Note : I added important things at the end of the article since the first publication.
Check it up : nobody knowing the discipline will dare denying this. Whenever you listen to commentators who used to be figure skaters, they all (save a few idiots who prefer to criticize his costumes) commend their perfection and how he manages to make them seem effortless (which is part of the note as Grade of Execution). Since I’m way too new to pretend I know, I gathered here explanations from people who know better and provide visual evidences. I’m grateful for their hard work. Please check each channel if you can, Hanyu fans and figure skating fans are really doing a great job at breaking down all the technicalities of the discipline.
Act I : Jump Master
Let’s take a look at his jumps in this excellent video putting side to side the ISU textbook description of jumps, and Hanyu’s jumps :
And of course, there is his quest to be the first to land a Quadruple Axel. The most difficult jump in the world. There’s another video I already posted earlier especially and his triple Axel, because they are already quite special. After watching that video, you too while call Hanyu’s brand of 3A the « triple Axel out of nowhere ». 3AOOO. And laugh.
Roseline Winter on Twitter did an entire thread of Yuzuru Hanyu’s crazy transitions to 3A. Enjoy.
He was also the first figure skater to accomplish a ratified Quadruple Loop, in 2016.
Can we agree then that he doesn’t need to prove anything regarding jumps? But we cannot *not* check his best 4A (so far) from Beijing, right?
Act II : Spin Master
I’m so used to lame sports coverage with only people commenting without getting their hands dirty, so I was surprised to find this video of Hanyu demonstrating how to do his Camel spin on Japanese television, and that one of the show hosts, Suzuki Akiko, had tried the Camel spin herself previously to show it to the audience.
Easier said than done… but it looks so easy! (Not).
A guide to figure skating spins… with plenty of examples from Yuzuru Hanyu, who is one of the few male skaters able to do the Biellmann spin because it requires a lot of flexibility.
He even invented one that I don’t think he has shown in galas or competition, though. 🙃
Act III : Step Sequences
I thought it was better to include a video doing a great job at demonstrating the evolution of step sequences :
Act IV : NFT aka Nice F****g Transitions
(I stole the expression from Twitter but can’t remember where, so feel free to tag yourself if the meme was yours). Just one video serving as a… transition to the final act.
Act IV : Artistry
This will warrant a more elaborated post in itself about Hanyu’s perfectionnism, from getting music pieces tailored to the story he wants to tell, adjusting costumes so they’re visually matching the venue, making so that the heavy technical content is perfectly synchronized with it, and still performing it all with the grace and fluidity of a ballet dancer.
(no I’m not in love. Just in awe)
Let’s just illustrate this with a few pictures.
Convinced yet? Now let’s see what it gives when it’s packed together in a short program… that broke (again) the World Record at Four Continents Championship in 2020.
That’s all I have to say for today. Meet me in the corner of converted fans.
P.S. : I forgot a few things I wanted to add :
Yuzuru Hanyu is also the first male skater to achieve a Super Slam, eg to have won each and every major official internation competition both as a junior and a senior (picture from Planet Hanyu on Twitter) at least once… :
And an interview after his second Olympic gold medal where he explains his view on the age-old debate between the artistic and the athletic components of figure skating, and which one should prevail. And his answer is that « artistry is founded upon absolute technical prowess » and that (paraphrasing) his style is to make full programs that include technical difficulties rather than lining up jumps to add points.