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Yuzuru Hanyu plans quadruple Axel for world championships, coach says

Yuzuru Hanyu

TOKYO, JAPAN - DECEMBER 20: Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan performs his routine in Men short program during day two of the 88th All Japan Figure Skating Championships at the Yoyogi National Gymnasium on December 20, 2019 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images)

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Yuzuru Hanyu plans to attempt a quadruple Axel, a jump nobody has landed in competition, at the world championships in March, according to a report quoting one of his coaches.

Hanyu competes at the Four Continents Championships in Seoul this week, live on NBC Sports. A full TV and live stream schedule is here.

"[The quad Axel] is getting better and better,” coach Ghislain Briand said, according to Kyodo News. “He’s not going to do it here [at Four Continents] because he’s planning to do it at the worlds. He’s trying to find the best program he can to win the worlds. The Four Continents is just a step to recapture the world title.”

Hanyu, a 25-year-old Japanese megastar and two-time Olympic champion, took second at his last two competitions -- to Nathan Chen at the Grand Prix Final and to Shoma Uno at the Japanese Championships in December. Neither Chen nor Uno is in the field at Four Continents.

Hanyu has often discussed eagerness to become the first skater to land a quad Axel in competition. It is the only quadruple jump yet to be mastered.

“There are very few people actually practicing even during training,” Hanyu said at the PyeongChang Olympics, according to The Associated Press. “I want to continue my challenge towards achieving my dream of successfully performing the quad Axel, even if I may not be the first person to do so.”

Hanyu went on to say in August 2018 that he hoped to land it in the 2018-19 season, but it didn’t happen.

“I promise that, while you are here in this world, I will do the Axel, and I will do it in competition, because otherwise I don’t think there’s much meaning to it,” Hanyu said, according to a translator, after taking silver behind Chen at last March’s worlds.

Hanyu fell on three quad Axel attempts during practice at December’s Grand Prix Final, according to figure skating expert Jackie Wong.

“I will try to land the quad Axel,” Hanyu said then. “Maybe some day, one day.”

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