After one Japanese figure skater in particular put on an absolutely spectacular performance during the men's short program, TV audiences witnessed what may have seemed like a strange sight. Suddenly, Winnie the Poohs rained down on Yuzuru Hanyu after he finished his routine. There were so many that they had to be gathered off the ice by numerous people. The commentators dubbed it "Winnie the Pooh chaos." I don't think a soul watching could help but wonder what the deal is with Pooh and Hanyu.
As it turns out, the Sochi gold medalist and the children's book character go way back. According to NBC affiliate KYMA, Hanyu has toted around a Pooh-themed tissue box since 2010. On top of that, he had been seen nonchalantly carrying around a Pooh stuffed animal during the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. Before entering the rink, KYMA noticed that he also props Pooh up next to his coach so the bear can see him skate. So, yes, the guy really likes Pooh. In fact, Hanyu's Pooh has its own Twitter account, as KYMA noted.
The account has over 3,000 followers and is sure to gain lots more after Pooh bears rained down onto the ice like a full-on blizzard. "Best buddy to one of the World's greatest skaters!" the account bio reads. It's pretty dang cute.
Sadly, though, it doesn't look like Hanyu's Pooh account has gotten much love lately as it hasn't been active since Jan. 2, 2016. In October 2015, though, it looks like the person in charge of the account wanted to make one thing clear to people concerned about the Pooh tissue box's cleanliness: "Clean tissue comes from my box (no jokes ). Soiled tissue goes inside me NEXT to box. & I get drycleaned. It's all good!" In some of the account's earlier tweets, the hashtag "ImHanyusPoohAndIDontStink" was even used.
If you scroll through the Hanyu's Pooh Twitter account, you'll find some real gems. They're from years ago at this point, but after Thursday night's performance in PyeongChang, they might as well be relevant again.
And then there was the zombie Pooh that Hanyu's Pooh thought needed a hug. Sure, this Pooh needs a hug, but he also looks terrifying. So he probably didn't get that hug.
Pooh aside, though, Hanyu's routine won him an astounding 111.68 points from the judges' panel, putting him well ahead of the rest of the field going into the free skate. I mean, there's a reason fans were so eager to shower him in gifts once his routine ended.
“It reminds me of when Michael Jackson was in his heyday, or meeting the Pope,” popular ice skating blogger Jackie Wong told The New York Times. “People see Hanyu for the first time and they become hysterical or they’re moved to tears. It’s like their lives are complete.”
On top of that, The Washington Post referred to the 23-year-old as an icon, instilling what a successful career he's had. In 2014 in Sochi, he won Japan's only gold medal during those Winter Games. In fact, Japan hadn't won a gold in the Winter Games since 2006, the Post reported. He was a mere 19-years-old in Sochi.
Midori Ito, another Japanese figure skater and a 1992 Olympic silver medalist, spoke with the Times about Hanyu, and, of course, mentioned Pooh. "He’s so fierce on the ice, but in the kiss and cry he’s got his Pooh," she said. "That gap is what makes him attractive."
In other words, his good luck charm makes fan love him even more. So, if you see someone show up to a figure skating competition in Winnie the Pooh ears, you know the skater they're rooting for.