Yuzuru Hanyu (羽生結弦 Hanyū Yuzuru, born 7 December 1994) is a Japanese figure skater who competes in the men's singles discipline. He is the 2014 Olympic champion, the 2014 World champion, a three-time Grand Prix Final champion (2013–14, 2014–15, 2015–16), two-time Four Continents silver medalist (2011, 2013), the 2010 World Junior champion, the 2009–10 Junior Grand Prix Final champion, and a four-time Japanese national champion (2013–2016). He has also medaled at three other World Championships (2012 bronze, 2015 and 2016 silver).
Hanyu has broken world records ten times, and currently has achieved the highest short program, free skating, and combined total scores. He is the first man to have broken the 100-point barrier in the men's short program, the 200-point barrier in the men's free skating, and the 300-point barrier in the combined total score, as well as being the first Asian to win the figure skating gold at the Olympic men's event. He is also the youngest to win the Olympic title since Dick Button in 1948. In the 2015–2016 Grand Prix, he broke the world record for the largest victory margin, with 37.48 points.
Hanyu was born and raised in Sendai, and has an older sister named Saya. His name means a bowstring which is pulled tight, symbolizing confidence, strength, and straightness. His father named him, wishing him to be as hardworking and with strong mind. His parents wanted him to live a simple life, but be dignified, powerful and graceful.
Hanyu has asthma. He attended Tohoku High School, where famous Japanese figure skaters Takeshi Honda and Shizuka Arakawa also attended. His house was damaged by the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, but remained habitable. He is currently a student at Waseda University, studying Human Informatics and Cognitive Sciences.
Hanyu's free skating costume that he wore at the 2014 Olympics was designed by figure skater, Johnny Weir. His figure skating idol growing up was Evgeni Plushenko, who he competed against and beat in the 2014 Olympic Team Event short program. Hanyu is fond of Winnie the Pooh, and is frequently given stuffed Poohs as gifts by spectators after finishing his programs.
Hanyu began skating at the age of four, following his older sister to the rink. He first competed nationally as a novice skater in the 2004–05 season; he skated at the 2004 Japan Novice Championships in the Novice B category, which is the lower of the two categories at the novice level, and won the gold medal in this competition. His home rink then closed due to financial problems, reducing his training time. Nanami Abe became his coach around that time. In the 2006–07 season, Hanyu competed at the 2006 Japan Novice Championships in the Novice A category and won the bronze medal. This placement earned him an invitation to compete at the 2006–07 Japan Junior Championships, where he placed 7th.
Hanyu's home rink reopened in 2007. He competed at the 2007 Japan Novice Championships in the Novice A category and won the event. He was invited to compete in the 2007–08 Japan Junior Championships, where he won the bronze medal.
Hanyu moved up to the Junior level and debuted at the ISU Junior Grand Prix. He placed 6th in the short program and 4th in the free skating to finish 5th overall at the event in Merano, Italy. Following his Junior Grand Prix event, Hanyu placed 4th in the short program with 57.25 points and 1st in his free skating with 124.92 points, giving him a total of 182.17 points to win the gold medal overall at the 2008–09 Japan Junior Championships. This competition served both as the junior national championships and the World Junior Championships qualifier, so Hanyu was also qualified by this placement for the 2009 World Junior Championships.
The medal also earned him an invitation to compete on the senior level at the 2008–09 Japan Championships, where he placed 8th. At the 2009 World Junior Championships in February, Hanyu placed 11th in the short program with 58.18 points and 13th in his free skating with 103.59 points, giving him a total of 161.77 points to finish 12th overall.
In the 2009–10 season, Hanyu won both of his Junior Grand Prix events in Croatia and Poland and was the top qualifier for the Junior Grand Final. At the 2009–10 Japan Junior Championships, he won the short program and placed 2nd in the free skating to win the title overall. This earned Hanyu an invitation to compete on the senior level at the 2009–10 Japan Championships. He then competed at and won the 2009–10 Junior Grand Prix Final, achieving a new personal best score. At the 2009–10 Japan Junior Championships, he placed first on the junior level. He also competed at the senior level, where he came in sixth. Based on his results, Hanyu was chosen to compete at the 2010 World Junior Championships. He won the competition after placing third in the short program and first in the free skating to earn a new personal best of 216.10 points, and became the fourth Japanese man to win the junior world title.
