Hanyu Yuzuru withdraws from 2022 Worlds due to injury

The Japan Skating Federation says the two-time Olympic champion has not recovered from an ankle sprain the skater sustained during Beijing 2022.

By Olympics.com
Picture by 2022 Getty Images

Hanyu Yuzuru will not take part in the forthcoming ISU World Figure Skating Championships in France, it has been announced.

The two-time Olympic champion, who won gold at Sochi 2014 and PyeongChang 2018 before finishing fourth at the recent Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, has not recovered from an ankle injury sustained in Beijing 2022 practice.

The Japan Skating Federation today confirmed in a statement that "(Hanyu's) sprain of the right ankle joint injured at the Beijing Olympics has not been completely healed," adding that Miura Kao would replace Hanyu in Montpellier.

The 2022 World Figure Skating Championships will take place from 21 to 27 March.

Hanyu previously told media the injury would sideline him.

"I've been told to rest (the ankle). First I will rest and then take it from there," he had said after the Beijing 2022 exhibition gala – at which he had a memorable moment with Games mascot Bing Dwen Dwen.

Hanyu sustained the ankle injury in practice, trying the historic quadruple Axel – which he fell on in the free program in Beijing.

"The sprain was worse than I initially thought. Any other competition and I would have definitely pulled out," he explained in a press conference called a few days after his free skate.

His right ankle had already been the source of constant injury concerns in the months leading up to Beijing.

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

However, the 27-year-old went ahead with his free routine, in which he under-rotated the quad Axel and fell, though it was the closest he'd come to completion in either competition or practice.

What's next for Hanyu Yuzuru?

So what comes next for Hanyu?

With the Worlds out of the question, the Japanese star will have the entire summer to rest his ankle – and judging by his comments after the Beijing gala, that's what he intends to do.

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

"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."

Longer-term, the next Grand Prix season isn't due to begin until October.

And what of a fourth Olympic appearance at Milano Cortina 2026?

Hanyu hasn't ruled that out.

With a teasing smile at his Beijing press conference, he said: "If you ask me whether these were my last Games, I don't know.

"The Olympics is a special place, one of a kind. It's a competition, a challenge, that you want to take on even if you're hurt.

"There's no other place like that for a figure skater. There is a part of me that does want to skate here again."

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