Double Olympic figure skating champion Yuzuru Hanyu has still not been seen in public in Beijing but the Japanese star has posted a video message asking fans for support and promising to attempt a quadruple Axel at the Winter Games.
Absent from training sessions all week, Hanyu had fans and media nervous as they awaited news of his arrival in the host city.
The 27-year-old reigning Olympic champion, wearing the Team Japan kit against a plain white background, addressed fans in a 38-second video posted to the Japan Skating Federation’s Twitter feed.
“At the Beijing Olympics, of course I plan to go for the win, including the 4A,” Hanyu said, using the shorthand for the quad Axel.
“For this, I know I will definitely need everyone’s power, so please encourage me.”
See the social media post: https://twitter.com/skatingjapan/status/1489161748393259011
Hanyu pursued the 4A – the only quadruple of figure skating’s six jumps not to be successfully completed in competition – with a determination bordering on obsession.
Local fans are in awe of his absence in Beijing, with some posting cheeky photos of the skater on social media with the missing person’s message: “DID YOU SEE IT?” splashed at the top.
Figure skating competition begins Friday with the team event, where fellow countryman Shoma Uno will represent Japan in the men’s short program.
The individual men’s competition will take place on February 8 and 10.