The reigning 2018 Olympic men's figure skating champion continued to impress on the ice during the exhibition gala on Saturday, Feb. 24. Yuzuru Hanyu's figure skating exhibition gala routine was so gorgeous and emotional. The two-time gold medalist of Japan performed his popular "The Swan" exhibition routine, which he also performed at the 2017 World Championships. Hanyu skated beautifully to "Notte Stellata" by Il Volo, an Italian operatic trio. If you had any doubt about Hanyu in any way, this performance will erase it all, because this performance shows that the skater is super talented.
Hanyu wore a black and white outfit as he glided as he skated across the ice to the melodic piano song. There are no jumps within the first few minutes, but he does a few impressive spins. That's OK, because Hanyu's artistry is so incredible that you hardly notice the fact that he's not as airborne as he was during the individual men's competition, where he flawlessly landed his jumps. The routine put the spotlight on Hanyu's gracefulness as a masterful performer and it doesn't disappoint. And when he does make his smooth spinning jumps, the performance is even more magical.
You can watch Hanyu's gorgeous exhibition routine in the video below.
Earlier this week, he became the first male figure skater to win back-to-back figure skating gold medals— Hanyu was also the 2014 individual male champion at the Sochi Olympics. In PyeongChang, Hanyu's fans showered him with Winnie the Pooh stuffed bears (it's his mascot and good luck charm) as he won the 2018 Olympic gold medal for individual men's figure skating. So he definitely has a loyal legion of fan support cheering him on.
And his exhibition gala performance had fans on Twitter crowning Hanyu as the Olympic champion all over again.
Many fans expressed just how emotional Hanyu's routine made them. There were lots of tears.
Several fans on Twitter were also sad about the fact that "The Swan" could possibly be Hanyu's final exhibition skating routine at the Olympic games.
After his performance, Hanyu joined all of the Olympic figure skaters for the grand finale of the gala, in which they skated to "This Is Me" by Keala Settle from the movie The Greatest Showman. Tonally, it was a different song for Hanyu, but he made several crowd pleasing moves during the group effort and he was lifted up during the group selfie at the end.
Hanyu doesn't plan on staying in the spotlight, though. He recently told the Japan Times that he doesn't plan on being Japan's flag bearer for the closing ceremony on Sunday, Feb. 25. "I have no plan to do that, I am just thinking of quietly enjoying myself," he told the publication. “I just want to enjoy it as an athlete and member of the Japanese delegation as normal.”
Whether or not he will continue competing is also a big question mark. The 2018 World Championships are in Milan, Italy on March 19, but Hanyu told Japan Today that he's not sure he'll compete due to his ankle injury from November 2017. He had been taking pain medication throughout the Olympics, according to Japan Today. He told the publication:
"With the state of my ankle at the front of my mind, I want to decide various things....The injured part is something that can't be fixed by surgery, so while I still don't know anything for sure, I want to make healing it a priority."
Whether or not Hanyu continues skating, the Japanese athlete has definitely showed his graceful dominance over men's figure skating and his performances will not be forgotten.