Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu, a two-time Olympic champion, announced his retirement from competitive figure skating — but said he plans to keep working on completing one of the sport’s most complex jumps.
The 27-year-old skater, known as the “Ice Prince,” said at a news conference Tuesday in Tokyo that he would no longer compete but would continue his professional career skating at events such as ice shows.
“I will be extremely sad if people don’t want to watch me anymore, but even then, I will try my best from now on so that people feel like there’s a reason to still watch my skating,” said Hanyu.
Hanyu underperformed in this year’s Beijing Winter Olympics due to an ankle injury. He failed to cleanly land his long-held goal of the quadruple axel, a jump that has never been successfully completed by any skater in history — but Hanyu said he plans to continue trying.
“I want to work even harder on the quadruple axel, and be able to successfully land it in front of all of you,” he said.
Hanyu has a large fan base in Japan and around the world, particularly in China where he has managed to transcend geopolitical difficulties to become one of the country’s most-loved athletes. During the Winter Olympics, Hanyu even received support from China’s diplomats despite worsening relations between the two countries.
—With assistance from Marika Katanuma
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