I am one of the newest yet biggest fans of 2014 Winter Olympics Men’s Figure Skating Champion Yuzuru Hanyu. Unlike his other fans who have followed him since he was a child, I have only found out about him a few months before the Sochi Olympiad. I learned about him while following the news about our country’s sole bet to the Games – another talented teen who has shown a lot of potential in his performances during the Olympic qualifying events.
The first Hanyu performance I watched was nearly flawless to my uninitiated eyes. It was a mesmerizing display of skill and grace. It looked like a perfect execution of a routine that must have taken a lot of time and hard work to master. It was awe-inspiring to say the least. Since then, I try to watch figure skating events or check uploaded videos of his performances.
Yuzuru Hanyu delivered as expected during the SP at the Sochi Olympics. His FS was not as good as it could have been, but he pulled it off well enough to secure the top spot. He accomplished what many other Asian figure skating men before him were unable to do – win an Olympic Gold.
Last November, he was involved in an accident during the free skate warmup at the Cup of China in Shanghai. He collided with the China top skater Yan Han. It was what Yuzu did after that made me admire him even more. It may have been risky given the impact and effects of the collision, but it reminded me that it takes a lot of determination to do what he does and accomplish what he has already achieved. He went on to win the ISU Grand Prix Final in Barcelona only a month after the COC warmup incident and the All-Japan Championships last December 27 (see vids below).
I fancy myself doing the exact same thing he did if it were me out there. But at the back of my mind, the question remains, “Will I really be able to step up like he did?”. It takes plenty of guts and steadfast grit to carry on. Falling down and getting back up to continue performing is not easy even without any injury. Imagine how hard it would be to continue on bloodied and all.
To quickly pick yourself up if and when you fall. To keep moving forward regardless of the roadblocks. To drown out the distractions. To deal with the mistakes by pushing on harder than ever. These are just some of the reasons why I am deeply drawn to this young athlete. I have seen him perform at his best and at his worst in the months since the Olympics. Regardless of the results, he serves as an inspiration and a reminder of how far guts and grit can take anyone who embrace challenges like treasured friends.