Hanyu Yuzuru goes on the journey to win consecutive Olympic titles.

  • text by Toshimi Oriyama
  • photo by JMPA/Sunao Noto

The story of Yuzuru Hanyu
"To win the Olympic games" #04

Yuzuru Hanyu at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongchangYuzuru Hanyu at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongchangIn the Pyeongchang Olympic season from 2017 to 2018, Yuzuru Hanyu was forced into some difficult battles and struggle ── unlike the Sochi Olympic season from 2013 to 2014, when he was able to gradually build his momentum and soar to the top.

At the 2017 Autumn Classic International in September, Hanyu scored 112.72 points in the short program, a new world record. Although it seemed a good start for the season, the quadruple lutz ── which he had determined to challenge himself within the free skate ── produced a crisis for him. He completed it brilliantly in the 2017 Rostelecom Cup, the first competition of the Grand Prix series, which gave him confidence, but it worked against him at the NHK Trophy in November.

At the official practice on the day before the competition, his movements lacked sharpness and he didn't seem to be in good shape. He failed two consecutive quadruple loops, and only managed to complete a quadruple salchow after popping three attempts at the jump. Then, when he tried a quadruple lutz after popping once, his axis completely slanted and the blade pierced the ice due to insufficient rotation. Hanyu fell and remained on the ice for a while.

The diagnosis was damage to the lateral ligament of the right ankle joint. He missed the NHK Trophy and was unable to participate in the Grand Prix final, at which he was aiming for a fifth straight victory.

It was a serious injury. Hanyu initially said he would like to participate in the NHK trophy, but his ankle was stuck and there was not inconsiderable pain. It wasn't until January, two months after the incident, that he was able to return to training on the ice. He managed to get back to jumping a triple axel in late January, but his chances of performing at the 2018 Olympics were in jeopardy.

In the end, the Pyeongchang Olympics became his first competition in four months. Hanyu arrived in Gangneung, where the venue was located, on 11th February, just four days before the short program began.

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