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People's Honor Award recipient Hanyu expresses gratitude, shares future plans

Figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu speaks to reporters after receiving the People's Honor Award on July 2, 2018, in Tokyo. (Mainichi)

TOKYO -- After receiving the People's Honor Award from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, double gold medalist figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu -- at age 23 the youngest person to receive the prize as an individual -- appeared before the media to share his gratitude and future goals in Tokyo on July 2. The following is a question-answer summary of his statements.

Question: What were your thoughts when you received the honor?

Yuzuru Hanyu: I could not have done it on my own. There were many supporters and I was lucky to be in such an environment to receive the prize as the representative. The award and everyone's hope gives me the courage to try harder.

Q: How did you feel when you found out that you were going to be a recipient?

YH: I am sincerely honored to receive such an award. I need to have the drive, skills, and the artistic quality to meet the expectations of the audience. I will keep trying to do my best.

Q: Do you have a message for people affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami (in 2011 in the Tohoku region)?

YH: Being in a position to be supported by people (in disaster areas), I hope to help them. I pray that people can come together through my skating performances.

Q: What are your thoughts on the next Olympic Games?

YH: Currently, I do not have any plans. I wish to improve my skating skills and to make progress so that I can achieve satisfactory performances.

Q: What do you ultimately want to accomplish in the world of sports?

YH: I hope to be in a position to support athletes that want to reach the highest level. There must be something that I can pass on from my experience of winning two gold medals at consecutive Olympic Games. I want to teach things that only I can do and only I have felt and learned.

Q: What are your future plans?

YH: I will put the utmost effort into getting ready for the next competition. My jumps and skills are improving due to recovering from injury. I wish to prepare for the competitions while taking my condition into consideration.

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