*please note that this is only speculation at this point*
TRANSLATION (please give credit)
“I’m starting to have some negative thoughts about short programs.” Yuzuru Hanyu, 22, admitted on the 20th at the World Team Trophy. Although he was 1st in the free program event, he struggled through the short program. At the World Championships in Helsinki, he broke his world record by scoring 223 points in the free program, but similarly had issues with the short program and placed fifth.
Facing such abnormalities, Hanyu was moving forwards to make a certain “change.” He had, in secret, changed his choreographer. For the past three seasons, Hanyu has had his short programs choreographed by Jeffrey Buttle (34), and his free programs by Shae-Lynn Bourne (41). In particular, Hope & Legacy, choreographed by Bourne, led Hanyu to a world record skate. A figure skating insider, however, revealed:
“Hanyu is planning to end his partnership with his current choreographers and aim for the gold at Pyeongchang with a new team under his wing. His SP will continue to by choreographed by Buttle, but it has been decided that his FP will be choreographed by David Wilson (50).”
Even some figure skating associates have expressed confusion and doubt about Hanyu’s sudden decision to dissolve his current team. Yet it seems that for Hanyu as well, this was an extremely difficult decision to make.
The same insider commented: “The truth is that Bourne is still quite new as a choreographer. She is extremely diligent, and will study to great lengths to create new, interesting programs. She also has a very hands-on approach, and will personally go on ice often to teach the programs herself. But at the Olympics, traditional and well-received programs tend to be favored over the kinds of ambitious programs she choreographs.”
Wilson, on the other hand, choreographed his FP at the Olympics in 2014. That program, “Romeo and Juliet,” led Hanyu to Olympic gold.
“He is well-known as being one of the best choreographers in the field, and has a lot of knowledge about making programs that can help skaters win. Hanyu, apparently, mulled over this issue for quite a while, but ultimately decided: ‘If I want to skate my best performance at Pyeongchang, I need to get back with the team that helped me win Sochi,’” the insider also said.
For the first time in four years, Hanyu is looking forwards to reuniting with his old choreographer. But this is far from the first time he has had to make a difficult decision like this; a couple of years before Sochi, he also had to make the agonizing decision to change his coach.
Another skating insider says: “He made the choice to leave the coach that had taught him since he was a child, Nanami Abe (47), and instead go under the wing of Brian Orser (55). There are, of course, always risks that come with making big changes. But Hanyu is the kind of person who believes that he should ‘never stay content with the present situation.’ It’s probably because of that philosophy that he believes that now is the time to make a change, especially as he faces some difficulties in his career.”