SEOUL – Yuzuru Hanyu’s bid to recapture the world title he last won in 2017 meant turning back the clock and being himself, one of his coaches, Ghislain Briand, said Monday ahead of this week’s Four Continents Figure Skating Championships.
After runner-up finishes at the Grand Prix Final and the Japan Championships, both in December, Hanyu, the two-time Olympic men’s champion, went back to the music he skated to at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics.
“He decided to change on his own,” Briand told reporters. “He wanted something that is more Yuzuru. He was skating (to that) in honor of (Evgeni) Plushenko, in honor of Johnny Weir. But when you do that, it’s not your own performance. He wanted something from him. So now he skates for Yuzuru and not for anyone else.”
Briand said that when Hanyu is in a funk he likes to skate the Pyeongchang short program in practice.
“That short program is, I think, the best short program in the history of figure skating,” Briand said. “Now he just has to perform.”
The coach also said Hanyu is building up so that he can execute a quad axel at the worlds, and that the Four Continents is part of his preparation.
“It (the quad axel) is getting better and better,” Briand said. “He’s not going to do it here because he’s planning to do it at the worlds. He’s trying to find the best program he can to win the worlds.
“The Four Continents is just a step to recapture the world title.”
Montreal is set to host the world championships, starting on March 16.