PyeongChang 2018 figure skating gold medallist wants to land the quad axel this campaign

After a year in which Yuzuru Hanyu won a second Olympic gold medal, where does Japan’s national icon find motivation for the new season?

Firstly, he returned to Toronto, seeking further improvement with long-term coach Brian Orser.

Next, Hanyu wants to nail the quadruple axel.

“As yet I am still unable to jump it, but I’d like to practice hard and enjoy the process,” Hanyu told Yahoo! Japan.

“I’d like to jump (the quad axel) within this season. I feel the pressure to complete the jump before this deadline.”

Hanyu practices in Toronto
Hanyu practices in TorontoTwo-time Olympic figure skating champion Yuzuru Hanyu practices in Toronto, Canada, on Aug. 30, 2018. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo (Photo by Kyodo News via Getty Images)

The Japanese star was speaking in Canada, where trained in front of the media... with the reaction surprising even fellow skaters.

High risk of injury

No skater has ever landed the jump.

Moves with such a high degree of complexity can be harsh on the body and pose potential injury risks.

Hanyu famously suffered serious ankle damage just four months before his gold-medal winning performance in PyeongChang.

“Could he do it? Yes, if anybody could do it, it would be him. I just don’t want him to get hurt again,” Coach Orser told reporters at the Winter Olympics in February.

“He is very competitive. I have been around this sport a very long time and I have never seen anything like this type of athlete. It’s like he is from another planet. He keeps moving the sport forward.”

An ode to Evgeni Plushenko and Johnny Weir

Hanyu also revealed that he will perform his short program routine to the music track ‘Otonal’.

Johnny Weir also performed to Raul di Blasio’s song at the Torino 2006 Olympics.

Hanyu's free program will be performed to a re-working of the music used in Evgeni Plushenko's iconic Tribute to Ninjinsky program.

That routine was responsible for the Japanese becoming immersed in figure skating.

Orser in demand

Orser's success as a coach has hardly gone unnoticed.

Before Hanyu, the two-time Olympic silver medallist coached South Korean Olympic champion Yuna Kim, as well as Spanish world champion Javier Fernandez.

After seeing his work with Yuzuru in South Korea, female PyeongChang silver medallist Evgenia Medvedeva also made the move to Canada and Team Orser in May.

But perhaps his biggest challenge in coaching has just begun.

The Chinese Figure Skating Association has hired the Canadian in a bid to boost their medal chances at Beijing 2022.

Yuzuru Hanyu and Brian Orser
Yuzuru Hanyu and Brian Orser

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