Pooh's your daddy! Hanyu not done after Olympic double

AFP
Japan's "Ice Prince" Yuzuru Hanyu has promised there's plenty more to come after he became the first man to capture back-to-back Olympic figure skating gold medals in 66 years.
AFP
AFP

Japan's Yuzuru Hanyu reacts after compeing in the men's single skating free skating of the figure skating event during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at the Gangneung Ice Arena in Gangneung on February 17, 2018. 

Japan's "Ice Prince" Yuzuru Hanyu has promised there's plenty more to come after he became the first man to capture back-to-back Olympic figure skating gold medals in 66 years.

The 23-year-old broke the pain barrier to strike gold in Pyeongchang after a brave free skate on Saturday that Hanyu revealed had required painkilling shots to help him land jumps on his crocked ankle.

"I've achieved my dream but I've got no plans to quit skating," Hanyu told a news conference on Sunday.

"Honestly, I feel refreshed, I feel satisfied -- I feel like I've done what I came here to do. It was a tough assignment but if it had all been plain sailing maybe I wouldn't have been able to win gold."

Despite his slender frame and child-like fixation with Winnie the Pooh, Hanyu is a tough cookie, and one who is perhaps lucky to be alive.

As a teenager he watched in horror as a massive 2011 earthquake caused the ice to crack beneath his skates as he practiced in his hometown of Sendai in northern Japan.

Hanyu has already set his sights on his next goal -- the quadruple axel, a jump so technically difficult, as it requires four and a half mid-air rotations, that no skater has yet managed to execute it.

"I couldn't nail my jumps without painkillers and there were moments I thought about quitting," he said of his sore ankle.

"The injury was my biggest enemy. But I love skating and once I get my ankle right again I have just one thing left to motivate me -- the quadruple axel."

An expectant Japan, not to mention Hanyu's legions of fans around the world, will now wonder whether their hero will dare to go for an Olympic hat-trick at the 2022 Beijing Games.

"I haven't thought about the next Olympics," said Hanyu. "I'm just thinking of getting my ankle healed properly."

Hanyu did raise eyebrows after playfully pinching the cheek of countryman and silver medallist Shoma Uno while on the medals podium.

"Rather than a little brother he's more like a puppy," he said of his 20-year-old team mate.

"He's not my pet, but he is really cute."


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