Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu, widely regarded as one of the greatest figure skaters in history, has retired from international competitions.
Known to international fans as the “Ice Prince,” the 27-year-old Japanese athlete announced his decision to retire from competitive sport during a news conference in Tokyo on Tuesday.
He did, however, state that he plans to continue as a professional figure skater and will strive to achieve the quadruple axel, a jump that no skater has hit in competition. He attempted the jump at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics but was unsuccessful.
“I’ll no longer be compared with other skaters as a competitor,” Hanyu told the press. “I have no sadness. I want to continue to do my best.”
The announcement marks the end of a prolific career that resulted in numerous international awards and feats, including two Olympic gold medals, four Grand Prix championships and a dozen world records.
Hanyu, who began skating at the age of 4, was an instant star when he won his first gold medal at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at age 19. He not only became the first Asian man to win figure skating gold, but he was also the youngest champion in the men’s category since 1948.
After thanking his fans, Hanyu asked them to continue supporting him and believing “it’s worth watching me skate.”
Fans from all over the world expressed their appreciation of Hanyu’s work and achievements throughout his career, with many stating support for his decision to leave competitive sport.
Featured Image via Olympics