Who is your favorite Japanese athlete?

My favorite Japanese athlete is Yuzuru Hanyu. He participated in the Winter Olympics this year in 2022 in China.

I think Hanyu really stands out as an athlete. My impression is that most Japanese people have a very high opinion of him. I am from Canada, so winter sports are the most common type of sports that most children have a chance to experience. When I was in school, we were required to learn how to figure skate and try ice hockey. I did ice skating for a few years when I was in elementary school, but I fell down on the ice a lot and got a ton of bruises.

I gave up after a few years, so I stopped following the sport altogether for a while. However, I happened to be watching the Winter Olympics in 2014 on TV, which was in Sochi, Russia. I thought most of the skaters were technically quite good, but I didn’t have any particular feeling or emotions elicited when I watched their performances. I remember the first time I saw Hanyu’s performance at that time. Of course, it was technically impressive. He could jump very high and quickly and land with accuracy. His movements were so fluid and graceful, it seemed like he was gliding through the air with a pair of wings. I had never seen such a powerful athletic performance before. There was more than just technical ability and accuracy in his routine. There was a lot of passion and theatrical emotion in his movements and facial expressions. I think what makes Hanyu’s performances so special is not that he can jump high, make a perfect landing or spin fast, I think he stands out because his performance emotionally resonates with his audience. It’s almost as if he is an artist trying to connect and convey his feelings to the audience.

I think even many Canadian figure skaters and skaters from many other countries really admire him for his passion and drive to push himself to take on more challengers to remain a world class figure skater and athlete. I was really surprised when I found out he was only 19, just a teen, when he became so famous. I can’t imagine breaking so many world records and having many people know my name for my accomplishments in this way. I was saddened to see him get such a low score for his performance this year at the 2022 Winter Olympics. However, I admire his ability to remain positive and push himself to achieve more. Even though his effort was not rewarded with a medal, I think his fans and supporters commended his effort, which is probably worth more than a medal anyway.

I will keep checking him out and, hopefully, he’ll win a gold medal at the next Winter Olympics in Milan and Cortina in Italy. Let’s all push for him to win! Good luck, Yuzuru Hanyu!!!



elicit (verb) – to get information or a reaction from somebody, often with difficulty
theatrical (adjective) – connected with the theatre or the performance of plays
resonate (verb) – to remind somebody of something; to be similar to what somebody thinks or believes
commend (verb) – to praise somebody/something, especially publicly