Two-time world and Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu has retired from competitive figure skating.
The Japanese superstar is one of the sport’s biggest names, winning gold at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi before defending his title at Pyeongchang 2018.
The 27-year-old also won seven World Championship medals during his 12-year career, claiming gold at 2014 Saitama and 2017 Helsinki.
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A series of injuries had raised doubts over whether Hanyu would continue to compete, however, and he suggested he will look to skate away from the professional circuit when confirming his retirement on Tuesday.
"I'm not sad at all. There's no sadness, and I want to keep working,” Hanyu told a press conference.
"But I'm no longer confined to the realm of competitions anymore. I think I can take figure skating to different places in different ways now.”
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The four-time Grand Prix winner made his decision ahead of the 2022-23 season, which starts in October with Skate America.
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Hanyu won the men’s Grand Prix Final for four years straight from 2014 to 2017, before Nathan Chen took charge with three consecutive victories.
Chen claimed singles gold at Beijing 2022 when Hanyu finished fourth, with the latter’s compatriots Yuma Kagiyama and Shoma Uno winning silver and bronze respectively.
Hanyu, who narrowly failed to land the elusive quadruple axel during his free skate in Beijing, sprained his right ankle at the Winter Olympics and hinted at retirement at the time, saying: “It doesn't matter what field it will be. It could be an ice show or a competition".
On his quadruple axel attempt, he said: “I don’t want it to sound like an excuse, but the day before [competition], I sprained my ankle in my 4A.
“If it were a normal competition, I would’ve withdrawn. The doctors said I should stay off my feet for the next 10 days. The injury is pretty bad.
“I’ve thought a lot about the Olympics during this time, and I realise that I’ve been supported by so many people. It even hurts to walk, but I’m receiving a lot of care and treatment on my ankle.”
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