Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu stepping away from competitive skating

Jul 18, 2022, 1:27 PM | Updated: Jul 19, 2022, 3:50 am

Two-time Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan, speaks during a press conference in Tokyo, Tuesday...

Two-time Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan, speaks during a press conference in Tokyo, Tuesday, July 19, 2022. Hanyu is stepping away from competitive figure skating, he said Tuesday. (AP Photo/Shuji Kajiyama)

(AP Photo/Shuji Kajiyama)

TOKYO (AP) — Two-time Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan is stepping away from competitive figure skating, he said Tuesday.

Hanyu seemed to leave the door open to a possible return of some sort. However, most of his focus seemed to be on skating professionally in exhibitions.

“This never ends,” Hanyu said. “I’m not retiring or anything. I’m going to be better and I will work hard in my performances in a way that will make you think I am worth watching.

“I don’t like the word ‘retirement’ so I don’t really want to use it.”

Hanyu won back-to-back gold medals at the 2014 Sochi Games and the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics. But he finished fourth in Beijing five months ago and had been noncommittal until Tuesday’s press conference at at Tokyo hotel.

“I’m not going to participate in competitions from now on,” he said. “Of all the things I’ve done so far, I think I’ve gotten what I should have in terms of results from competitions. I also feel that I will no longer seek these kind of evaluations.”

The 27-year-old Japanese skater is also a two-time world champion, and a four-time Grand Prix Final champion. But he failed in an attempt in Beijing to become the first to land a quad axel in competition.

He indicated he could continue to try to land the quad axel.

“I don’t feel particularly sad,” Hanyu said. “I would like to do my best from here on out and I think that there will be more opportunities to see my skating in various ways — not just in the limited space of competitions.”

Hanyu has little left to prove. He has been the world’s most watched skater for a decade and the sport’s standard for excellence. He was the first Asian man to win gold in Olympic figure skating.

His road to Beijing was fraught with injury. Hanyu acknowledged having a difficult time finding the same motivation for Beijing that carried him to his two Olympic gold medals.

Ever since 2010, when he was seen toting a box of tissues with Winnie the Pooh on it, his legion of supporters have showered the ice with hundreds of stuffed Pooh bears rather than traditional flowers whenever he competes.

They nearly covered the ice in a blanket of yellow when Hanyu triumphed at the Pyeongchang Games.

There were only a few thousand fans allowed inside the tightly controlled Olympic venue in Beijing to watch Hanyu, and they were prohibited from throwing anything on the ice, a safeguard imposed by organizers to minimize the potential spread of COVID-19.

Instead, they massed outside the gate of the arena, hundreds of them standing in the cold February sun, waiting with their Poohs for Hanyu’s bus to drive by and bid him farewell.


More AP sports: https://apnews.com/hub/sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Associated Press

Ex-Packer Guion gets 1 year for domestic violence assault

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Former Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Letroy Guion was sentenced to one year in jail after pleading no contest in a domestic violence assault at his home last fall. Brown County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Walsh also ordered Guion on Tuesday to serve three years’ probation and complete a domestic […]

1 year ago

Joe Jarzynka...

Associated Press

Durant eager for Suns debut vs. Hornets after knee injury

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Kevin Durant has been through quite a bit during his 15-year NBA career — but joining a new team midway through the season is a new one for the 13-time All-Star. The 34-year-old Durant doesn’t seem all that worried. Durant makes his highly anticipated Phoenix Suns debut on Wednesday night against […]

1 year ago

FILE - Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores stands on the sideline during the second half of an N...

Associated Press

Judge: NFL coach can press discrimination claims in court

NEW YORK (AP) — NFL Coach Brian Flores can pursue some of his discrimination claims against the league and its teams in court rather than through arbitration, a judge ruled Wednesday. The written decision by Judge Valerie Caproni in Manhattan was issued months after lawyers for the league tried to get the lawsuit moved to […]

1 year ago

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Alex Stalock cools off in the first period during an NHL hockey game ...

Associated Press

Kane trade reinforces hard reality of Blackhawks rebuild

CHICAGO (AP) — After days of speculation, the harsh reality of the Chicago Blackhawks’ situation was reinforced by one move in a flurry of transactions ahead of the NHL trade deadline. Showtime is over, at least in Chicago, and a seemingly bright future is, well, way off in the distance. The reverberations of Chicago’s decision […]

1 year ago

FILE -  Yves Jean-Bart, president of the Haitian Football Federation, wearing a protective face mas...

Associated Press

Disgraced ex-Haitian soccer president announces he’s back

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haiti’s former soccer federation president whose lifetime ban from sport over sexual abuse allegations was overturned last month announced Wednesday that he is reclaiming his position. Yves Jean-Bart’s defiant announcement could lead to a standoff with FIFA, which already has appointed an emergency management committee to lead the Haitian Football Association […]

1 year ago

FILE - Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers walks off the field after an NFL football game against the ...

Associated Press

Rodgers says decision on future will come ‘soon enough’

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers says he will make a decision on his future “soon enough” as the four-time MVP quarterback ponders whether to play next season and if his future remains with the Green Bay Packers. Rodgers, 39, discussed his future while speaking on an episode of the “Aubrey Marcus Podcast” that […]

1 year ago

Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu stepping away from competitive skating