Yuzuru Hanyu is the 12th PyeongChang Olympic medalist to withdraw from the world figure skating championships later this month, citing a right ankle injury that kept him from November until the Winter Games.
Hanyu needs “two weeks of rest and three months of rehabilitation” for ankle ligament damage and other injuries, according to the Japan Skating Federation via Agence France-Presse.
“As the result of medical diagnosis, I am not able to compete in the world championships, but I will focus on treatment and rehabilitation so that I can return to full health as soon as possible,” Hanyu said in a statement, according to AFP. “I will continue to do what I can, little by little.”
Hanyu’s withdrawal means that the men’s field in Milan in two weeks includes zero past Olympic or world champions. Hanyu claimed gold at the last two Olympics, becoming the first repeat men’s champion since Dick Button in 1948 and 1952, and at the 2014 and 2017 Worlds.
Top skaters often skip the world championships that are held one month after the Olympics for fatigue or off-ice opportunities.
Spain’s Javier Fernandez, the 2015 and 2016 World champion, said after taking bronze in PyeongChang that he would skip worlds.
Canadian Patrick Chan, the 2011, 2012 and 2013 World champion, withdrew from worlds and is widely reported to have retired.
Olympic silver medalist Shoma Uno from Japan and fourth- and fifth-place finishers Jin Boyang of China and American Nathan Chen are the medal favorites for worlds.
Other notable skaters missing worlds:
Adam Rippon (USA)
Maia Shibutani/Alex Shibutani (USA)
Meagan Duhamel/Eric Radford (CAN) — Retired
Tessa Virtue/Scott Moir (CAN) — Possibly retiring
Yekaterina Bobrova/Dmitry Soloviyev (RUS)
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