Japanese megastar announces retirement
Two-time Olympic figure skating champion Yuzuru Hanyu has called time on his career
Yuzuru Hanyu, the two-time Olympic gold medalist in male figure skating who has been described as the sport’s greatest ever performer, has announced his retirement at the age of 27.
Hanyu took gold in the 2014 and 2018 Olympics, but placed just fourth in the 2022 Olympics in Beijing, in what turned out to be his swan song on the ice after he appeared to injure his ankle while attempting the first quadruple Axel ever performed in Olympic competition.
His attempt was unfortunately unsuccessful. He finished behind Japanese compatriots Yuma Kagiyama and Shoma Uno, who claimed silver and bronze respectively, while America’s Nathan Chen took gold.
And it seems as though this performance, coupled with the intense rigors that a career in professional figure skating can have on one’s body, was enough to convince him to hang up his skates.
“In terms of results, I’ve achieved the things I could achieve,” he said at a Tuesday news conference, as reported by Kyodo News. “I stopped wanting to be evaluated.
“After the Beijing Olympics when I got home, I couldn’t skate because of the pain in the ankle.
“I thought about all kinds of things then, but I felt that I don’t need to be on this stage forever.”
He said, though, that this won’t be the end of his pursuit of excellence on the ice – just that he won’t be taking part on competitive events any longer.
“I carried on until Beijing in pursuit of the quad Axel, but I feel I can do it, not necessarily in competitions,” he said. “I actually feel it gives a chance for more people to witness it [in person].”
View this post on Instagram
Hanyu’s retirement was noted on social media by Russia’s Evgeni Plushenko, himself a twice winner of Olympic gold.
“Today I learned that my good friend, outstanding figure skater, the biggest star in the history of figure skating, Yuzuru Hanyu, has announced his retirement,” he wrote on Instagram, alongside a video of himself and Hanyu.
“I appreciate everything he has done for figure skating. I would like to wish him all the best, I hope that he will delight people all over the world with his performances in the show. Good luck in the future, my friend Yuzuru.”