Figure Skater Yuzuru Hanyu and his Choice to Withdraw from the 2020 Grand Prix Final

As all things did, the sports industry changed drastically when Covid-19 became a looming threat over society. Many precautions have been added, such as temperature checks and removing the crowds that used to cheer athletes on during their competitions. These safety measures, however, have not always been effective. Athletes who have put themselves, their families, and their teammates at risk have tested positive for the virus.

Still, most events are proceeding. The 2020 Grand Prix Series, a figure skating competition that has been held annually since 1995, will begin in late October. 

Here’s what that means for Yuzuru Hanyu, winner of this year’s Four Continents Figure Skating Championships and the only male figure skater to complete the career “Super Slam”[1]. Hanyu, 25, has broken and set many world records—including being the first man to land a quadruple toe and triple axel sequence with positive grades of execution. 

In late August, the accomplished skater withdrew from the Grand Prix series. In a statement from the Skating Japan website, translated by @axelsandwich on twitter, he mentions his asthma and the after-effects being infected by the virus would bring. He recognizes that it would be difficult for his coach, who lives in Canada, to fly to Japan and join him at competitions. If Hanyu [himself] were to fly to Canada, a two week isolation period would be necessary. Thus, he would be “unable to practice or participate in skating activities,” and he would find it extremely hard “to participate in competitions in perfect form.”[2]

Hanyu will be absent from figure skating for a few months while this competition takes place. “Fanyus,” as his supporters are called, are anxiously awaiting his return—and an end to the pandemic that has prevented many other athletes from being able to participate in their respective sports.

Works Cited

OlympicTalk. “Figure skating Grand Prix Series will be held as ‘domestic’ competitions.” NBC Sports, 4 Aug. 2020, olympics.nbcsports.com/2020/08/04/figure-skating-grand-prix-skate-america-coronavirus/.

Palar, Sanjeev. “Hanyu Yuzuru wins Four Continents to complete career ‘Super Slam.'” Olympic Channel, 9 Feb. 2020, www.olympicchannel.com/en/stories/news/detail/hanyu-yuzuru-win-maiden-four-continents/.

“Translation of Yuzuru Hanyus statement regarding his decision to withdraw from the 2020 ISU Grand Prix series.” Twitter, 28 July 2020, twitter.com/axelsandwich/status/1299268013888139264?s=21. 


[1] Hanyu accomplished this by winning all major junior and senior competitions as a figure skater.

[2] “Translation of Yuzuru Hanyus statement regarding his decision to withdraw from

the 2020 ISU Grand Prix series.”