Yuzuru Hanyu reveals his big future goal

The double Olympic figure skating champion says landing the quad Axel is his prime objective, and that he could compete at Beijing 2022.

4 min By Rory Jiwani
Yuzuru Hanyu 

Yuzuru Hanyu made a winning start to his 2019-20 campaign at the Autumn Classic International.

But the double Olympic figure skating champion has one goal for the season and the rest of his career.

Speaking after his success in Oakville, Ontario, the Japanese said, "I've always wanted to land the quad Axel.

"I live for the quad Axel and that's why I'm here skating."

The 24-year-old admits there are challenges to overcome if he is to achieve that objective in the near future.

He told Olympic Channel, "I want to do the quad Axel this season but I don’t know if I have enough time to practise in training.

"I will find try to find the time and the space for training it and hopefully I will be able to land it. I wish to add the quad Axel in the free or short program this season."

Beijing 2022 a possibility

At PyeongChang 2018, Hanyu became the first skater to win back-to-back men's singles titles since Dick Button in 1952.

He says going for a third gold in Beijing is not out of the question, but it's not his priority:

"If I'm still skating, I would be there. I always think to myself that if I am going to lose, I would quit. To be honest, I never want to show my disgraced self.

"In my mind, it's just an extension of my career as an athlete. For now it's not like I really want to participate or win there. I just want to land the Axel.

"My biggest hope is that I will perfect 'Origin' (free skate) by being able to land the Axel."

Aiming for perfection

Hanyu fell on his opening quad Salchow at the Autumn Classic, admitting he needed to give serious thought to perservering with it in his short program.

And despite a couple of sketchy jumps in his free skate, the superstar was able to claim a comfortable victory although he was critical of his overall display:

"I wasn't happy about my performance. All the bad things about me came out in this competition."

He hopes to progress and improve as the season goes on.

"First of all, I want to perform well in the competitions. I have done them so many times, but every time my feelings are different.

"If I make mistakes, that would be a failure for me. That's the mindset I have in every competition."

"I need to fight with the pressure and continue competing. So, going forward, every competition I would feel different and physically different. I want to use the experience that I have and attack every competition.

"I need to win but, within that, I need to be able to achieve jumps that I'm satisfied with."

Quads, quads and more quads

While landing the quad Axel is his main objective, Hanyu is determined to add more quads to his repertoire but knows he has to look after himself physically after missing the end of last season with a recurring right ankle injury.

He said, "I’m going to include five quads in one program, so I’ve been training for that. I want to be able to jump many different jumps.

"I don’t know what my best is. The more I do it, the more I think, 'I can do this' or 'I can work on it'. I’m living for now, I’m training and living in the moment to improve and to do better in myself and to upgrade my skills for each competition.

"I need to think about my injury, I need to take care of my body. Considering that, I still want to challenge myself and figure out what only I can do in terms of jumps with my own body and people can see only in my performance."

When asked about the quad flip, he replied, "I want to be able to jump it sometimes but it’s not a clear goal for me. It's not a flip that I want, but I want to be able to do the Axel."

And how close is he to landing that historic first quad Axel?

"I can jump but I can’t land well. So it’s just landing. I can jump, I can turn, but it’s too much now. There’s a risk of getting injured so I need to train and balance it with practices.

"The feeling that I have is that I can do the Axel. It’s whether I can do it in competition or if I can do it in by chance in practice. I want to reach the level where I can master it in competition."

Hanyu makes his 2019-20 Grand Prix debut at Skate Canada in Kelowna, British Columbia from 25-27 October.

His second assignment is the NHK Trophy on home ice in Sapporo from 22-24 November with the Grand Prix Final, and hopefully a mouthwatering rematch with two-time reigning world champion Nathan Chen, in Turin from 5-8 December.

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