Hanyu Yuzuru has confirmed he will compete in figure skating next season, after the cancellation of the ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2020.
Japan's double Olympic gold medallist had not previously indicated he would continue beyond 2020, but revealed in a statement that he will skate on after completing his career 'Super Slam' at last month's Four Continents in Seoul.
Hanyu said, "I want to thank all those who supported me to the end of this season.
"I will work hard for next season, when I hope to go above and beyond the level I am at right now." - Hanyu Yuzuru
The event had been scheduled for Montreal's Bell Centre from 16-22 March.
The Government of Canada's Quebec region decided on Wednesday (11 March) to cancel the World Championships due to uncertainty related to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Hanyu, a two-time world champion, said, "This cancellation has led me to think a lot about the coronavirus as well as other infections and because of that, I now feel the need to pay greater care to how I live each day.
"The cancellation is disappointing for sure but at the same time, I feel a sense of relief knowing that it might help reduce the risk of contagion not just for the athletes, but also for the spectators and the staff that run the event. - Hanyu Yuzuru
"I am grateful to the ISU for trying, until the very last minute, to give us a forum of competition amid these difficult times." He added.
His main rival, Nathan Chen, would have been seeking a hat-trick of world titles in Montreal with the American unbeaten in competition since the PyeongChang 2018 Games.
Two-time ice dance medallists, Madison Chock and Evan Bates, took silver at the Grand Prix Final after moving to Montreal to train alongside reigning world champions Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron.
Bates posted a short statement on his Twitter handle with their reaction to the situation.
Figure Skating World Championship Rescheduling Possibilities
The ISU released a statement in which they said that rescheduling the event for later this season, or extending the season to accommodate it "cannot be reasonably considered".
It added, "During the coming weeks, the ISU will evaluate in cooperation with all stakeholders whether the ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2020 could possibly be held later in the year, but in any case not before October 2020."