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Yuzuru Hanyu says he won’t serve as flag-bearer at closing ceremony

Kyodo

Yuzuru Hanyu said Thursday he has no plan to act as Japan’s flag-bearer for the closing ceremony of the Pyeongchang Winter Games.

Speaking after practice for Sunday’s gala exhibition, Hanyu, who became the first man in 66 years to defend his Olympic title last week, also said he is still undecided about whether to take part in the upcoming world championships in Milan.

The two-time world champion’s name has been mentioned as a candidate to carry Japan’s flag at the closing ceremony, and although he will be in attendance, he said, “I have no plan to do that, I am just thinking of quietly enjoying myself.

“I just want to enjoy it as an athlete and member of the Japanese delegation as normal.”

Hanyu’s gold medal win here completed a memorable comeback from a serious right ankle injury suffered while attempting to land a quadruple lutz during practice for the NHK Trophy in November.

He has been performing in Pyeongchang, his first competition in four months, with the aid of painkillers.

“I am still a bit undecided,” Hanyu said of next month’s worlds. “I think it is the federation that will make an announcement about that.”

“My ankle is not in good shape and I have to keep that in mind and take various things into consideration before coming to a decision.”

Hanyu said he will continue to take painkillers until the exhibition is done.