A note on suffixes: Generally, an athlete who retires from competition stops being referred to with the suffix ‘senshu’ (選手) in Japan and instead is called ‘san’ (さん). In the spirit of preserving this meaningful nuance and in recognition of his intention to continue being an athlete, we have kept this suffix as-is in translations of all media coverage of Yuzuru’s professional athlete announcement.
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Y: Well, there are too many things I’ve packed in it, and I can’t really say everything [I’m thinking], but truly, I’ve been able to skate precisely because everyone is watching like this. And I think some sort of meaning can be created because people watch my performance, so right now, I’d really like to thank everyone.
Q: How did you feel as you skated until the final moments of the Beijing Olympics?
Y: It made me think deeply about a lot of things. Until now, there have been many periods where I had put in all my effort but it was no use. The ‘Yuzuru Hanyu’ in everyone’s memories, like at the Sochi and the Pyeongchang Olympics, may be mostly one of someone successful. But having competed up to this point, I’ve seen myself hit rock bottom many, many times. So in that sense, this time again, having grown up…I think being rewarded isn’t everything in life. But, right now, in this unrewarded present, I’m happy.There are a lot of unreasonable things, but I’ll work hard to be able to face forward and to keep walking, even just a little.
Q: How do you feel now that you have finished your performance?
Y: Well, I gave it my all, I really did. I did my best for the free skate as well. Well, I think I gave it my all in both the short program and free skate, so I think I can say I’ve competed with all my might. When I say I gave it my all, I mean I gave it my all, including the 4A. Today is another day I was really nervous, but I put all my feelings, all my happiness into the performance. I think, somehow, I’ve been able to express various things of my skating life in this performance.
Q: Did you enjoy the practice sessions after the free skate?
Y: I had fun, and more than anything, I was happy to be seen by everyone.
Q: You said that the practice after the free skate was “fun”, was that “fun” something you hadn’t experienced recently?
Y: Ahhh. Actually, last season, until the free program “Ten to Chi to” was ready, as a form of physical training, I tried to skate cleanly all of the programs that I couldn’t do so before.
I skated “The Phantom of the Opera” on the second day of the practice, “Notre Dame de Paris” near the end of the practice session, and the “Ballade No.1” layout in which the 4T was in the second half and 3A was the first jump. There were such a variety of programs, and somehow, in a way, I had digested them all. I was thinking that I could take back what I had left behind and move on. But… I wondered if that was just a form of self-complacency.
I thought that if there would be people watching me skate, then at that rink, I wanted to properly show them the good parts of those programs that I had wanted to show. That’s why I was happy. I realised that I really like having others watch me while I skate. It’s my origin, but I went back to it and thought about it again.
Q: I guess the World Championships will depend on your ankle ?
Y: Now, yes, what can I say? Well for the practices until yesterday, I’ve been taking, let’s see, about four painkillers where I normally take one.
So, well, I was skating on the edge of my limit, thinking that if I didn’t do jumps that use my right foot such as the loop, flip or lutz (*), well, then,.. I could survive the landing! The rest, I managed with fun and adrenaline.
Today, we had a practice for the opening, or finale, well, the finale. So, when I practised my parts , I only took one painkiller today. I wondered how far I can bear with just one dose, so I tried it, and well, it hurt like hell. Hehehe. I could only jump Axels. I tried loops and flips, and then I thought, “Oh, this is no good,” so I could only do Axel,
I’ve taken about six painkillers today, So I think I’ll give my ankle a proper rest… I don’t know, normally it might be just a problem with my ankle, but since I’ve been enjoying myself so much, I’m sure I’ve been making a lot of moves to protect my ankle (**), and my body has lost its balance, and I’m sure it’s probably hurting in various places.I’m sure it hurts in many parts of my body by just attempting jumps. So, I’m going to give myself a proper rest, although I’m not sure how much I’ll be able to recover from that.
For me, I still haven’t made up my mind clearly about anything, including my future.I’ll think about a lot of things and make an overall decision before deciding on the World Championships.
(*) T/N: we think this might have been a typo or Yuzuru misspoke here. The original text would mean “If I didn’t do jumps that don’t use my right foot such as the loop, flip, or lutz”. We’ve edited the translation so that it fits the logic of what he’s saying more. He also didn’t attempt the loop, flip and lutz that much at post-competition practice sessions.
(**) T/N: “protect” here means he was unconsciously trying to cover the movement originally using his right ankle, with other parts of his body.
Q: About skating competitively. By “I want to carry Yuzuru Hanyu’s skating to the end” (in an earlier interview), do you mean you will continue to do so next season as a competitive skater, or is it something different?
Y: Well, I don’t think I mind the field. Yes, with so much fame, so much demand… well it’s a little weird for me to say demand…but… the skating of ‘Yuzuru Hanyu’ that many people are looking at like this, I want to turn it into something much, much more convincing. After all, because I want to deliver performances that will make even more people want to watch, and ones that they will want to watch more of… I still don’t really know whether that would be at ice shows or in competitions, whether that would be rewarded or unrewarded. So after thinking a lot about it… well, wherever it would be, I want to continue delivering performances that can make everyone think “I like Yuzuru Hanyu’s skating after all” after watching me.
――（外国メディアが）英語で質問していいか？ Q: (From foreign media) Can we ask you something in English?
Y: OK. Sure
――ネーサン・チェンについて Q: (What do you think) about Nathan Chen?
Y: (After saying he would answer in detail in Japanese) Uhm, I think that he possesses everything that is asked for in today’s figure skating. It’s amazing that he has been landing so many quads in such a precise way. I can’t keep landing quads with a precision as high as his, so I think he’s amazing indeed. I can say this because I’ve won 2 Olympic golds: to figure skaters, the Olympic gold medal is more important than anything. I want to praise him more than anyone for finally being able to get that medal. I want to congratulate him more than anyone. He truly is a brilliant skater, it’s really hard to put it into words, but from the bottom of my heart, I really think that he has everything that (is asked for) in today’s figure skating, in current competitive figure skating. Thank you.