Yuzuru Hanyu’s press conference and announcement of his retirement.
Japanese figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu officially announced his retirement on July 19, 2022. This happened at a special press conference, which was announced in advance by the athlete and his representatives.
Yuzuru Hanyu’s words on the decision:
“I was able to get this far thanks to the support. I was also supported by the media and cameramen, many people. I am very happy that I was able to skate and be Yuzuru Hanyu. I still have a lot to learn, but I decided to keep riding. I thought that I wanted to announce my decision myself, so I could not tell my relatives in advance. These people are very important to me and I want to continue to cherish them in the future.
I will try my best, including for those who couldn’t see me live. I will continue to challenge the four and a half turn Axel. As a professional athlete, I will continue to pursue my ideal.
When I first thought about what to say at this press conference, I didn’t want to just say “about my career from now on.” So I don’t feel sad. I want to create opportunities for people to watch me skate on stages other than competition.
There were many moments when I thought about becoming a professional athlete and taking a new step. Not in a negative sense, like “retirement.” After Pyeongchang 2018, at every competition, I thought about many things. For example, about whether I chose the wrong path or did not try hard enough. The final decision was made after Beijing. When the Olympics were over, I returned home to rest and rebuild my ankle. When I couldn’t skate, I thought I wanted to get better and stronger, and I made that decision. The show Fantasy on Ice was the last time I performed as an amateur.
As an athlete, I have never been happy with my current position and always thought I wanted to improve. Whether it’s jumping or interpreting music, it’s always been fun trying to improve.
For me, figure skating is equal to life. Figure skating is not about setting records or jumping difficult jumps. Even when I was little, I just wanted to be praised so I could keep working.
When I first started skating and looking at the skaters of that era, I was impressed that I only had two quads. Everyone jumps a lot of quads these days, but back then it was amazing to have multiple quads or a quad and a triple Axel. Figure skating, which I love, is from the era I grew up in. I want to keep showing performances that will make people keep looking at me. Anything can happen, but I want to pursue my ideal shape, like in those years.
about the Olympic Games:
— I was able to win two Olympics in a row. Now I feel that I can say and do something thanks to these medals. In Beijing, I didn’t manage to succeed, but I was able to pursue my dreams and keep trying my best. It was a place where I could prove something.
I don’t plan to compete in the future. I think I was able to get all the results I was looking for, and I no longer feel the desire to continue. I don’t like the expression “retire” so I don’t want to use it. I said after Sochi that my two Olympics would be the beginning, and I really feel that this is what happened. I have been able to do many things including winning the 2020 Four Continents Championship. I continued to Beijing, but I don’t think I need to compete to keep my perfect shape for the free skate. I can only do certain things outside of competition.
About future plans
“I want to keep always challenging something. It’s hard for me to draw a line between a competitive athlete and a professional one, so I don’t want anything to change dramatically. From now on, as an athlete, I want to keep doing my best and, of course, land the quad Axel. I strongly feel that I want to share this jump with everyone and present it to the public.
I think about the show, there were certain conversations. As for specific announcements, I’m still not sure if this will happen at all. Up to this point, I was limited to competition. I want to create something that people who have never been to live skating will also want to see that will satisfy the people who have supported me until now. I can’t give you any details, but please wait.
When I won my second Olympics, I thought I wanted to continue to improve as a professional figure skater. But at that moment I decided that everything could be over before I had a concrete idea of how to do it. I was still chasing the flip and lutz as the jumps that would become an integral part of the new era. Even now I feel that I was able to significantly improve my jumps. I don’t know if I’ll be riding until I’m 40, but I’m glad people will see that some things are still possible at a certain age. There are different ways to work hard and do your best, and I want to improve by discovering them.
About fan support
I think I’m very lucky to have such support. But I’m just an athlete, so from now on, as long as I continue to perform, people will see me from different points of view. I am not an idol or an actor. As an athlete, I was able to show people [something unique].
I want to be perfect and continue to be the best Yuzuru Hanyu. During Pyeongchang, when I felt a bit down and said something about my efforts not being rewarded, people still supported me.
I want to keep performing. There were times when I felt empty inside, cried for no reason and couldn’t eat. I’ve learned to trust a lot of people and there were times when I didn’t know who to trust, but I guess that’s how everyone feels. From now on, I want to cherish myself the way many people have cared for me until now. To the people who said it makes sense to support me and found inspiration, I would like to say thank you.
I don’t think there is anything special about me. Thanks to the fact that so many people support me, I was able to come here. Even if only 10 people supported me, I would feel satisfied only from this. So my true feelings are: “Please look forward to what comes next and keep watching.” I don’t think it’s right to say “thank you” here because it’s not over yet. I will continue and do my best, so I will count on you further.
Yuzuru is remembered for historical jumps – he moved figure skating forward. In 2016, for the first time in history, a quad loop jumped. And in 2022, at the Beijing Olympics, he was the first in history to try to perform a quadruple axel in a free program. However, he made a fall and took only the fourth final place.