He risked everything for a dream and earned recognition
Yuzuru Hanyu is a true samurai in figure skating. Not because he’s from Japan. But because his stamina, fearlessness and inflexibility incredibly echoes the obligatory qualities of servant warriors. Only Yuzuru does not serve anyone, but figure skating and does it as selflessly and sacrificially as the samurai did in relation to their master several centuries ago.
His path in figure skating is an endless overcoming of pain and injury. Victories did not come easily to him, but after defeats he always rose from the ashes. And the title of two-time Olympic champion perfectly characterizes him as an athlete: he is a living legend. However, two gold has nothing to do with it. It’s all about how he came to these awards.
It doesn’t matter that his third Olympics ended without a medal in skating. Yuzuru has already achieved everything that any figure skater can dream of. His entry on the ice in Beijing and his daring quad Axel attempt is a victory in itself.
The element that almost crossed out the career of a skater
Yuzuru suffered from asthma since early childhood. When he was four years old, doctors recommended sending him to play sports, and his parents brought the boy to the skating rink, where his older sister had already gone. At the very first training, the talent of the young skater showed up: he grasped everything on the fly and quickly coped with what usually required a long study.
Hanyu liked skating so much that in his free time he additionally studied the technique, watched videos of famous skaters and made notes about his observations in a separate notebook.
However, having won the junior world championship in 2010, Yuzuru almost finished with figure skating a year later. In Sendai, where he lived and trained, there was a terrible earthquake that caught the athlete right on the rink. To get out of the rapidly collapsing building, he needed to crawl on all fours. When the elements receded, the skating rink was so damaged that it was decided to demolish it. These events left a heavy imprint in Hanyu’s soul, and he saw them as a bad omen.
For several days he did not train and seriously considered finding another occupation for himself, but then he nevertheless returned to the ice, moving to Kanagawa Prefecture. And after becoming a two-time Olympic champion, Hanyu built a new ice rink in Sendai. In the same place where the old one once was.
Japan’s first Olympic champion
For his Olympic debut in 2014, Yuzuru Hanyu trained under Brian Orser in Canada. Gold Sochi predicted Evgeni Plushenko or Patrick Chan. But Plushenko eventually withdrew, and Chan lost to Khan in technique. Yuzuru became the first Olympic champion in men’s skating from Japan and immediately turned into a national hero. When he returned to his homeland, a grandiose parade was held in his honor, in which 92 thousand people participated.
From it you can break to hell
The so-called “grand slam” in figure skating Yuzuru Hanyu collected in February 2020, when he won the Four Continents Championships – the last gold that was missing from his solid collection of medals. He became the first male singles skater to collect all the titles. It would be possible to stop fighting and suffering from injuries on this, but Yuzuru had one more important dream – to complete the first quadruple axel.
But Hanyu was not afraid of this jump. Moreover, he managed to jump it at the Japanese Skating Championships in December last year, although in November he received another ankle injury. The skater stood on his feet upon landing, but made a big under-rotation, so this axel was not counted as a quadruple.
At his third Olympics, Yuzuru came to try again to conquer the quadruple axel. Through past suffering, he went on the most difficult jump and fell. The dream remained a dream. But for her sake, he sacrificed the chance to climb the pedestal. Hanyu pushes the boundaries of what is possible and shows that dreams must be fought for.