Figure skating: Ambitious Hanyu fancies audacious quintuple jump

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese Yuzuru Hanyu, the first man in 66 years to win back-to-back Olympic figure skating gold medals, said on Tuesday he would like to successfully land a quintuple jump and break the five-spin barrier.

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Hanyu, who took gold in men’s singles competition in the just-ended Pyeongchang Olympics, said he still had significant pain in his injured ankle, suggesting any such achievement, with half a turn more than a quadruple axel, will come later than sooner.

“Scientific research has shown that humans will likely be capable of up to a quintuple jump. I would like to give it a shot if possible, although a quintuple axel could be out of reach,” Hanyu told a news conference in Tokyo.

An extra half-turn in the air is needed for a quintuple axel on top of the five already needed for any successful quintuple jump.

“Since my childhood, I have been told to go for a quintuple jump. So, I feel like giving it a try.”

After hurting his right ankle in training last November, Hanyu was unable to practice properly before the Olympics and won his second gold - in his first competition since October - while on painkillers.

Shortly after topping the podium in the Winter Olympics, the 23-year-old Hanyu said he aims to successfully land a quadruple axel, a half-turn more than other quadruple jumps.

“To tell you the truth, the pain has reduced only 20 to 30 percent from the time it really hurt,” he said.

“But, in the end, with help from painkillers, I have managed to win the gold medal. I want to go on skating while being grateful to my support members who helped cut the pain by 20, 30 percent.”

Asked what he would like to eat to his heart’s content if he were not competing at figure skating, Hanyu said hamburgers and potato chips are already part of his diet.

“No matter how much I eat, I don’t put on weight. So, perhaps, I am having a different lifestyle from other athletes,” he said.

“I go to McDonald’s. I very much like carbonated soft drinks, with which I quite often eat potato chips.”

Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty