Games & medals
Yuzuru HANYU biography
All eyes may be on Japan’s summer athletes as Tokyo 2020 dawns, but there’s another Olympics in Asia a couple of years later, and – in Japan – Hanyu is the man that the fans want to see in Beijing 2022.
Already a two-time Olympic champion, a two time World Champion, and four time Grand Prix final champion, the figure skater is perhaps his country’s finest ever ice athlete – and regarded by many as the best figure skater in history.
He has broken an extraordinary 18 world scoring records, and still holds the current world record for the short program. He’s the first man ever to break the 100 point mark in short program, the first to gain 200 points in free skating, and the first to get a combined total of 300.
He’s also the first Asian skater to win an Olympic gold, a feat he achieved aged just 19 at the Sochi 2019 Olympic Winter Games. This made him the youngest winner of the title since 1948. Hanyu then followed up that amazing performance with a gold at PyeongChang 2018.
How does he do it? Hanyu’s technique is simply outstanding, but he combines his ability with an astonishing creativity and artistry. He makes difficult moves like the Beillmann spin and the doughnut spin look simple, and is well known for his ability to perform complex triple Axels. He’s also thought to be the first ever figure skater to successfully land a quadruple loop in an International Skating Union sanctioned competition – a feat he pulled off in Montreal, Canada, in 2016.
A huge presence in Japan, he is a star of TV and film as well as arguably the country’s most famous athlete. He’s fiercely competitive - he says “to me, losing is like death” – but whether he’s going to go to Beijing 2022 remains uncertain. He answered a question about whether he’d go or not recently quite cryptically saying simply: “I managed to win twice, but the Olympics are something special. The Olympic Games are what every athlete and figure skater wants to win. Winning them makes you a true champion. I am going to look forward to thinking about who will win at the Beijing Games."