sochi olympics

YUZU DAYS (1st Feb 2016)

Yuzuru Hanyu talks about That Moment– Sochi Olympics

First Olympics
–In the newly added Team Trophy event of Sochi Olympics, Hanyu competed in the short programme.  It was held earlier than the opening ceremony, and he arrived in Sochi 4 days before the ceremony, on February 3rd, to prepare.–

“Participating in Sochi, a first thought is that it is a long period. The day before the opening ceremony, we had the team competition;  there is a feeling that soon after an event is over, there is another event, for the period of nine days until the individual competition.  As I had to skate my short programme twice, for the team and individual competitions, it was hard to adjust to peak each time. Having to continue maintaining the ability to focus over a long period, I think this was the unique experience of the Olympics.

At the Olympics, it was the first time that I, as a competitor, was practising together with Plushenko. From young, to me, Plushenko is a hero. It was after watching his performance that I wanted to compete in the Olympics. To be standing in the Olympic rink alongside someone you admire and look up to…… that alone moved me a lot. During practice, we exchanged some words but I totally cannot remember the content of the exhilarating conversation. We shook hands and I thought, “I’m definitely NOT washing my hands!” (laugh)  Plushenko was watching me as I skated during practice. Being able to practise together with him is one of the best memories of Sochi Olympics.“

~The stage where the medal is~

"For the team event and the individual short, I was very focused. Just do as I usually do and it will definitely be fine, just do a good performance, that was the only thing I told myself. Riding on the music, I was able to skate feeling very good, right to the end. Getting more than 100 points for the short, I unconsciously thought, "Gold medal!”

In the free programme, my body did not move like how I thought, I also could not focus well on my performance. About the medal and other idle thoughts, I was desperately trying to clear my mind of these distractions, but trying to do that itself was a distraction…. After I skated, I thought there would definitely be a reversal (of positions) and I gave up on the gold medal almost totally.  In any case, I was ashamed (of my lack of ability) and full of regret. To the extent that I thought I would rather lose gracefully when I saw Patrick Chan’s performance. That’s why I was really surprised when the gold medal was determined.

Now, looking back, was that the “demon of the Olympics”, I wonder. Getting a score that was beyond expectations for the short programme, the gold medal flickered in my mind. It was evidence that I was already not focused on my performance at that point. But I was not the only one who was very conscious of the medal. Almost everyone was conscious of it and became stiff; during the 6-minute practice for the free programme, an abnormally nervous, tingling air flowed. For that free skate, I think nobody skated clean.  Patrick Chan also, just like me, could not skate his normal way and got the same kind of points as me. So in the end, I was in the lead for both short and free, and I won the gold medal. It is often said that there is an “Olympic demon”, but the true identity of my demon was the ‘weakness’ that came out of myself, this is what I think now.“

~The view from the podium of world number one~

"Standing on the podium, I could see the Olympic symbol at the rink side illuminated by lights and shining brightly. At that moment, finally, I could feel it for real, "I am standing on the podium at the Olympics. I am first.” I remember that. And then, I could see many people waving to me. Up to now, all the people who have helped me, one by one, their faces floated to mind…. Again, this gold medal was not won by me alone, this feeling of gratitude welled up in me. At the same time, I thought I must train harder and start working towards the World Championships so that I will live up to this medal on my chest.

When I met my family, it was at the award ceremony and the first words said to me were “So tense!” The day before, after the short programme, the reaction was “So touched!”, but when I got the gold medal, it was all words like “So anxious”, “Was praying for you”. (laugh)  With the short programme, spirits were all charged up;  with the free, spirits slid down, 'the gold medal may be gone’. Not just me and my family, anyone watching surely felt the same. (laugh)  But at the award ceremony, I could feel the achievement of the gold medal and I could share the joy with my family.“

(translated by me)
(this was so heartwarming to read in Japanese; apologies if I did not convey that in my translation.)

source: (P&G monthly article on Yuzuru)

For past translations of YUZU DAYS: [X]


Tribute to Russian Literature at the Sochi Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony

Pushkin, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Gogol, Chekov, Gorky,Bulgakov, Mayakovskiy and Solzhenitsyn etc. 

Gave me chills. Beautiful.