Hanyu announced that he would turn senior for the 2010–11 season. His assignments for the 2010–11 Grand Prix series were the 2010 NHK Trophy and the 2010 Cup of Russia. In his senior debut at the 2010 NHK Trophy, Hanyu placed 5th in the short program with 69.31 points; in his free skating, he landed his first quadruple toe loop jump in an ISU competition and came in 4th with 138.41 points, giving him a total of 207.72 points to finish 4th overall. Hanyu finished in seventh place at the Cup of Russia. At the 2010–11 Japan Championships, Hanyu was in second place after the short program, but faltered in the free skating and finished fourth overall. As the result, he was selected to compete at the 2011 Four Continents Championships, where he won the silver medal with a new personal best score.
Hanyu was skating at his home rink in Sendai when the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami struck his hometown and the region. Water pipes under the ice at his home rink burst as a result of the April 2011 Miyagi earthquake. He trained in Yokohama and Hachinohe, Aomori until his home rink reopened on July 24, 2011. He also skated in 60 ice shows, using them as an opportunity to train. In April, he and other skaters took part in an ice show to raise money for the victims.
Hanyu began the 2011–12 season with a win at the Nebelhorn Trophy. He placed first in both the short program and the free skating, for a combined total score of 226.26 points. For the 2011–12 Grand Prix series, he was assigned to the 2011 Cup of China and the 2011 Rostelecom Cup. He finished 4th at the Cup of China, then won the Rostelecom Cup with a new personal best score to qualify for his first senior Grand Prix Final, where he placed fourth.
Hanyu then won the bronze medal at the 2011–12 Japan Championships, earning a spot on the Japanese team for the 2012 World Championships. In his senior Worlds debut, Hanyu was seventh in the short program but placed second in the free skating. He won the bronze medal overall with a total score of 251.06 points, behind gold medalist Patrick Chan of Canada and silver medalist, his team mate, Daisuke Takahashi of Japan.
In April 2012, Hanyu switched coaches to Brian Orser in Toronto, Canada. It was reported he would make frequent trips to Toronto and continue to attend high school in Sendai. After moving to Canada, Hanyu increased his on-ice training to 3–4 hours a day, up from 1–2 hours which had been due to a combination of limited ice time in Sendai, schooling, and asthma.
Hanyu began his season at the 2012 Finlandia Trophy, where he won the gold medal. He landed two quadruple jumps, a quad toe loop and a quad salchow, in his free skating; it was the first time he had a landed the latter jump in competition. Hanyu won the silver medal at his first Grand Prix event of the season, the 2012 Skate America. His short program score at Skate America, 95.07 points, was a new world record. At his second event, the 2012 NHK Trophy, he scored 95.32 in the short program, beating his own world record, and went on to win the gold medal in his hometown. Hanyu qualified for the 2012–13 Grand Prix Final in Sochi, where he finished second.
In December 2012, Hanyu claimed his first national title at the 2012–13 Japan Championships after placing first in the short program and second in the free skating. He took silver at the 2013 Four Continents Championships, having placed first in the short program and third in the free skating. At the 2013 World Championships, he was ninth in the short program and third in the free skating, finishing fourth overall.
Hanyu began his season at the 2013 Finlandia Trophy, where he won the gold medal after placing first in both the short program and free skating. He won silver in both of his 2013–14 Grand Prix events, the 2013 Skate Canada International and 2013 Trophée Eric Bompard, qualifying him for the 2013–14 Grand Prix Final. At the Grand Prix Final in Fukuoka, Hanyu placed first in the short program with 99.84 points and set a new world record. He also won the free skating with a personal best of 193.41 despite falling on the Quad salchow and won the title with a total score of 293.25 points.
In December 2013, Hanyu competed at the 2013–14 Japan Championships where he went on to win a second Japanese national title after placing first in both programs. He earned 103.10 points in the short program and 194.70 in the free skating. He was subsequently named in Japan's teams to the Olympics and World Championships.
At the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Hanyu competed for Team Japan at the Figure Skating Team Event. He took part only in the men's short program, where he scored 97.98 points, winning that segment of the event and giving Team Japan 10 points. They finished 5th at the end of the competition.
