Olympics / Winter Olympics / Figure skating

Yuzuru Hanyu ready to give ‘dream performance’ at Pyeongchang Olympics

by Jack Gallagher

Staff Writer

Yuzuru Hanyu went through a 40-minute practice on the main rink at the Gangneung Ice Arena on Tuesday morning and then met the media afterward to provide an update on his condition.

The defending Olympic and world champion, who was injured in practice before the NHK Trophy in Osaka on Nov. 9, looked good during his training session. Hanyu landed two quadruple salchows and two quad toe loops as well as a few triple axels.

The superstar did not appear to be in any visible pain or favoring his right leg, the one in which he strained the lateral ligament while attempting a quad lutz three months ago.

“I don’t know what to say, it’s been a difficult three months,” Hanyu stated before a packed room at a news conference after practice. “I just want to focus now and show what I can do.”

The Sendai native thanked fans for the many messages he received during his recovery.

“I got countless messages of support and I want to thank everybody,” Hanyu commented. “Each and every one of them was taken with appreciation and gave me the power to go on.”

Hanyu expressed relief that he can now skate again.

“I’m happy that for the first time in a long time I can skate. I want to use the energy I got from all of the support I received,” Hanyu said.

Hanyu detailed how he began practicing even before he could get back on the ice.

“I was doing jump forms on the floor before I returned to the ice,” Hanyu noted.

Hanyu also mentioned how the time away from skating gave him a chance for reflection.

“I gave a lot of thought to many things I probably would not have the past couple of months if I had been skating,” Hanyu stated. “I can skate now and that is what is most important. This is my dream stage and I want to give my dream performance.”

Hanyu said he was glad to finally set foot on the Olympic ice.

“I’m happy to be here in Korea. I am still conditioning myself,” Hanyu said. “There are still some jumps and elements I have not done yet. There are still a few days left. I want to peak at the right time.”

Building up his conditioning has been a key concern for Hanyu.

“Stamina was my biggest concern coming back,” Hanyu admitted. “Getting back the feeling of the ice. There was some uncertainty.”

Hanyu made no secret that he is eyeing his second gold medal.

“I can win if I give a clean performance,” Hanyu commented.