What Yuzuru Hanyu said

Yuzuru Hanyu. Star of the show. Sometimes removed from the rest of the world by a language barrier.


At Skate Canada International this week, the Japanese media – who do understand him of course – liven up the place and fill it up too. There are at least 90 media accredited for this event, most of them Japanese. Out back, there are three enormous television trucks, all from Japan. The little one in back is for TSN/CTV, the host broadcaster.


On Thursday night after a men’s practice, the final one of the day, Hanyu held court in the mixed zone to a group of intrepid Japanese reporters. He spoke, of course, in Japanese. And this is what he said, through translation:


Asked about his stamina (especially in light of his performance at Autumn Classic in Montreal a few weeks ago), Hanyu said his issues weren’t so much about stamina, but that he just wasn’t really able to do the jumps accurately with the music. And in the weeks since, that is what he has paid most attention to.


Granted, he was really annoyed with himself for missing elements at Autumn Classic, but once that dust cleared, he promised himself that he will shed his skin. There is a Japanese expression about shedding one’s skin to renew oneself. We have it too. But Hanyu told himself that he would shed 20 to 30 skins. So far, he admits he has shed only one. In other words, there is room to shred further. (So look out, fellow men’s competitors.)


He also promised himself that he would practice to prevent making any sort of mistakes at all. He can’t promise that he wouldn’t. It would be chocolate ice cream if he could. But he’ll work towards it with a ferocity. Every time he practices, he searches for points to improve.


And what about the ground-breaking quad loop? Yes, it has a higher base value than the two different quads he’s done before, the toe loop and the Salchow. Every little bit helps, after all. But Hanyu just considers it one more quad to add to his arsenal. The key is not just adding a jump that is more difficult, but to add a variety of quads. The more quads you have, the less likely you will be subject to the penalty of repeating them, he said.


“All quads are difficult to me,” he said. “It’s just a different type of quad that I can add to my repertoire.”


Hanyu said he’s getting accustomed to the mental and physical energy required to do four quads in a long program. But for now, his focus is only on doing two quads in his short program today (Friday.) Then he’ll turn his attention to the quartet of quads.


Hanyu was smiling and engaging until he was asked the final question: “What do you think of Shoma Uno?” Of course, Uno won Skate America last week with a quad flip that is deemed more difficult than what Hanyu does. Hanyu has not performance a quad flip – yet.


Was Uno a new rival? Hanyu was asked. (From his own country, no less.)


Hanyu said, his face changing: “Uno is not my only rival. Obviously, if you talk about the flip, Boyang Jin does the quad Lutz. And he also does different quads and more quads. And if you talk about quads, you have to mention Nathan Chen [who does five in his free.]


“I don’t want to talk about who is my rival,” Hanyu said. “I am my only rival.”


The men’s short program is late on Friday night.









10 thoughts on “What Yuzuru Hanyu said

  1. Dear Ms.Smith,

    I always respect your works in figure skating field. But im angry at this article. “What Yuzuru Hanyu said”? You dont take his comments by yourself and just put the translations from each source. I can see all the souces since i check his statements. I want to ask you “are you ashamed of yourself as a jounalist?” do you get agreement from hanyu side with the translations? You know it is the matter of copyright. You want to put the name of hanyu, since his article can collect viewers. However, you should know the risk of translation. The language barrier between English and Japanese has much risk to cause misunderstanding about his intention.
    He is a very responsible guy and bright. His japanese are so considerate and reasonalble. But he cant use English as he does in Japanese and he doesn’t take English interview, since if he cant tell what he wants to say in English and getting interview in English and leaving comments in English is such a risk of causing misunderstanding or trouble. Further, he can’t control and check articles by jounalists. If his comments against his will would be spread as his words, it would be such a damage to him. He should be careful about media response as a top skater and you must understand his situation.
    I strongly ask you to withdraw this article. if impossible, never to write an article like this. There are a lot of great skaters other than him. You should take such skaters if you are a real jounalist of figure skating. Yes, yuzuru’s fans other than those who cant understand japanese want to know about his comments, and other fans who can understand Japanese does translations for not-Japanese speaker. But they are between fans, not professhonal one. It is not your job.

    Im sorry for my poor English. I write this comment hard to ask you about your pride and conscience as a journalist.

  2. Again I say you have no right to criticize Japanese media. You should think why you can’t get interviews from him. Who’s translater? Did you get agreement? You must translate without permission from several articles. You are a professional writer, not a fan. Shame on you! You don’t have to write about hanyu. You write about hanyu only to collect viewers. You have no knowledge and passion with him. It is obvious to read your previous post. You just tried to write sensationally to collect viewers. You are mean. You are not a journalist.

