Who Is Yuzuru Hanyu? Here’s What We Know About Japan’s Record-Breaking Figure Skater

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Yuzuru Hanyu may be a figure skating icon with multiple record-breaking achievements under his belt, but don’t expect him to slow down any time soon.

The two-time Olympic champion made it clear that completing the quadruple axel (a figure skating jump that requires at least four rotations) is the “biggest reason” he’s competing in Beijing. And if he succeeds, it would make him the first ice skater in history to successfully land the challenging jump in the competition. But regardless of where he lands on the podium, something tells us that his legendary status will remain intact.

Keep reading for everything we know about Yuzuru Hanyu.

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1. Who is Yuzuru Hanyu?

Hanyu is a Japanese figure skater, who's been lauded as one of the greatest male athletes in the sport’s history. The 27-year-old is a two-time Olympic champion and two-time World champion, who has broken an impressive 19 scoring records. Plus, in 2014, he made history as the first Asian men's singles figure skater to win an Olympic gold medal.

2. When did he start skating?

Hanyu took up skating when he was just four years old, wanting to follow in the footsteps of his big sister.

According to the Japanese publication Asahi Shimbun, his sister's coach, Mami Yamada, recommended that Hanyu undergo training after seeing him hit the ice for the very first time. Even after suffering a hard fall, he quickly got up and started to run around the ice—which seemed like an early indication that ice skating was right up his alley. Yamada said, "I've never seen a child who isn't so scared."

3. Where did Hanyu go to school?

After graduating from Tohoku High School in 2013, Hanyu enrolled at Waseda University’s School of Human Sciences and did the e-school program from his training base in Canada. (Fun fact: Before graduating in 2020, he worked on a thesis that discussed how 3D motion capture technology can be used in figure skating, per Sponichi.)

4. Is it true that Hanyu published books?

The athlete not only released two autobiographies, Blue Flames and Blue Flames II, but he also released photo books. His first, titled Yuzuru, hit shelves in October of 2014. And in the following year, Yuzuru Hanyu Goroku was released, including images and quotes by the ice skater.

5. Is Hanyu in a relationship?

Hanyu isn’t one to share details about his personal life, which explains why he isn’t very active on social media. But judging by his most recent interviews, it appears that Hanyu is not in a relationship. Given his work ethic and drive, we imagine that he’s way too focused on ice skating to think about romance right now. But who knows—maybe his dating status will change sooner than we think.

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