Hanyu Yuzuru

The world is watching Sochi Olympics, one of the biggest sports events of our time. Some people follow the athletes closely, feeling the steps they are taking. I, on the contrary, having little interest in most sports, follow Sochi’s posts on 9gag and enjoy good laughs. For example, never had I felt so thankful to the protective mask as today when I beamed a silly grin in public browsing across this photo.


For a computer engineer, this looks hilariously familiarly and annoyingly funny.

The Olympics would have been all puns and pranks to me, if I did not read the news on a young Japanese figure skater. At first, the athlete simply amused me because he looked like my Chinese friends but in a more flamboyant style.

As I had nothing to do this evening, and tomorrow is a national holiday in Japan, I looked him up a bit. It turned out this figure skating dude won a whole lot of my respect.

Hanyu Yuzuru is his name. I watched this video on youtube about his practice in Paris to help overcome his idol Patrick Chan, which he managed to succeed last year at a tournament (it is all in Japanese, however). He is only 19 and his thoughts are so mature that it bumped up my sports motivation a bit. I feel eager to apply some of his advice in my next tennis practice. (By the way, again, I am not of a sports guy at all; tennis is the only I feel comfortable with).

He expressed his idea about facing his opponents as soon as possible because it would help pinpoint the obstacles. If for the first time one did not succeed, he said, it would be alright to correct the mistake one made there in the second trial. In other words, the more you try, the closer you extend toward your goal. I could not agree more. Today I reread my blog when I was 20 and felt so annoyed by how cocky I was at that time. Watching Hanyu’s interview, listening to those words, and remembering he was only nineteen made me wonder “damn, what was I doing?” (or what AM I doing?!)

Also, I watched this interview about his hometown together with its ice rink devastated by 2011 earthquake, about his goal being set higher than imagined, about his coming back to his hometown’s ice rink touching the ice-floor and feeling emotional. Even when he talked, his voice shook a little. If I had been him, I would have broken down there crying out like a kitten. Suppressing emotions is my worst. Furthermore, either failing or winning, he can keep a calm smile and talk adequately to the camera. Disappointment but no depression; triumph but no arrogance. In short, I so much respect Hanyu for thinking maturely and acting accordingly (which is more important) at such an early age of 19.

In one flashback of a video, the little boy Hanyu stated he would like to attend the Olympics before 20. Now he is there. Without any knowledge of figure skating or interest in those flamboyant jump moves, I really really admire him. And I truly wish he could win the gold medal this year.


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