Hanyu broke his own world record in the men's short program individual event, scoring 101.45 points. He is the first and only skater to score over 100 in the short program. Hanyu obtained 178.64 points in the free skating and won the first Olympic gold medal for Japan in men's figure skating event, and only the second for the nation, his following Shizuka Arakawa's gold medal in the women's event in 2006 in Turin. His win also marked the first time any Asian country has won gold in the men's event. He is the youngest winner of the Olympic men's title since American Dick Button in 1948. Hanyu was also the only Japanese athlete to win gold in Sochi. After winning the gold medal, he returned to Sendai, where a parade attended by 92,000 people was held in celebration.
Hanyu completed the season with a victory at the 2014 World Championships in Saitama, Japan. Following a fall in a Quad toe loop in the short program, Hanyu sat in 3rd place coming into the final with a score of 91.24, 6.97 points behind compatriot Tatsuki Machida. He came back with a free skating earning 191.35 points to win that segment of the competition and claiming his first World title scoring 282.59 points overall. His total score was 0.33 points ahead of silver medalist Machida.
He is the first skater since Alexei Yagudin in 2002 to win the Olympics, World Championships, and the Grand Prix Final in the same season.
Hanyu withdrew from the 2014 Finlandia Trophy due to back injury. For the 2014–15 Grand Prix season, he was selected to compete at the 2014 Cup of China and 2014 NHK Trophy. At the Cup of China, Hanyu was second in the short program. The next day, during the free skating warm-up, Hanyu had a collision with China's Yan Han. Hanyu was visibly injured, but decided to compete. He fell five times in the free skating, but scored second and won the silver medal. After the competition, he received stitches on his head and chin. He flew to Japan for further treatment. He had bruising to his chin and head, hurt his midriff and left thigh, and sprained his right ankle. A few days before the NHK Trophy, he announced that he will compete but stated that he wasn't in top form. He struggled in the short program, placing fifth. The next day, he continued to have difficulties but placed third in the free skating, fourth overall. The score just barely, by a 0.15 point margin, earned him a spot to the Grand Prix Final. At the Final, he was first in both the short program (94.08 points) and free skating (194.08 points, a new personal best score and the overall highest free skating score of the season), earning the gold medal. His total score was 34.26 points higher than silver medalist Javier Fernández.
In December 2014, Hanyu competed in the 2014–15 Japan Championships. He placed first in both the short program and free skating with a total score of 286.86 points, earning him his third consecutive Japan National Championships title and the first spot for Japan at the 2015 World Championships. He withdrew from the gala following the competition due to abdominal pain. Hanyu was diagnosed with a bladder problem related to the urachus and had surgery. He was hospitalized for two weeks, and was expected to resume training a month afterwards. But in the middle of February, he sprained his right ankle and once again, suspended on-ice training for two weeks. In March, his training restarted in Japan without his coach, Brian Orser.
He competed at the 2015 World Championships, where he scored a season's best in the short program. He entered as 1st into the free skating, and scored 175.88, for a total of 271.08. He finished second behind Spain's Javier Fernández by less than 3 points, and over bronze medalist Denis Ten.
He competed for the first time at the 2015 World Team Trophy, in Tokyo, Japan. He scored first on both the short program (with a new season's best) and the free skating, receiving 24 points to help Team Japan win the bronze medal, behind Team USA and Team Russia. He was the only skater to win both segments in that competition.
For the 2015–16 season, Hanyu decided to expand on his performing scale and skate to a Japanese-themed free skating with music from the film soundtrack of Onmyoji where he would try portraying 10th century Natural Philosopher and Astrologer, Abe no Seimei. He also met up with Mansai Nomura, the actor who portrayed Seimei in the film to get advice on how to portray him.
For the 2015–16 Grand Prix, Hanyu was selected to compete at Skate Canada and NHK Trophy. Hanyu started his season by winning gold at 2015 Skate Canada Autumn Classic, finishing 36 points ahead of silver medalist, Nam Nguyen. At the Skate Canada International, he placed sixth in the short program with the score of 73.25 points after invalidating his popped quadruple toe loop into a double and breaking the Zayak Rule by executing a triple lutz-double toe loop instead of a planned triple lutz-triple toe loop. He also received a level three for his step sequence. In the free skating, he pulled up to second with a score of 186.29, about 4 points behind Patrick Chan, after executing three quadruple jumps including the quadruple Salchow and toe loop in the first half, and the quadruple toe loop-double toe loop. He finished second overall behind Patrick Chan and above Daisuke Murakami with a total score of 259.54.
