Yuzuru Hanyu - Mainichi interview 140410 

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Q: Do you have any thoughts on achieving three world wins in the Sochi Olympics, World Championships, and GPF?
A: I fully feel as if I put forth all effort; even though with every competition I have to cope with exhausting my energy, being able to achieve such a thing makes me feel very fulfilled. Through competitions I’ve also obtained experience as well as extreme regret at the same time. For the future me, this will be a big help. It has been a wonderful and fruitful.

Q: During this season, were there any particularly painful times?
A: There weren’t any particularly painful times. Painful is okay; however it is, is okay. Also all I think about is doing things diligently; working hard at every competition and displaying the best performance. Because of this, I’ve never felt that any competition has been overly grueling.

Q: After the Sochi Winter Olympics, you said, “The Olympics are powerful.”
A: The surroundings there and those of other competitions have huge differences, and there is a kind of nervousness that is nonexistent with other competitions. Even the awards ceremony is different and feels very special. But being able to observe it like this was something that happened after the games. I was happy to win out in this sort of competition.

Q: Three years ago when the earthquake occurred, you were affected in your hometown of Sendai. At the Olympics, you replied, “Even if I become the Olympic Champion, it doesn’t mean that Japan will recover. It makes me feel helpless”; how are you going to erase this feeling?
A: I haven’t erased it yet. Since I am still an athlete, if I back off there is no way for me to move forward at all (in supporting the victims). Entering this period of time, I will enter more exhibitions; if we’re talking about what these exhibitions would do, truthfully they can’t really do anything. I’m only doing what is possible for me right now, bringing a grateful heart with me as I go to many exhibitions. During the season when the earthquake happened, I received support from many exhibitions of many places. I hope that through these new multiple exhibitions, I can tell everyone, “With everyone’s help, I was able to work until this point.”

Q: At the end of the Olympics, you brought the gold medal back to Sendai and received many congratulations; what do you feel about that?
A: Lots of people said “congrats” but my performance wasn’t good enough for me to accept it myself and left a very regretful memory. Because of this, even though I’m happy that everyone was congratulating me, hearing “After today, I’ll support you forever” makes me feel even worse. As a figure skater, and an athlete, the Olympics are such an important event. But from today on, there will be many competitions aside from the Olympics that are unique. I hope that I can become a competitor that will receive the audience’s support at every competition.

Q: There have been those who won a gold medal, and then felt at a loss toward the road in front of them; how are you going to make yourself avoid this kind of situation?
A: I haven’t thought about things like this before. Even though this season I won the gold, starting from next season, there will be a completely different kind of world. There isn’t a meet that will take place at the exact same place, and show the exact same performances, or begin a competition on the exact same ice rink. Although the rewards will not change, I do not want to pursue the same title; but to begin working hard again for the new Worlds and the new GPF.

Q: You said before that you’re setting Plushenko and Yagudin and those champions as your goal; for that to come true, what needs to happen?
A: After March’s Worlds, this thinking has changed a bit. Because I won the Olympics, the desire to keep on winning is very strong as I have the self-respect for becoming Olympic Champion. But for the developments after today in figure skating, I’m very anticipatory. There are many people that can do more types of quads than me. What kind of changes will this make to competitions; even though we also have to see what changes there are in the rules, the skill in single men’s figure skating will change according to the times. I also will not fall behind anyone, and while I’m improving my skill level, I’ll also strive to become a member of the top group of skaters.

Q: Why did your thinking change after Worlds?
A: At Worlds, when I challenged Tatsuki Machida-senshu, I won by 0.33 points and that made me wonder whether I truly needed this kind of highlighted position. At this time, maybe I do need that kind of identity, but afterward winner or champion and those titles will cease to be important. Time will always develop into everyone’s rival. “For that competitor to win isn’t strange at all”; that kind of situation makes my heart tremble. I don’t want to win at all costs anymore, or become the champion every single year. I just want to show the self that has become stronger to enemies, and win with higher skill.

Q: Your status with a different quad?
A: Beginning this rest period, I will begin to challenge it. There are still many exhibitions, and my practice time has been affected, so I haven’t begun to seriously practice it yet. Because it hasn’t yet been shown in an actual competition, maybe not a lot of people know, but in reality there are quite a few competitors that have landed a quad loop, or quad lutz in practice. I have to remember this, and prepare myself for a time that will perhaps change. Jumps are crucial, but in expressive ability, there is also work to be had.

