Annice Lyn/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images

Culture

Japan’s “Ice Prince” Yuzuru Hanyu Retires From Competition

The "Ice Prince" bows out.

The world of competitive figure skating was rocked today, as legendary Japanese skater Yuzuru Hanyu — also known as the Ice Prince — announced his retirement from competing in the sport.

WANG ZHAO/AFP/Getty Images

Hanyu, only 27, has already broken more than two dozen world records and won two Olympic gold medals, all before entering his Saturn return.

Xinhua News Agency/Xinhua News Agency/Getty Images

Hanyu has been competing in the Olympics since he was 19, when he became the youngest men’s champion since 1948 and the first Asian man to win the gold medal for figure skating in Sochi — catapulting him to massive fame and placing him in the role of unlikely diplomat between China and Japan.

VCG/Visual China Group/Getty Images

The retirement comes after Hanyu injured his ankle during practice for this year’s Olympic games. He also fell while trying to complete the quadruple triple axel, but still came in fourth place. Afterwards, he said his ankle hurt so badly he “definitely” would have considered forfeiting if it were “any other competition.” The drive!

VCG/Visual China Group/Getty Images

What else is there left to do? A quadruple axel, as it turns out, which Hanyu attempted at the 2022 Olympics, but unsuccessfully landed. The elusive move has yet to be completed in competition, and Hanyu has vowed to continue trying.

Xinhua News Agency/Xinhua News Agency/Getty Images

Even though he won’t be competing, he says he will still continue his career as a professional athlete, participating in ice shows. (Assuming that means he can keep his sponsorships. Ice skating is an expensive sports...get that gear!)

Matthew Stockman/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images

“This never ends,” Hanyu said at a press conference in Tokyo on Tuesday. “I’m not retiring or anything. I’m going to be better and I will work hard in my performances in a way that will make you think I am worth watching.”

Jonathan Moscrop/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images

“I will be extremely sad if people don’t want to watch me anymore, but even then, I will try my best from now on so that people feel like there’s a reason to still watch my skating,” Hanyu said. “I want to work even harder on the quadruple axel, and be able to successfully land it in front of all of you.”

STR/AFP/Getty Images

Not only is Hanyu coming away with gold medals, record-breaking stats, and the improved relations of the Eastern Hemisphere on his hands, he also has enough Winnie the Pooh stuffed animals to last a lifetime. In lieu of flowers, his supporters would throw hundreds of stuffed Pooh bears onto the ice for him, after he was seen sporting a Winnie the Pooh tissue box in 2010.

Atsushi Tomura - International Skating Union/International Skating Union/Getty Images