Yuzuru Hanyu, (羽生 結弦) two-time Olympic men’s figure skating champion, announced his retirement on July 19, 2022. Hanyu broke the news of the end of his 12-year competitive skating career during his first press conference since the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics expressing great gratitude for continued support throughout his career. He thanked his fans and looked to the future, “Now instead of only at competitions, I hope there will be more opportunities to show off my skating, and I’m looking forward to creating those opportunities.”
Born in 1994, Hanyu picked up skating at the age of four. In 2008, he won Japan’s Junior Championships at the age of 13, thus qualifying him for the 2009 World Junior Championships. Hanyu’s first breaks began in 2013 after he won four straight Grand Prix Final golds as well as two world championship titles in 2014 and 2017.
Hanyu’s rise to stardom began during the 2014 Winter Olympics after he made history as the first Japanese man to win the gold medal in figure skating and the first skater to score over 100 points in the short program. His success continued when he won his second consecutive Olympic gold medal in 2018—the first to do so since 1952. At the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, Hanyu attempted the elusive quadruple-axel, a trick never landed before in competition. Unfortunately, he was unable to land the full 4.5 rotations, much to the dismay of his hopeful fans.
Hanyu’s skating career has not only inspired future generations of skating, but has also gained respect from the figure skating world. Recognized as Japan’s “Ice Prince,” he has gained respect from many fans and world-renowned skaters such as Nathan Chen, Evgeni Plushenko, and Evgenia Medvedeva who all praised Hanyu’s legendary career. Chen thanked Hanyu for his contribution to skating and said, “It’s been the honor of a lifetime to have been able to stand on the same ice as Yuzuru Hanyu.”
Yuzuru Hanyu is considered by many to be a legend in the figure skating community, bringing the difficult sport to the center stage. Despite his 12-year competitive career coming to a close, fans and skaters alike have plenty to look forward to as Hanyu continues to pave the way in the world of figure skating.
Editor: Chloe M., Chris F., Lang D.