SENDAI -- After winning the gold medal in men's figure skating at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics and being the first to achieve consecutive Olympic gold in the sport in 66 years, 23-year-old Yuzuru Hanyu appeared before the media at the Sendai Municipal Government office following his hometown victory parade here on April 22. The following is a question-answer summary of his statements.
Question: How did you feel going into the parade? What are your impressions after finishing the victory procession?
Yuzuru Hanyu: I could hardly wait for the parade. I spent the last few days extremely excited. After finishing the procession without a hitch, I truly feel that I have returned home to Sendai. I was reminded once again of the importance of receiving this medal.
Q: How did it feel to hear the cheers of your hometown fans?
YH: I knew through the news and articles that everyone had been cheering for me here even when I was in Pyeongchang. The strength of every single fan supported me and motivated me to succeed. Even though the city is still working on recovery efforts (since the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami), I am sincerely honored that such a large-scale parade was held for me. I would like to also do my best in making efforts toward the recovery of my hometown.
Q: What kind of cheers did you hear and what did you see during the parade?
YH: The warm and kind looks in everyone's eyes and the cries of "congratulations" will forever be engraved in my heart and my memories.
Q: Is there a message you have for children who are training hard to become like you?
YH: The journey to make your dreams come true can be rough at times, but it is also filled with enjoyment and happiness as well. But all of that is like the passing seconds -- every moment is different and you only experience it once. So I would like them to treasure every moment of their journey.
Q: Why did you strike your signature pose from the start of your performance of the song "Seimei" during the parade?
YH: There were cheering fans with "strike your pose!" written on them, so I did. I posed hoping to reach those people who cheered me on even from so far away.
Q: Do you have a message for fans that have traveled a long way from other parts of Japan and from abroad?
YH: While I know that Sendai is an urban city, it exists side by side with patches of nature. I would like them to definitely experience the warmth and fresh air that can only be felt here in Sendai. While still in the midst of reconstruction, I would like them to see how this city has been built anew.