Figure skating: Olympic champion Hanyu ready for Grand Prix season debut

Japan’s two-time Olympic figure skating champion Yuzuru Hanyu says he is in good shape ahead of his Grand Prix season debut in Helsinki.

«I am technically solid and have put in the hard work in training,» Hanyu said in the Finnish capital Thursday after official practice for the third event of the ISU Grand Prix series. «It will mean nothing if I don’t win.»

Hanyu, who in February became the first male skater in 66 years to capture back-to-back Olympic gold medals by winning at the Pyeongchang Games in South Korea, triumphed on his comeback from injury in his first competition of the season at the Autumn Classic International in September.

However, he was hard on himself after an uncharacteristically shaky performance at the Sixteen Mile Sports Complex in Canada.

«As far as my points go, it’s disappointing,» he said after his victory there. «I feel like I could’ve been better in many areas.»

With the exception of a mistake on a toe loop, Hanyu was otherwise clean in Thursday’s practice.

In Helsinki, Hanyu faces a field of competitors that includes 2018 world bronze medalist Mikhail Kolyada of Russia, two-time world bronze medalist Jin Boyang of China and Skate America silver medalist Michal Brezina of the Czech Republic. Japan’s Keiji Tanaka is also entered.

Japan’s Kaori Sakamoto, silver medalist at Skate America, is entered in the women’s competition headlined by Olympic champion Alina Zagitova of Russia.

Helsinki will host a Grand Prix event for the first time.

All — Kyodo News+

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