Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu will not pursue his fifth straight national championship, pulling out of this week’s event due to the flu, according to Japanese media.
“I cannot apologize enough for being a bother and causing concern,” Hanyu said in a statement, according to Kyodo News, which added Hanyu came down with the flu last week. “I will focus on resting and treatment so I can come back fully fit.”
Hanyu, 22, won his first national title in 2012, days after turning 18 years old. He since became the first Japanese man to win an Olympic title, claimed a world title and four straight Grand Prix Final titles while breaking the records for highest-scoring short and long programs.
Hanyu can and should still be named to Japan’s three-man team for the Helsinki World Championships in late March despite missing the national championships.
In his absence, the Japanese favorite is Shoma Uno, runner-up to Hanyu the last two years.Follow @nzaccardi