Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu needed painkillers to make it through gold-medal performance
Japanese figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu won gold over the weekend in the men’s singles competition, and what made his performance even more impressive is that he apparently did it on one leg in a sense.
Hanyu, who won the hearts of many in PyeongChang with his brilliance on the ice and his devoted, Winnie-the-Pooh-tossing supporters, told reporters on Sunday that he needed painkillers to make it through the competition. The 23-year-old was nursing an ankle injury that had not yet fully healed.
“Without painkillers, I can’t land or take off for a jump,” said Hanyu, per Hiromu Namiki of the Japan News. “I’ve had a lot of aches and pains.”
According to Namiki’s piece, Hanyu hurt his right ankle on a fall in a practice for the NHK Trophy in November. As a result, he skipped every competition in PyeongChang (including the team event) until the men’s singles.
As part of the singles competition, Hanyu had to gut it out through a short program on Friday (where he placed first with a score of 111.68) and a free program on Saturday (where he placed second with a score of 206.17). Those two scores were enough cumulatively for him to win the gold medal.
Of course, we have already seen some other athletes battle through injury in this year’s Olympics, but Hanyu may very well be the first one to do so and go on to win it all in the end.