Yuzuru Hanyu, the reigning Olympic and world figure skating champion, will miss his national championships this week after suffering ankle and knee injuries this fall, according to Japanese media citing the Japan Skating Federation.
Hanyu can (and very likely will) be named to Japan’s three-man Olympic team despite missing nationals.
Hanyu has reportedly been off the ice for more than one month since a Nov. 9 practice fall.
“It is an important selection competition, and the Olympics are a big goal, so with that in mind we would like to think things through together,” Japan Skating Federation director Yoshiko Kobayashi said last week, according to Kyodo News.
Hanyu, who turned 23 on Dec. 7, fell on a quadruple Lutz attempted and then favored his right ankle in a Nov. 9 practice at a Grand Prix event (video here).
He skated the run-through for his free skate, although he elected not to do any more jumps.
“I have been told by the doctor that I need 10 days of complete rest,” Hanyu said in a statement on Nov. 12, according to Kyodo. “Following that, it will take three to four weeks to return and get back to where I was.”
Hanyu and world silver medalist Shoma Uno are favored to lead Japan’s Olympic men’s figure skating team. The third spot is likely to go to Takahito Mura or Keiji Tanaka.
Hanyu competed twice this season.
He posted a world-record short program score in his debut at a small September event in Canada, but struggled to fifth place in the free skate and finished second overall behind two-time world champion Javier Fernandez of Spain.
He then finished second to U.S. champion Nathan Chen at the first Grand Prix event of the season in Moscow in October.
Chen is the only undefeated male singles skater this season.
Hanyu won four straight national titles before missing last season’s event with the flu.
He was still named to Japan’s team for worlds, where he won his second title in four years.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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