At the 2015 NHK Trophy, Hanyu placed first in the short program with a world record score of 106.33. He cleanly executed a quadruple Salchow, a quadruple toe loop-triple toe loop combination, and a triple Axel. In the free skating, Hanyu landed three clean quadruple jumps, two clean triple Axels, and five clean triple jumps to receive 216.07 and combined total of 322.40, breaking both world records. With this result, he has qualified for the Grand Prix Final in second place.
At the 2015–16 Grand Prix Final in Barcelona, Hanyu broke his short program record, totaling a score of 110.95 points. He landed a clean quadruple Salchow, a quadruple toe loop-triple toe loop combination and a triple Axel, making him in the lead with 19.43 points ahead of second-finisher Javier Fernandez. For the free skating, Hanyu broke his record with 219.48 points, giving him the combined total of 330.43 and his third Grand Prix Final title in a row. Hanyu is the first man to have won Grand Prix Final for three consecutive seasons. He won with a margin of 37.48 points, breaking the previous record held by Evgeni Plushenko in 2004, where he had a 35.1 point victory margin. No skater or couple in any of the four disciplines have ever won by such a large margin at an Olympics, Worlds, or Grand Prix Final.
On December 26, 2015, Hanyu won his fourth consecutive title at the 2015–16 Japan Championships, leading in both the short program and the free skating. Following that event, Hanyu announced that he would not compete at the 2016 Four Continents Championships because he planned to focus on training for the 2016 World Championships.
At the 2016 World Figure Skating Championships, Hanyu skated another clean short program, scoring 110.56 points. He won that segment of the competition and had a 12.04-point lead over second place Javier Fernández. On the free skate, Hanyu put a hand down on a quadruple Salchow, fell on a second one (and got deductions for missing the combination), he had a step out on a triple Axel, popped a triple Salchow into a double, and had another hand down on the triple Lutz. He got a score of 184.61, and was surpassed by Fernández with a clean free skate and a score of 216.41.
On April 26, the Japan Skating Federation announced that Hanyu will be taking two months off the ice to heal from injury. He had been dealing with pain in his left foot since the beginning of the season, which got worse in January. The pain caused him to change his program at Worlds, doing a quadruple Salchow instead of quadruple toe loop. Hanyu was diagnosed with Lisfranc ligament damage in his left foot.
His skating techniques include the Biellmann spin and the doughnut spin. Both are known for their difficulty, for male skaters especially, due to the flexibility required. Other signature moves include the layback Ina Bauer and hydroblading. He is known for his difficult triple axel entries, usually from a back counter or spread eagle.
Coaches and choreographers
Before the 2011–12 season, most of Hanyu's career was guided by Nanami Abe in Sendai. However, after winning bronze at the 2012 World Figure Skating Championships, Hanyu switched coaches to Brian Orser, who is known for guiding Kim Yuna to gold in the 2010 Winter Olympics. In switching, Hanyu continued to go to high school in Sendai, but also made frequent trips to Toronto Cricket, Skating and Curling club, where Orser works as a skating instructor. Hidehito Ito, the figure skating director at the Japanese Skating Federation, said the change was necessary to "challenge" Hanyu and "raise the level [of his skating] more".
In Hanyu's junior career, all of his programs were choreographed by Nanami Abe. Starting from his 2012-2013 season, his programs were choreographed by others, such as David Wilson, Shae-Lynn Bourne, and Jeffrey Buttle, who choreographed Hanyu's world record-breaking short program. Choreographers for his exhibitions include Kurt Browning, Kenji Miyamoto, and former coach Nanami Abe as well.
Hanyu has appeared in a number of commercials and advertising campaigns. From December 2013, Hanyu, alongside fellow Japanese figure skater Daisuke Takahashi, became the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics campaign ambassador for P&G's global “Proud sponsor of moms” campaign. From February 8 to 23, 2014, Hanyu endorsed All Nippon Airways' new line of flight attendant outfits, which were designed by Prabal Gurung.
