro Kano
Picture by 2022 Getty Images

Hanyu Yuzuru’s third Olympic Winter Games is over.

And from the sound of it, so is his pursuit of the quadruple Axel.

Asked where he goes from here following Sunday’s exhibition gala, the two-time Olympic champion said, “I know everyone wants to know. I get it. But I don’t know myself honestly.

“What I can say, however, is that on the quad Axel, I couldn’t have tried it on a more fitting stage and with more support than I could have asked for.

“I gave it everything I have. People say I’m almost there, I’m close but it’s easier said than done. I think I’ve taken my quad Axel as far as it can.

“These Games made me think a lot about life. To get here, I was broken time and time again, and had to weather so much despair.

“At times I thought it was impossible but I managed to keep getting back up. I learned a lot about life in general during my time here”.

Hanyu finished fourth in Beijing. He skated Sunday’s gala - to Haru Yo Koi, the instrumental version - through a sprained right ankle he suffered the day before the free program, when he under-rotated the quad Axel.

Since finishing the free skate, Hanyu has looked spent. In his own words, he said he had “nothing more to give”.

Hanyu Yuzuru has a lot to think about following his third Games.
Picture by 2022 Getty Images

The world championships will be held 22-27 March in Montpellier, France, but Hanyu did not seem like someone who is eager to compete in another major event in one month’s time.

He has doctor’s orders to shut down the ankle.

“I’ve been told to rest (the ankle). First I will rest and then take it from there”, he said.

“I had a good time skating at these Olympics. To think that the daily grind will soon start all over again makes me sad.

“But first things first, I need to get the ankle right which really held up for me. I need to rest my body, think about a lot of things and then make decisions”.

While he fell short of achieving his targets in Beijing, Hanyu was far from being bitter.

"I can say with certainty that (the quad Axel) was my only source of motivation for these Games. Defending the Olympic title in PyeongChang was my biggest dream and I didn’t think beyond that to be honest.

"In hindsight, I think all that I'm going through now is the price I had to pay in winning that gold. I may not have been rewarded here but I’m still grateful.

"It is true that I didn’t achieve what I set out to achieve. It wasn’t the success I imagined. But I’m still thankful for having had the opportunity to skate here.

"It will be a treasure of mine that I’ll never forget".

Bing Dwen Dwen getting a lift from the GOAT.
Picture by 2022 Getty Images

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