There was a live JPN to ENG interpreter at Yuzuru’s press conference whose interpretation as a voiceover can be found here. However, knowing the limitations and time pressure of live interpretation, the Axel with Wings team decided to do our own translation with the benefit of more time and a full transcript of Yuzuru’s words. As always, though we do our best to check our version with multiple translators, we encourage viewers to consult multiple translation sources and interpretations as a point of discussion and to not treat any one translation as a source of truth.
Y: Um, well, I think of course the [quad] Axel this time was the closest I’ve gotten, up until now. I feel that maybe this is the utmost of what I can do for now, the best of Yuzuru Hanyu’s Axel so to speak. And also, of course, the fall on the [quad] Salchow was a big [loss], but, I skated while kind of thinking of it as being incorporated in what made this story of “Ten to Chi to” possible.
Q: In your finishing pose, you lifted your arms for six seconds. What were you thinking during that time?
Y: Yes, that’s right, that pose signifies the “heaven” of “Ten to Chi to [Heaven and Earth and]”, and, well, in a way, in my mind I envision it as if I am sending my spirit to the heavens. It’s the same pose that I had in the program “From Russia, With Love,” which I skated when I was nine years old. So, it’s kind of like projecting my current self on my past self, and it’s hard to explain succinctly, but there are a lot of emotions swirling around. Well, in a way… hmm how should I put it, it’s difficult. I think that the story of my program continues up to that point, until I’ve finished that pose, until I’ve sheathed the [metaphorical] sword, until I’ve exited the rink.
Q: You put some ice on your face when you exited the rink…
I was thinking that I was truly thankful. To be honest, uhm. Such a thing happened in the short program. Well, of course I was frustrated, somehow… yes, in my opinion, I’ve accumulated a lot of things and also put out the right efforts until now, and I think I’ve done everything that I could think of. I’ve done all of it till this day thinking “Ah, (those efforts) are not rewarded”. However, truly, in the end, I felt thankful thinking “thank you for letting me jump to this level until now”.
Q: Were you able to enjoy the Olympics this time?
Y: No, it wasn’t enjoyable at all. No, [because] there was so much going on.
Haha, I can’t express it in one word, after all. The Sochi Olympics were its own event, and I won feeling a lot of regret. In a sense, that might have been the occasion where I was able to improve myself. I think Pyeongchang was where I put out all the improvements that I’ve made. This time, how to say it. It might become clearer after some time has passed, but I think it’s been an Olympics where I fought my best with all of my pride.
Y: Um, to be honest, I’m really conflicted on how in-depth I should talk about it. Well, I’ve been thinking that I could probably talk about it if I won. Frankly speaking, I don’t know how I should put it, but probably, uhm, I received a lot of treatment. I feel like that’s solely why I could somehow keep standing.
Q: What was your strongest emotion heading to the rink in that state?
Y: The response was good. Well, amazingly, (I thought that) this is the rotating speed of a quad Axel. Landing after such rotations might be a bit dangerous, it might be impossible for a human to do it. But in a sense, I think that I’ve been able to do the best quad Axel that I can deliver.
Q: What were you feeling while in the air [while doing the quad axel]?
Y: Hehe, what should I say? I think it’s probably something nobody other than me has felt.
Q: Will you still continue your challenge for the 4A?
Y: Please give me some time. I’d like to think about it a bit. The amount [of effort] I put in this time was really everything I could.
Q: [from Chinese media] You can also do it at the exhibition…
Y: Am I included in the exhibition?
Q: [from Chinese media] If you do have a chance [to perform in the exhibition], what kind of feelings would you like to express [to your fans/audience]?
Y: Um, I really truly want to express my gratitude to everyone. I don’t know if my performances this time lived up to everyone’s expectations, and I don’t know if I was able to connect all of the support I received from everyone to it. Honestly, I also really feel sorry. That’s why, I hope my feelings of gratitude will be able to reach everyone through my performances, even if just a little bit. Thank you very much. I ask for your support once more.
The mixed zone exchange was reported also in this article (first published 10 February 2022), including parts that did not air in the TV segment. We have therefore translated the article as well, including additional parts not covered in the video.
Y: Rather than get stuck… it’s more like… um, when I say I got stuck, I mean that I got stuck in a hole that I traced before, which is what happened in 2019 in a short program. The mistake in that Short Program in 2019 was probably because um, during the 6 minute warm-up, I was fixed on my jumping position down to the millimeter, and I ended up jumping in the same spot later [in the actual competition]. This time, I was already aware of that past mistake, and I had that experience in my mind. So, during the 6 minute warm-up this time, I adjusted my position a little bit. And so, during the actual program, I went in with the perfect form and the perfect timing for the jump, and the moment I tried to take off, there was a hole there. It was a hole from a toe jump. So there’s nothing I could do about it.
Q: You skated in the main rink for the first time this morning. Looking back on your preparation method, what are your thoughts?
Y: Well, it was pretty good, if anything. The 6-minute warm-up was also really good. I also felt really good about my physical condition. Well, of course, facing the Free Skate, I’d like to stay in this good condition. Today’s mistake was something that I couldn’t have prevented, no matter what I did. Well, looking ahead towards the Free Skate, I want to properly put everything I have into it.
Q: How did you feel when skating after the [quad] Salchow?
Y: Well… kind of like, “well, that happened”. In any case, to my senses, that kind of thing wasn’t a mistake to me. So, I think that’s why I was able to continue on with the program without it affecting my mind at all.
Q: Were you able to refocus your feelings [after the mistake] today?
Y: Rather than refocus my feelings [after the mistake], how do I put it… it’s like when you see something, and with just one small piece coming out of place, I wasn’t quite able to bring it all together. It is what it is, yes.
Y: Well, I’m really thankful to be even getting 95 points with [that kind of error]. I think that’s because I was able to complete the other elements with high quality and I’d like to commend myself for that. How to put it. Well… truthfully speaking, I wondered if I had done something bad. Hahaha. Like somehow…was it because I had done something bad that it turned out this way? It was the sort of mistake where I could only think about that kind of thing, yes.
Q: Did you have any strong sense of this being ‘the Olympics’?
Y: Of course I had. Well, the atmosphere was different from usual [competitions]. Um. But I was really in a super concentrated state, in a condition where there was nothing out of place, so if I try to search for the cause of the mistake, I won’t be able to sort them out. I don’t think there were any mistakes with the skating element. It’s like… I wonder if I did something to be hated (laughs), like I skated while thinking I must be really hated by the ice.
Q: What was the reason behind you arriving 2 days before [the SP]?
Y: Um… for me personally, since I became a Senior skater, I’ve felt that the longer I stay [at a competition], the more I become listless, and my condition gradually worsens. Things like the World Championships are also long [events] but if I do things for too long, then I get into the competitive mindset too much, and tire out. When the Team Event members were announced, that was when I decided I would cut it close [in arriving].
Q: You’ll be heading into the Free Skate not as the leader of the Short Program for the first time (at the Olympics)
Y: Well, hopefully one in which I don’t get caught in the ice [laughs]. Rather than the saying “one good deed a day”*, I’m wondering if I now have to do like ten good deeds a day [to avoid this happening again] (laughs). But, I think I’ve done enough practice to justify that much. I think I’ve come here with a lot of confidence in my performances. As for the rest, well, maybe only God knows. In any case, there’s still time. Also, by making good use of the time after the short program [until the free], and really taking in everyone’s feelings, I want to turn my performance into something complete. Thank you for having me. Thank you, I’ll do my best [in the free program].
*T/N: Referring to a Japanese proverb, 「一日一善 」 “[doing] one good deed a day”