What some of the skaters had to say backstage at the 2022 Olympic Winter Games in Beijing, China.
Nathan Chen (USA) on hearing Yuzuru Hanyu’s short program score
When I heard that, I thought, ‘Stick to my game plan, nothing changes. Focus on what I can do and try to do the best that I can.’ Scores, competitors, all this stuff is out of my control.
Donovan Carrillo (Mexico)
Besides doing my best short program of the season, my favourite part was the performance. I didn’t want it to end. I wanted to keep skating and living the Olympic dream.
Jun-Hwan Cha (Republic of Korea)
I hesitated before the competition, worrying about the results. My goal was to skate clean and even have a mistake and fight through to the end. And I did. I enjoyed the moment.
Xinyu Liu (China)
We suffered emotional breakdowns so many times, but we did not give up. We have encouraged each other. Gradually, we have believed that Chinese skaters can perform as well as Western skaters in ice dance.
Jason Brown (USA)
I think our sport is such a beautiful combination. It’s unbelievable to see the technicians pushing the sport technically. I’m blown away and think so highly of them and I respect them so much.
Guillaume Cizeron (France)
For me, ice dance has that peculiarity that it really is on the edge of being a sport and being an art; it just lies perfectly in between. The sport thanks all these amazing skaters who are evolving. It is incredible to watch the skills of every skater at this event.
Nikolaj Majorov (Sweden)
It was just such a joy to skate. It’s been a dream since a long time back. I remember myself drawing the Olympic rings, and to now actually skate with them, it just feels awesome.
Madeline Schizas (Canada)
It didn’t go the way I wanted it to, but we all have events that are disappointing. This was just one of them for me.
Alexei Bychenko (Israel) on if he plans to retire at the end of this season
There are a lot of factors to consider. I’m not sure what to do afterwards, so I do this (figure skating).
Kailani Craine (Australia) on her long program
It wasn’t my night tonight, but unfortunately not every night can be your night.
Matteo Guarise (Italy)
This sport is everything. It’s not only about the points and the ranking. It’s about the relationships; it’s about what you give to the people and what people give to you.
Boyang Jin (China) on his reaction at the end of the short program
I have never cried in my routine training, but upon finishing this time, I couldn’t help crying. It was a sense of release.
Kaori Sakamoto (Japan)
I think this Olympics shortened my life by about 10 years but I still have about 90 years left to live.
Brendan Kerry (Australia) on his long program
Everybody is their own worst critic, but to come out and do the best free skate I’ve ever done at the Olympics — I’m ecstatic! It was a personal best.
Brandon Frazier (USA)
It’s crazy, it’s nuts. Alexa and I weren’t even sure we would try out and now here we are at the Olympic Games. It is an absolute dream come true.`
Yuma Kagiyama (Japan)
With this silver medal I feel like I have done something good for my parents.
Anastasiia Gubanova (Georgia)
It meant so much for me to be here, not only for me but also for my mom who invested so much in me and made me the person I’ve become.
Kévin Aymoz (France)
I’m so proud of me for who I am, for the work I did, and for everything. I feel super good. I have many emotions. Right now I’m just thinking it’s 20 years of work, like figure skating eats almost all my life. I have no memories of my life before skating.
Deniss Vasiljevs (Latvia)
My mom is complaining about the Salchow I missed. My dad is probably complaining about my hair.
The influence of Yuzuru Hanyu:
Being able to go to an Olympics with Yuzu … He has done so much for the sport and progressed the sport in ways I could never have imagined. It has really been an honor to skate with, in my opinion, the greatest skater ever.
A few years back, I did not think a quad flip was possible so it is not out of proportion to think that the quad Axel can happen. That attempt Yuzuru did was extraordinarily close, and I thought he was going to hit it. I think it will be a short time.
It has been amazing to be an athlete at the same time as him and see how he has pushed the sport forward, even after so many years of dominating the field. That is really special to see, and I am really impressed with the way he was able to carry himself and continue to try and push that element.
Yuzuru has been driving and leading Japanese figure skating for years. I don’t have that responsibility; I don’t have the pressure from so many people as Yuzuru has. I cannot do that. This is something that only he can do. He has been at the top of everybody for many years, which is amazing. And his spirit to keep staying at the top is something that I cannot emulate.
In the Olympic Games, what matters is not what place you get, but the effort to outdo yourself and to perform better and better. Yuzuru chose to participate in his third Olympic Games at the age of 27. He aimed higher and tried to perform the quad Axel. This is something extraordinary that no one can yet achieve. It shows the spirit of sportsmanship and the Olympic Games.”
He wanted to go down in history not as a three- time Olympic champion, but as a figure skater that opened the window into the future of figure skating. The experiment failed, but this was expected.