Figure skating medal sweep no fluke, says Japan Olympic champ

AFP
Japan's Yuzuru Hanyu reacts as he celebrates his first place following his performance in the men's free skating competition at the world figure skating championships in Saitama, on March 28, 2014
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Japan's Yuzuru Hanyu reacts as he celebrates his first place following his performance in the men's free skating competition at the world figure skating championships in Saitama, on March 28, 2014 (AFP Photo/Kazuhiro Nogi)

Tokyo (AFP) - Japan's figure skating king Yuzuru Hanyu on Wednesday warned rivals that his Olympic and world gold medal double earlier this year was no fluke, promising more fireworks in the new season.

The 19-year-old, who also won the Grand Prix Final before repeating his Sochi heroics on home ice at the world championships in March, told local media: "As Olympic champion I want people to realise that my gold medals were no coincidence -- I won them because of my ability."

Hanyu won Japan's only gold medal of the Sochi Olympics in February as he broke his own world record in the short programme en route to becoming the first man from his country to win Olympic gold in the sport.

Achieving so much at such a tender age, including becoming the youngest Olympic men's champion in 66 years, has clearly not diminished his hunger for more success.

"There is pressure of course but that comes with the expectation," said Hanyu, set to unveil a free programme featuring three quad jump attempts in the new season.

"I'm glad people have those expectations of me. It shows what they think I am capable of. My goals are always the same. I want to win everything."

His astonishing sweep last season carried extra poignance after the story emerged of his escape from the terrifying magnitude 9.0 earthquake which triggered a deadly tsunami in northeast Japan while he was training in 2011.

Hanyu, who had to crawl off the ice as it cracked beneath him and flee the rink as the building began to collapse around him, became the poster boy for Japanese figure skating after storming to victory in Sochi.

His first competitive appearance of the season will be the Finlandia Trophy in Helsinki in October, an event he won last year.

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