The Japan Timesより。フィギュアスケートの神。 | まどでんきがかり。羽生結弦選手全力応援


The Japan Timesに掲載されたギャラガー氏のコラムです。


Hanyu’s health a paramount concern


NOV 20, 2018


When a country takes the gold and bronze medals in the same discipline at a Grand Prix it would usually be considered a successful weekend.

The joy for Japan at the Cup of Russia, however, was tempered by the injury suffered by two-time Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu after his triumph and Kazuki’s Tomono’s third-place finish.



A day after one of the greatest performances in his career in his short program to “Otonal,” the superstar twisted his right ankle during an unfortunate fall on a quadruple loop in the morning practice on Saturday in Moscow.

Despite barely being able to walk, Hanyu pulled on the boots for the free skate a few hours later and scored a convincing victory. It was a courageous performance by the Sendai native, who could have easily withdrawn, but once again took into account the feelings of the many fans who had traveled to see him compete as well as his desire to honor Evgeni Plushenko.




So many athletes in other sports will beg off at just the slightest hint of an injury these days. It has become an absolute disgrace in recent years. Take a look at the NBA if you want some reference.

But Hanyu is a different breed. He is old school and takes us back to the days when men were men and toughness was admired. Time and again he has answered the bell when he was injured.



There was the Cup of China collision with Yan Han in 2014, the serious ankle injury at the NHK Trophy last season, and now the fall in Moscow.

The questions now revolve around Hanyu’s potential fitness for the Grand Prix Final next month in Vancouver, British Columbia, and the Japan nationals in Osaka. It seems highly unlikely he will be able to compete in either.



As disappointing as that is, Ice Time is certain that fans don’t want to see Hanyu’s ankle problem become a chronic one. I think that is the risk here.
同様に残念なことだが、Ice Timeは、ファンは羽生の足首の問題が慢性的なものになるのをきっと見たくないはずだと思っている。私はそのことがここでリスクとなると思っている。

He needs to let the injury completely heal before resuming training. Yuzu is such an aggressive athlete that holding him back is not easy. This is where coaches Brian Orser and Tracy Wilson are going to have to step in and protect Yuzu from himself.





Hanyu no doubt feels worse about the injury than anybody. Of course he wants to be out there competing. I feel bad for the fans in Japan who have not seen him skate competitively in-country for two years (since the 2016 NHK Trophy in Sapporo) now.


If he is ruled out of nationals, that time period will stretch to nearly 2½ years, with the next chance coming at the world championships in Saitama next March. It is important to keep in mind that not everybody can spend money to travel abroad and watch Hanyu compete.




Overshadowed due to the focus on Hanyu’s injury, was the fact that the win in the Russian capital marked the first time in his senior career that he has won both of his GP assignments in one season.

Hanyu’s world record of 110.53 points in the short program on Friday was really phenomenal. I remember feeling that he was finally fully healthy again as he soared so high on his jumps.




Eurosport’s Simon Reed continues to shower Hanyu with praise.

“It’s got to a stage now where he almost transcends the sport,” Reed stated after Hanyu’s short program. “Rather like Tiger Woods a few years ago or Roger Federer.


“The question for me is, how does he have the motivation to keep getting better and better? He’s been at the top of his game now for seven, eight years, but he continues to improve. He’s consistently utterly brilliant.”


Reed’s broadcast partner Chris Howarth tried to provide an answer.

“He obviously still has a love for the sport and a love for competing,” Howarth remarked. “To be honest, he makes it look easy. Every movement is finished off. The attention to detail in the program is second to none.


“Technically just brilliant. That wonderful soft knee bend. The top half of the body doesn’t move on anything. I don’t think I have seen him any better. It’s incredible.”



The experts even marveled during Hanyu’s free skate to “Origin” in which he had to improvise and move jumps around due to the injury.

“He has his own unique fingerprint,” noted CBC analyst Kurt Browning, a four-time world champion. “That way that he creates speed on the ice. The way he uses both legs and massages the ice is just very unique.”


Tara Lipinski, the 1998 Olympic champion, kept her analysis succinct on NBC.

“When he touches the ice it’s magic,” Lipinski commented.



Perhaps Reed put it best when Hanyu took the ice for his free skate.

“The god of figure skating,” Reed said as Hanyu was introduced.