In September 2, 2014, Hanyu endorsed Lotte's Ghana milk chocolates with Mao Asada, singer Airi Matsui, and actresses Suzu Hirose and Tao Tsuchiya, as well as and XYLITOL whites. Later that month, he starred in a TV commercial for Capcom's new video game "Monster Hunter 4G". In October 2014, Hanyu also endorsed sport nutritional products Amino Vital as well as Bathclin in February 2015. Since December 13, 2014, Hanyu has partnered up with Phiten for their line of RAKUWA nylon coated necklace models. He also signed an endorsement contract with Nishikawa Sangyo co. since March 2015. For Olympic Day 2015, Hanyu appeared in its promotional video as a boxer. He became the spokesperson for the Red Cross' Hatachi blood donation campaign, where he starred in the promotional video with patients. On December 31, 2015, Hanyu served as a judge on Japan's popular New Year's Eve music show, Kōhaku Uta Gassen.
Since the 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami, Hanyu has been an active spokesperson and supporter for various campaigns to help the earthquake victims, as he himself was directly affected by the disaster. Shortly after the disaster, he and other skaters skated ice shows to raise money for the victims, raising a total of more than $150,000. He also sold his personal belongings at the show, fundraising an additional ¥2,954,323 ($35,387). His autobiography, Blue Flames, was published in Japan in April 2012, with the royalties and part of the proceeds going to the Sendai ice rink, which was rendered unusable after the disaster. In 2014, Hanyu held a one night ice show, which was broadcast on 24Hour TV, to bring in donations. Since February 2015, he is the spokesperson for reconstruction efforts led by the Japanese Red Cross Society. As part of his efforts, Hanyu also visited earthquake affected areas in Fukushima and Ishinomaki, interviewing the victims as part of the 24Hour TV segment. In July 2015, he and Hey! Say! JUMP member Yuri Chinen designed "CHARI-T-shirts" for 24Hour TV annual event under the slogan: “to connect ~ a smile beyond time~”. The shirts were to be sold, with the profits given to charity.
Hanyu's first DVD/Blu-ray album, Time of Awakening, was released on May 21, 2014, selling 21,000 copies. It was the first DVD from an athlete to top Oricon's DVD ranking since its establishment in 1999. The album also peaked at number 3 on the chart's Blu-ray ranking. His first photo book, YUZURU, was released on October 4 of the same year, selling over 23,000 copies. It ranked first in Oricon's weekly charts for photos and sport-related categories, as well as second in the chart's general books category. On September 25, 2015, Yuzuru Hanyu Goroku was released containing pictures and quotes by the athlete. The book topped Amazon's reservation sales rankings. On December 18, 2015, NHK Enterprises released the DVD, Flowers bloom ON ICE, featuring behind-the-scenes and interviews with Shizuka Arakawa and Yuzuru Hanyu as they skate an ice show together to support reconstruction after the 2011 Japan earthquake.
Awards and honors
- JOC Sports Award- Newcomer Award (2009), Best Award (2013)
- JOC Cup (Most Valuable Player Award) (2013, 2014)
- Tokyo Sports club: Special Award (2012), Skater of the Year (2014)
- Tohoku Sports club: Sports Award (2011, 2013, 2014)
- Asahi Shimbun: Asahi Sports Award (2014)
- Yomiuri Shimbun: 64th "Japan Sports Awards" Grand Prix (2014)
- Mainichi Shimbun: 22nd "Daily Sports People Award" Grand Prix (2014)
- Sports Graphic Number: 33rd "MVP Award" (2014)
- TV Asahi: 49th "Big Sports Awards" (2014)
- Kahoku Shinpo: 64th "Hebei Cultural Award" (2014)
- Chunichi Shimbun: 29th "Chunichi Sports Award" (2015)
- Miyagi "Citizens Award of Honor" (2014)
- Miyagi "Miyagi Prefectural Honor Award" (2014)
- Sendai "Plaque of tribute" (2014)
- Sendai "Sports Awards" (2009, 2011, 2012, 2013)
- Highest score in Men's figure skating short program (110.95 points)
- Highest score in Men's figure skating free skating (219.48 points)
- Highest combined total in Men's figure skating (330.43 points)
|Season||Short program||Free skating||Exhibition|
Hope and Legacy:
|GP Cup of China||4th||2nd|
|GP NHK Trophy||4th||1st||4th||1st||TBD|
|GP Skate America||2nd|
|GP Skate Canada||2nd||2nd||TBD|
|TBD = Assigned, WD = Withdrew|
T = Team result; P = Personal result; Medals awarded for team result only.
