Figure Skating

Yuzuru Hanyu named Most Valuable Skater at first ISU Awards

Kyodo

Two-time defending Olympic figure skating champion Yuzuru Hanyu was named Most Valuable Skater for the 2019-2020 season in the inaugural ISU Skating Awards held on Saturday.

The 25-year-old Japanese star was up against fellow men's singles competitor Nathan Chen of the United States, and French ice dance team Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron.

"In almost every moment of daily life, I'm constantly thinking of figure skating and I'm always hoping to become better and stronger," Hanyu said during the digital ceremony.

"I spend every day trying to become better at something to be able to do what I couldn't do the day before."

Hanyu took gold at the Four Continents Figure Skating Championships in February, posting a record-breaking score in the men's short program. He captured additional titles at the NHK Trophy and Skate Canada this season, and finished runner-up to Chen at the ISU Grand Prix Final in December.

Hanyu was also nominated in the best costume category for his "Origin" outfit worn during the last half of the season, but lost out to ice dance pair Madison Chock and Evan Bates of the United States.

The award for best newcomer was won by Russian teenager Alena Kostornaia who prevailed in the women's singles at 2019-2020 Grand Prix Final.

Six former figure skating champions, including Japanese two-time world champion Miki Ando, comprised the panel that made the final decision on award winners.

The inaugural ceremony spanning seven categories was originally scheduled to be held in March, but was delayed after the world championships in Montreal were canceled the same month due to coronavirus outbreak.

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