Two-time Olympic gold medalist Yuzuru Hanyu announced his figure skating retirement last week. The 27-year-old skater from Japan had a remarkable competitive career, breaking records and earning many world titles.
As with most skaters, Hanyu began skating at just four years old. After skating at a national level from 2004-2008 and winning multiple medals at this level, Hanyu made his international debut at the ISU Junior Grand Prix in 2008. He won gold at the World Junior Championships the following season.
In 2010, Hanyu progressed to senior-level competition and won the silver medal at the Four Continents Championships that same season. He attended his first senior World Championships in 2012, winning the bronze medal behind his teammate Daisuke Takahashi (silver) and Canadian skater Patrick Chan (gold).
By 2014, Hanyu went to his first Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. Here, he made history for Japanese figure skating, becoming the first Japanese man to win gold at the men’s single skating event in the Olympics. He also broke a world record at this Winter Olympics by becoming the first skater to earn over 100 points in the men’s short program event.
After his Olympic feats, Hanyu continued to dominate international skating competitions, winning silver medals at the 2015 and 2016 World Championships and taking home the gold in 2017. When the PyeongChang Olympics rolled around in 2018, Hanyu won the men’s single skating gold medal again. Winning back-to-back Olympic gold in this event had not been seen since American skater Dick Button did it in 1948 and again in 1952, making Hanyu’s accomplishment even more remarkable.
Although he attended the Beijing 2022 Olympics, Hanyu, unfortunately, had a couple of falls during his routines and fell just short of the podium in fourth place. He later announced that he had injured his ankle at practice during the Olympics but chose to compete given how important the event is. As a result of this injury, he pulled out of the World Championships that were held in March 2022, even though he had intended to compete.
By July of this year, Hanyu announced that he would retire from competitive skating, stating that “in terms of results, I’ve achieved the things I could achieve. I stopped wanting to be evaluated”. Plagued by a recurring ankle injury and saying that after the Beijing Olympics, he “couldn’t skate because of the pain, ” Hanyu decided to retire. However, he intends to keep skating in professional shows, just not in a competitive manner.
This is good news for fans of the skater, as watching his skating so full of elegance and artistry is always a pleasure.