Updated: Nov 25, 2020
"Failure or not depends on perspective of people. Failure is not the opposite of success, but a part of it. If you do not fail, you might not notice a lot of things. To skate a program, even one thing won’t be wasted.” -- Yuzuru Hanyu
Yuzuru Hanyu is often regarded as one of the greatest male figure skaters in history. Born in Sendai, Japan, Hanyu started skating when he was four after his sister started going to the rink. He was diagnosed with asthma when he was very young, which caused difficulties in his early days of skating. Despite this, Hanyu is the most decorated Asian figure skater in history, holding the titles of two-time Olympic champion (2014, 2018), two-time World champion (2014, 2017), four-time Grand Prix Final champion (2013–2016), Four Continents champion (2020), and the only male skater to ever achieve a Super Slam (winning all major junior and senior-level competitions). He has also broken the world record 19 times, many times breaking his own previously set records, and currently holds the world record score for the short program. In addition to his numerous records and achievements, Hanyu has also received awards such as the People’s Honors Award (2018) and two Medals of Honor with purple ribbon (2014, 2018).
"Only if I challenge, then I will gain." - Yuzuru Hanyu
Even though Yuzuru Hanyu is now widely recognized as a skating legend, he had to build his way up to this name. In a sport heavily dominated by European and American skaters, Hanyu had to work extremely hard to be recognized at the international level. He came into the 2014 Winter Olympics as an underdog, having just won his first major senior event months before. But he was able to perform and showcase his abilities to win the Olympic gold that year and the world championship that came right after it. After this breakthrough, Hanyu reigned for a period of time as the “untouchable Hanyu,” where no other skater in the world could match his abilities or artistry to outscore him. Hanyu has not retired from the sport yet but is not competing this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic because of the risk due to his asthma.
"My motto is 'To improve everyday'. Skaters’ competitive career is much shorter than in other sports. So, I would like to work hard everyday and push myself for progress every day rather than just making progress every month." - Yuzuru Hanyu
Hanyu embodies the ideals of Creatively Asian because he is outspoken about representing his heritage and roots. One of his most famous programs, Seimei, is based on a Japanese movie soundtrack and represents a Japanese warrior as a tribute to his heritage. In addition, Hanyu has made a name for Asian figure skaters around the world, especially in the males singles discipline, and popularized his sport in Japan and other Asian countries. Through his dedication to his sport and genuine personality, Hanyu has paved the way for future Asian figure skaters, following after other great Asian figure skating legends such as Michelle Kwan and Yuna Kim.
By Kathy Ye and edited by Hannah Nguyen