The Russians may have won figure skating’s first gold medal at the Beijing Games but the most anticipated event on Monday was at the nearby training rink where Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu, at long last, made his first appearance for a practice session.
Touching down a day earlier in the Chinese capital after leaving fans guessing over his whereabouts, the twice Olympic champion drew a mob of press and photographers, many not allowed in due to capacity restrictions in the COVID distanced Games.
Hanyu, masked and wearing a white Team Japan top, glided onto the ice as photographers lining the entire length of the rink pointed their lenses and journalists scribbled in their notebooks.
Shedding his top after a few minutes, the skater nicknamed “Ice Prince” warmed up with spins and jumps, sharing the ice with four others including Shoma Uno.
Determined to land the first-ever quadruple axel jump at the Olympics, Hanyu has kept his recent training in Japan closed to the media and missed all the practice sessions in Beijing this week.
He will be skating on a different rink on Tuesday, when he first competes in the men’s singles event.
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