Yuzuru Hanyu refuses to rule out Olympic return after Beijing heartbreak | Inquirer Sports

Yuzuru Hanyu refuses to rule out Olympic return after Beijing heartbreak

/ 03:27 PM February 15, 2022
Japan's Yuzuru Hanyu competes in the men's single skating free skating of the figure skating event during the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games at the Capital Indoor Stadium in Beijing on February 10, 2022.

FILE–Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu competes in the men’s single skating free skating of the figure skating event during the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games at the Capital Indoor Stadium in Beijing on February 10, 2022. (Photo by WANG Zhao / AFP)

Yuzuru Hanyu refused Monday to rule out another tilt at Olympic gold after the two-time figure skating champion was dethroned at the Beijing Games by Nathan Chen of the United States.

The Japanese star said that he had been hampered by injury as he finished a disappointing fourth in the Chinese capital, but the 27-year-old said his achievements can never be taken away.

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“I’m an Olympic champion — I won two titles in a row and I’m proud of that,” Hanyu told a packed room of reporters in Beijing.

“As someone who has won two consecutive titles, I want to make sure I’m proud of myself and that’s how I intend to live my life from here on.”

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Hanyu said he did not know at the moment whether he would aim for a fourth Olympics in Italy in four years’ time, but said he was reminded in Beijing of “how special” the competition is.

“I have an injury but I still managed to get back up and take on this challenge, and the Olympics are the only place where a skater can do something like that,” he said.

“In terms of feelings, yes I would like to skate at the Olympics again.”

Hanyu revealed that he hurt his ankle on the eve of last week’s free skate and had to receive pain-killing injections right before taking the ice.

He said he would have withdrawn under normal circumstances but he was determined to attempt the fabled quadruple axel jump that was driving him to compete in Beijing.

He tried, but failed, to land the jump as his hopes of a third gold in a row slipped away.

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“My back was against the wall — I had an injury and I didn’t do well in the short program, but that gave me adrenaline,” said Hanyu.

“I think that axel was the best quad axel I have done so far.”

Hanyu said he has gone through “a range of emotions” since the competition ended and that defending his title had been “heavy.”

He said he did not know what his motivation was going forward but he was “very satisfied” with his performance in Beijing.

“I don’t think there’s anything particularly special about me — everyone takes on new challenges every day,” said Hanyu.

“In my case, my challenge was the quad axel and these Olympics. I get a lot of praise for taking on challenges but everyone should congratulate themselves on their own challenges.”

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TAGS: Beijing 2022, Nathan Chen, Winter Olympics, Yuzuru Hanyu
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