    1. I am totally baffled by your anger. There is absolutely nothing in my posts that is incorrect. And just so that you know, I was a journalist for Canada’s national newspaper for 35 years. I am trained. This was not my hobby. And I I understand skating. And I am still writing about it because it is one of my passions.
      And I haven’t criticized Japanese media. And I do have to write about Hanyu, because he is Olympic champion and a major player.
      And also, just so that you know, I was in the scrum with Hanyu after the practice. I used my recorder to record what he said, then I had the event’s official translator translate everything he said, word for word. My post was liked by many Japanese people, perhaps because I used information that some Japanese journalists didn’t use from the scrum. There was nothing whatsoever controversial about what he said. There is no reason to withdraw anything. And I totally fail to understand why you would be angry at me for simply epeating what he had said.
      Also, Hanyu spoke in English a little bit in the press conference that followed the long program, but when he wanted to explain something more difficult, he asked to speak in Japanese and once again, a translator translated everything he said. We are totally free to use this information. Otherwise, only Japan would know anything about Hanyu. Is that what you want?
      You clearly do not understand copyright law. Copyright law does not extend to interviews or translations of interviews. It makes no sense.
      On the other hand, the pieces that I write for this blog are copyrighted, and I know very well that my words are being translated for Japanese readers. So should I be angry about that? Not at all. I welcome it. I never see these translations.
      In fact, there are some who have taken credit for my work in Japan. That is called plagiarism and that is not good. And I have a right to be angry about this because these people are infringing copyright.Yet in the past, I have chosen just not to worry about it. There are far more important things to worry about in this world. My skin is not going to be that thin.
      The journalist’s job is to serve as eyes for the general public who cannot be in the press conferences and scrums. It is not my job to write for fans who only wish to read puff pieces about someone. It is my job to relate the truth. I take this very seriously.
      I don’t earn a cent from doing these posts and I don’t give a fig about writing something just to gain hits or viewers. I’m from a generation that didn’t care about such things, and I gain absolutely nothing from having more hits or viewers. I have never been a sensationalist.
      If you really don’t like my posts, then why do you read them? You can easily get your information elsewhere.

  3. Beverly, Since his failure in the final Free programme at the World Championships which allowed Javier to win by default ( I know you don’t agree with that theory), you seem to revel in Yuzuru’s recent failures.
    And so now we have another failure incident after tonight’s Men’s Short in Canada. Clearly barring some catastrophe, it looks like Yuzu’s nemesis Chan has already won, looking at the latest results.
    Sadly British fans will get to see none of the Men’s Skating on Eurosport TV Channel. It’s not in the schedules. But they are going to show the Women’s and Pairs. Why???? We don’t know.
    Eurosport are a disgrace. Is International Figure Skating going to fade away from British TV’s just as it all got rather interesting.

    1. I never revel in anybody’s failures.
      As for worlds, Fernandez was spectacular on that day, gained the points to win from what he did. That is what winning is all about. Hanyu did not, but I’m sure there will be a day when he will come back and smoke them all. Really, he is in a class by himself. But sport wouldn’t be so interesting if we knew ahead of time who would win. If so, we may as well be watching exhibitions.
      The traditional media world, including newspapers and television and Eurosport are all plagued by the same thing: the revenue streams are quickly depleting and nobody can do what they used to do. It’s a pity for sure.

  4. Doubt!
    Marupanda(named similar to YUZUPANDA:Infamous Anti Hanyu) pretending to be Hanyu madness fan.
    Marupanda’s comments seems like other skater fans envy the popularity of Hanyu,or Japanese media that covered in trappings.
    And Bev′s article feel you annoyed, right?

    From Beverley Smith’s report,it can be seen all Hanyu answers of the interview from the media that lack of respect.

    In spite of the Canada Cup, they are inciting the confrontation between Japanese skater who are not there, trying to disturb the concentration of Hanyu.

    Now, by a stupid article in Japan,they cut intentionally some of his words, put the sensational title “Hanyu represents the hostility to the 17-year-old.”
    It seems to be deliberately mislead his words.

    Dear Beverley Smith,
    Thank you for your accurate article.
    Please do not worry about words of fools.
    They leave a rude comment to hurt the spirit of the writer who wrote article they do not like.

    Your all Hanyu’s article(sometimes cynical tongue-in-cheek report) is translated respectfully by Hanyu’s fans to pursue the truth, and it has spread to his fans around the world.
    Looking forward to your new article.

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