Q: Do you have the thought that you want to be the first ever to make a jump?
A: How should I say it? It’s hard to put into words. It’s not that I don’t want to jump, but it hasn’t developed to that point. I don’t want to merely perform a certain jump in a competition to get put down as a record. As long as one person succeeds, everything will change, and all I want is to be able to keep up with that change as well. And in addition, not only with jumps, I feel that being able to express your inner emotions like Machida does will become more and more important.

Q: In order to improve expressive ability, what kind of ideas do you have?
A: There’s a lot that I want to try out, but I don’t have any particular plans. But in my coach’s, choreographer’s, and my own heart, we have a clear direction we want to go into.

Q: In the coming season, what kind of program do you want to show?
A: I want to do a performance that will let me show my emotions. I personally like the jumping elements in figure skating, so because of it I keep practicing jumps to raise the success rate, and then in programs I’ve leaned towards jumps as the point. But in the past I’ve never emphasized jumps as much as now, and I had a strong desire to express myself. Thinking back to my feelings from back then, I didn’t only want to express myself, but also to learn the different ways of doing so. After the Olympics, I discovered this.

Q: As for Daisuke Takahashi, has he not made clear his intended actions for the future?
A: I want to see his new program, as his performances have benefited me. I hope that Takahashi-senshu will be able to continue his career as a competitor. The skill level of Japan’s male singles right now can allow us to send out pretty much anyone and have a chance at the top two spots. That kind of competition makes people very excited, but at the same time it can be difficult.

Q: In such intense competitions, it can make you push yourself up.
A: That’s definite; more than everyone expects, I’m chasing after the image in my heart. I have some sort of desire to keep climbing upward, one that’s becoming stronger. I have many rivals, and in my heart I have many different kinds of enemies. Because of this, I’ll prepare and work hard for the upcoming season.

Q: The enemies in your heart are…?
A: Regardless whether he exists or not, it’s the one in the future; my unclear selves.  I have a goal, not to practice without a purpose, but practicing toward that goal. I want to get closer to that goal, and I’ll discover that when I get closer by one or two steps, it’ll move away one or two steps. I believe that I can always be in the position of the pursuer.

Q: What do you feel you will be like ten years from now?
A: Probably about to leave the skating world -laugh-. I would already be 29 years old, so if I don’t retire it would be very difficult. In ten years, I want to provide support more directly - not only for the areas struck worst by the earthquake in Japan, but other areas that have been victimized differently. I want to have the strength to organize charitable exhibitions, and use my own suggestions to put my support into action.

Q: Takahashi alone created a charitable exhibition; can these actions become set as examples?
A: Of course. After the earthquake, for me to be able to stand back up and revive my desire to skate was due to that exhibition. Not only for the earthquake, but for Japan’s skating rink environment that isn’t that good, in the future I want to move toward supporting that area as well. That isn’t the end, but I consider it one of my responsibilities, to contribute to the figure skating world.

Q: Has this kind of thought become stronger since you went to train in Canada?
A: In Canada the prevailing ice sport is hockey, but the people on the ice add up to be more than those in Japan. Japan doesn’t have many permanent rinks, and that makes it very difficult for many competitors and families to continue skating. I hope to be able to do something that will help these people. It was difficult for me to become Olympic Champion, and getting this title doesn’t give me the right to do so right now, but I hope to be able to in the future.

Q: For the approaching season, what kind of preparations are you making? 
A: I don’t have specific decisions yet, but I’ll be going to the Garden Party, and there are also activities in Sendai, and I haven’t decided when I’ll be returning to Canada.

Q: Do you have any ideas for your next programs?
A: I’m also going to think about that when I return. I have to talk it through with my coaches, but there so far haven’t been any formal discussions, so when I go back we’ll pick through it.

Q: Starting from next season, programs with lyrics are allowed; do you have any interest in this?
A: Don’t say any interest, that’s not something I can decide on my own. The dance moves, or song choice is something that’s still out of reach for me. Because I have no knowledge of those things, I have to even more listen to the advice of the professional choreographers and then put in ideas until it is satisfactory and then use it.

chinese trans: weibo
eng trans: hanyusan