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Thursday, April 24, 2014, 15:45 - 16:30

"The first male Japanese figure skater to win an Olympic gold is the nation's favorite son, brother and boyfriend."
Yuzuru Hanyu
Sochi Olympic Figure Skating Men’s Single Champion and Gold Medalist &
World Figure Skating Champion for 2014
Language: The speech and Q & A will be in Japanese with English interpretation

 He made history and drove the nation wild with excitement by becoming the first male Japanese figure skater to win an Olympic gold.

 Yuzuru Hanyu, the perfectly poised teenager with all the right moves and a heart string-pulling story – a native of Sendai who was skating at his local rink when the 3/11 earthquake struck – has become Japan's favorite son, brother and boyfriend. On the latter, so much so that a female fan - with a particularly piercing voice – drew ire from his supporters after she screamed "Yuzuru, AISHITERU (I love you)!" in the quiet moment just before his short programme at the World Championship tournament in Saitama last month. The usually faultless Hanyu did have a fall during that performance, and many attributed it to a loss of concentration from the ill-timed cheer. Ever gracious and polite, Hanyu himself has brushed aside such a link.

 Just 16 when the earthquake shattered his hometown three years ago, Hanyu has said he wasn't sure whether he was going to be able to continue normal life, let alone the rigours of competitive skating. His rink was damaged and closed down, and the future looked bleak. This is when many benefactors – including senior skaters like Turin Olympics gold medalist Shizuka Arakawa, but also plain local folks – raised funds and organized ice shows so that he could continue training, first in Yokohama and then in Toronto, under Canadian coach Brian Orser.

 The rest is history, as they say. Coach Orser himself is a victim of the "Canadian Curse" of male figure skaters which Hanyu dealt to rival Patrick Chan in Sochi, after the Canadian looked close to the gold medal after Hanyu had two early falls in his free skate. Hanyu pulled through in the end with his artistic points, and dedicated his victory to the people of Tohoku and everyone who helped him first to survive, and then to win.

 Come and meet the young man whose fans call themselves, "Yuzurists".

 Please reserve in advance, still & TV cameras inclusive. Reservations and cancellations are not complete without confirmation.

Professional Activities Committee

Apr 24 14 PC Yuzuru Hanyu047

 

 

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