Japanese figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu quashes retirement rumors but reveals he suffered a serious ankle injury and has been told to stay off the ice for now

·3 min read
A snapshot of Japanese figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu in a red Team Japan jacket at a news conference in Beijing, February 2022.
Japanese figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu quashed retirement rumors at a press conference in Beijing on Monday.Screengrab/YouTube
  • Japanese figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu revealed Monday that he has suffered a serious ankle injury.

  • Hanyu said he sprained his ankle on February 9, the day before his free skate on February 10.

  • He quashed rumors that he will retire from the sport, saying he would love to skate in another Games.

Japan's "Ice Prince" figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu revealed that he is recovering from a serious ankle injury sustained during his third run at the Olympics, and has been told to stay off the ice for now.

Hanyu spoke at a press conference on Monday evening in Beijing, where he revealed that he sprained his ankle badly at practice on February 9, the day before his free skate on February 10.

During the free skate, Hanyu was slated to attempt a gravity-defying quadruple Axel, a risky jump that has never been cleanly completed by any skater in any competition.

He ended up falling on both the attempt at the Axel and a quadruple Salchow and did not make the podium for the first time in his Olympic career. Hanyu also made a misstep during his short program, failing to take off for his opening jump, a quadruple Salchow, after his skates became stuck in the ice.

"Ever since the free skate, I have received a lot of treatment on my ankle. I have taken a lot of painkillers, and it hurts even to walk now," Hanyu said, adding that doctors have advised him to stay off the ice for now.

"On the day of the free skate, my leg was hurting so much that I did not know if I was going to compete. But I got an injection right before the skate and decided to do it anyway."

"I don't want it to sound like an excuse — but if this had been a normal competition and not the Olympics, I might have withdrawn," Hanyu said.

Yuzuru Hanyu of Team Japan skates during the Men Single Skating Short Program on day four of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games at Capital Indoor Stadium on February 08, 2022 in Beijing, China
Yuzuru Hanyu during a routine at Beijing.Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

He added that he did feel that there was a burden on his shoulders going into the Beijing Games, but said the pressure was what pushed him to want to complete the quadruple Axel — a dream that he says he will continue to chase.

"My goal is that I still want to land the quadruple Axel. At the same time, I want to perfect my program," Hanyu said.

The Japanese figure skater's statements on Monday confirmed rumors that were swirling after he was spotted backstage after his free skate with his ankle wrapped in ice.

He did however quash rumors that he would be retiring from the sport anytime soon. He was seen touching the ice before leaving the rink smiling, sparking speculation that he was bidding the ice goodbye for good.

"I thanked the ice because it was the last time I was performing on the rink," Hanyu said. "I don't know if this will be my last Olympics.

"I feel that I would love to skate again at an Olympics. Performing on this stage makes me very happy, and I feel fortunate as a skater to be here."

"That said, I have two back-to-back gold medals, and I'm very proud of it. I will live my life being proud of this achievement," Hanyu said.

Hanyu's recent attempt at the quad Axel came on the heels of a year marred by nearly career-ending injuries. He won his second gold medal in Pyeongchang in 2018, despite going into the games while recovering from an ankle ligament injury. Another leg injury to the same foot prevented him from competing between April and November last year.

Hanyu finished fourth in Beijing, with a total score of 283.21 points.

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