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About The Asian reporter. (Portland, Or.) 1991-current | View Entire Issue (Aug. 1, 2022)
Page 12 n THE ASIAN REPORTER
August 1, 2022
Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu stepping away from competitive skating
By Koji Ueda
The Associated Press
OKYO — Two-time Olympic
champion Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan
is stepping away from competitive
figure skating, the athlete said last month.
Hanyu seemed to leave the door open to
a possible return of some sort. However,
most of his focus seemed to be on skating
professionally in exhibitions.
“This never ends,” Hanyu said. “I’m not
retiring or anything. I’m going to be better
and I will work hard in my performances in
a way that will make you think I am worth
“I don’t like the word ‘retirement’ so I
don’t really want to use it.”
Hanyu won back-to-back gold medals at
the 2014 Sochi Games and the 2018
PyeongChang Olympics. But he finished
fourth in Beijing five months ago and had
been noncommittal until a recent press
conference at a Tokyo hotel.
“I’m not going to participate in
competitions from now on,” he said. “Of all
the things I’ve done so far, I think I’ve
gotten what I should have in terms of
results from competitions. I also feel that I
will no longer seek these kind of
evaluations.” The 27-year-old Japanese
skater is also a two-time world champion,
and a four-time Grand Prix Final
champion. But he failed in an attempt in
Beijing to become the first to land a quad
axel in competition.
He indicated he could continue to try to
land the quad axel.
“I don’t feel particularly sad,” Hanyu
said. “I would like to do my best from here
on out and I think that there will be more
opportunities to see my skating in various
ways — not just in the limited space of
Hanyu has little left to prove. He has
been the world’s most watched skater for a
decade and the sport’s standard for
excellence. He was the first Asian man to
win gold in Olympic figure skating.
His road to Beijing was fraught with
SKATING STRATEGY. Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan
performs during a figure skating gala at the 2022
Winter Olympics, on February 20, 2022, in Beijing.
Two-time Olympic champion Hanyu is stepping away
from competitive figure skating. (AP Photo/David J.
injury. Hanyu acknowledged having a
difficult time finding the same motivation
for Beijing that carried him to his two
Olympic gold medals.
Ever since 2010, when he was seen
toting a box of tissues with Winnie the
Pooh on it, his legion of supporters have
showered the ice with hundreds of stuffed
Pooh bears rather than traditional flowers
whenever he competes.
They nearly covered the ice in a blanket
of yellow when Hanyu triumphed at the
There were only a few thousand fans
allowed inside the tightly controlled
Olympic venue in Beijing to watch Hanyu,
and they were prohibited from throwing
anything on the ice, a safeguard imposed
by organizers to minimize the potential
spread of COVID-19. Instead, they massed
outside the gate of the arena, hundreds of
them standing in the cold February sun,
waiting with their Poohs for Hanyu’s bus
to drive by and bid him farewell.
Hall of Famers in push for baseball in cricket-mad region
BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — Two Hall
of Fame baseball players are leading a
push to bring the sport that made them
famous to India, Pakistan, and the Middle
East. Former New York Yankees pitcher
Mariano Rivera and ex-Cincinnati Reds
shortstop Barry Larkin are the familiar
faces behind the United International
Baseball League (UIBL). The UIBL plans
to bring professional baseball to an area of
the world more associated with another
bat-on-ball sport — cricket.
The league will begin with an inaugural
showcase tournament in Dubai, United
Arab Emirates (UAE) in February next
year. Further plans for the location of teams
and their personnel are still in the works.
The League said in a statement that the
Indian subcontinent and the Middle East
region are home to two billion people “and
more than 900 million of those people are
fans of cricket.”
“While baseball exists in small pockets
across south Asia and the Gulf … there is
an absence of professional leagues and a
void of deep, grassroots player develop-
ment expertise and infrastructure,” the
statement added. “The UIBL team is
looking to change that.”
The Panama-born Rivera spent his
entire career with the Yankees over 19
seasons from 1995 to 2013, primarily as a
relief pitcher and closer. He made 13
All-Star Game appearances, won five
World Series, is MLB’s all-time leader in
saves with 652, and was inducted into the
Baseball Hall of Fame in 2019.
“I’m very grateful to be a part of the
UIBL’s exciting mission to inspire two
billion new fans to fall in love with
baseball,” Rivera said. “We believe there is
an amazing opportunity to educate,
inspire, and entertain those cricket fans,
and open their hearts to an exciting and
culturally relevant form of baseball.”
The Cincinnati-born Larkin was a ca-
reer-long Reds player in his hometown. He
won an MVP award, a World Series title,
was selected to 12 All-Star teams, and was
inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2012.
Larkin said teaching prospective
baseball talent the basics was a strong
part of the new league’s mission.
“We truly believe that player develop-
ment has to start at the grassroots level,”
Larkin said. “I’ve spent the last 20 years of
my life focused on helping young people
learn the fundamentals of our great game,
as well as the fundamentals of great
leadership. That’s the beauty of baseball
— when you teach it the right way with the
right conviction, you can help young people
succeed on and off the field.”
The new league said that while
baseball’s fan base has an average age of
57 years old, cricket fans are among the
world’s youngest sports fans, with an
average age of 34. Nowhere is cricket more
popular than in India and Pakistan.
The UIBL said it has plans to “innovate
and evolve” baseball “to help capture and
engage this younger, more diverse
demographic.” Without going into specific
details, it also said the league will
“introduce rule changes, create original
game-play concepts, and bring to life a
more immersive viewing experience for
fans at the stadium and home.”
The inaugural showcase tournament to
be played solely in Dubai next February
will include four franchises representing
different parts of the world. The league
said franchises, managers, coaches, and
rosters will be announced at a later date.
Baseball will have to compete for
attention with a new franchise Twenty20
cricket league launching around the same
time in the UAE, based on the model of the
lucrative Indian Premier League.
Star cricketers from around the world
are likely to join the six-team Interna-
tional League T20. The league has links to
India, where cricket’s shortest and most
exciting format took off in 2008 when the
IPL was formed. The IPL’s five-year broad-
casting rights are now worth $6+ billion.
a f r ee
ot ect s you
agai nst 19.
If you a re 65 or older:
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