|Mladost Trophy||1st N.|
|Skate Copenhagen||1st N.|
|Japan Junior Champ.||7th||3rd|
|Japan Novice Champ.||1st B.||2nd B.||3rd A.||1st A.|
|Levels: N. = Novice; A. = Novice A; B. = Novice B|
(Small medals for short program and free skating awarded only at World, Four Continents, and World Junior Championships. At team events, medals awarded for team results only.)
|November 25–27, 2016||2016 NHK Trophy||-|
|October 28–30, 2016||2016 Skate Canada International||-|
|Sept. 29 – Oct. 1, 2016||2016 Autumn Classic International||-|
|March 28 – April 3, 2016||2016 World Championships||1|
|December 24–27, 2015||2015–16 Japan Championships||1|
|December 10–13, 2015||2015–16 Grand Prix Final||1|
|November 27–29, 2015||2015 NHK Trophy||1|
|Oct. 30 – Nov. 1, 2015||2015 Skate Canada International||6|
|October 13–15, 2015||2015 Skate Canada Autumn Classic||1|
|April 16–19, 2015||2015 World Team Trophy||1|
|March 23–29, 2015||2015 World Championships||1|
|December 26–28, 2014||2014–15 Japan Championships||1|
|December 11–14, 2014||2014–15 Grand Prix Final||1|
|November 28–30, 2014||2014 NHK Trophy||5|
|November 7–9, 2014||2014 Cup of China||2|
|March 24–30, 2014||2014 World Championships||3|
|February 13–14, 2014||2014 Winter Olympics||1|
|February 6–9, 2014||2014 Winter Olympics||1|
|December 20–23, 2013||2013–14 Japan Championships||1|
|December 5–8, 2013||2013–14 Grand Prix Final||1|
|November 15–17, 2013||2013 Trophée Éric Bompard||2|
|October 25–27, 2013||2013 Skate Canada International||3|
|October 4–6, 2013||2013 Finlandia Trophy||1|
|March 10–17, 2013||2013 World Championships||9|
|February 8–11, 2013||2013 Four Continents Championships||1|
|December 20–24, 2012||2012–13 Japan Championships||1|
|December 6–9, 2012||2012–13 Grand Prix Final||3|
|November 23–25, 2012||2012 NHK Trophy||1|
|October 19–21, 2012||2012 Skate America||1|
|October 4–7, 2012||2012 Finlandia Trophy||2|
|March 26 – April 1, 2012||2012 World Championships||7|
|December 22–26, 2011||2011–12 Japan Championships||4|
|December 8–11, 2011||2011–12 Grand Prix Final||4|
|November 25–27, 2011||2011 Rostelecom Cup||2|
|November 4–6, 2011||2011 Cup of China||2|
|September 21–24, 2011||2011 Nebelhorn Trophy||1|
|February 15–20, 2011||2011 Four Continents Championships||3|
|December 24–27, 2010||2010–11 Japan Championships||2|
|November 18–21, 2010||2010 Cup of Russia||6|
|October 21–24, 2010||2010 NHK Trophy||5|
- – This is a team event; medals are awarded for the team results only.
- – team result
- – personal/individual result
- World records highlighted in bold and italic
- Personal bests highlighted in bold
|March 8–14, 2010||2010 World Junior Championships||Junior||3|
|December 24–27, 2009||2009–10 Japan Championships||Senior||13|
|December 3–6, 2009||2009–10 Junior Grand Prix Final||Junior||3|
|November 22–23, 2009||2009–10 Japan Junior Championships||Junior||1|
|October 7–11, 2009||2009 JGP Croatia Cup||Junior||1|
|September 9–13, 2009||2009 JGP Toruń Cup||Junior||1|
|February 23 – March 1, 2009||2009 World Junior Championships||Junior||11|
|December 25–27, 2008||2008–09 Japan Championships||Senior||8|
|November 23–24, 2008||2008–09 Japan Junior Championships||Junior||4|
|September 3–7, 2008||2008 JGP Merano Cup||Junior||6|