On December 22, the All-Japan Figure Skating Championships, which serves as the preliminary round for the Beijing Olympics, will start. It’s a big event, and the winner will get one of the three national team slots. It is also an important event for Yuzuru Hanyu (27), the absolute ace who has won two consecutive Olympics.
Hanyu, who would normally have qualified for the Olympics as soon as possible, is being pushed back by an injury to his right foot. Hanyu was forced to cancel his participation in the NHK Cup in November due to “right ankle ligament damage” sustained during practice. He has missed all competitions this season. Emi Watanabe, a former member of the Japanese women’s national figure skating team, explains.
The right foot is used for ice landing. It affects all jumps. The right foot is a bomb for Hanyu, as he injured it just before the last Olympics in Pyeongchang. I think it’s a serious injury.
As Hanyu is suffering from his old injury, “his mind is changing,” says a source from the Japan Skating Federation.
In the past, Hanyu has often talked about his longing for the unprecedented quadruple jump. In October this year, he was interviewed by NHK, saying “I will make a quadruple jump. On the other hand, there is a clear change in her feelings toward her third consecutive Olympic victory. At the press conference after the ice show in July, he surprised everyone by saying, “I don’t have any particular desire to win the gold medal, like I did in PyeongChang. It seems that the quadruple and a half is becoming a more important goal for Hanyu than winning the Olympics for the third straight year.
Mami Yamada, Hanyu’s first coach, who coached him from the age of four to the second grade, has a different view.
Mami Yamada, Hanyu’s first coach, who coached him from the age of four to second grade, has a different view: “In July ’19, Yuzuru came to visit me after the Hokkaido earthquake. I said to him, ‘You’ve won two championships, and it’s still tough to keep going, isn’t it? I told him, “I can still win, that’s why I keep going. He was full of confidence and his words carried a lot of weight. I don’t think that feeling has changed. She has always been a girl with a strong spirit of challenge, and I think her desire to challenge the quadruple and a half after winning is getting stronger.
Will the quadruple and a half, which Hanyu has devoted himself to, be his trump card at the All-Japan Figure Championships? Yamada does not hide his expectations, saying, “He was strong in the show.
On the other hand, Mr. Watanabe said, “Participating in the championships might be a risk on the contrary.
On the other hand, Mr. Watanabe said that participating in the event might be a risk. “If you participate in the event in a less-than-perfect condition and miss the podium at the All-Japan Championships, it would be counterproductive. Hanyu, who placed third at the most recent World Championships, may be selected for the national team at the Federation’s discretion, taking into account his injury condition. He should also consider the option of daring to ‘not compete’. Under the current scoring system, the emphasis is on the big moves such as quadruple, and if you jump a quadruple and a half, you are sure to be on the podium, but if you take your injury into consideration and give a safe performance without taking risks, it will be difficult to score more points. If she misses the Olympics, I think she will retire due to her age. It will be interesting to see whether she will participate in the competition or not.
Hanyu is currently in Sendai, his hometown, where he continues to train by himself without a coach. Hanyu, who is currently in Sendai, his hometown, continues to train by himself, without a coach.
From “FRIDAY” December 31, 2021 issue
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