Chinese fans applaud Yuzuru Hanyu's spirited attempt at unprecedented quad axel

Everyone showed support for the "Ice Prince".

Jean Chien Tay | February 11, 2022, 02:02 PM

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Japanese figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu may have lost his throne in figure skating, but it appears he has won over the hearts of many Chinese fans in the Beijing Winter Olympics.

According to Kyodo News, a Chinese citizen cheered for Hanyu in Japanese repeatedly after he fell during his free skate performance.

A fan in attendance applauded Hanyu's attempt at challenging the quadruple axel, a move nobody has landed before in a competition. She said his spirit is "wonderful", adding that it was a pity for him to miss out on a medal.

The Washington Post gave a breakdown of why the quadruple axel was such a difficult move to pull off.

He had come agonisingly close to pulling it off in December 2021.

The hashtag "4A", which refers to the quadruple axel, was trending briefly on Chinese social media site Weibo.

A young fan was also carrying a Winnie the Pooh doll with her outside the competition venue.

Image via Jade Gao/AFP/Getty Images.

Hanyu has always had a Winnie the Pooh tissue box with him during competitions, but he is unable to use it in the Olympics due to a rule which bans such "mascots" in competition venues.

His fans would usually toss Winnie the Pooh dolls onto the rink after his performances in the past.

Spectators were told earlier not to throw flowers and gifts onto the rink due to Covid-19 concerns.

Hanyu said his attempt was something he will "cherish forever" and that he had given his all for this Olympics.

Support for Hanyu transcends politics

The support for the Japanese "Ice Prince" also appears to transcend politics.

In October 2021, one of the Chinese foreign ministry's spokesperson, Hua Chunying tweeted a message in Japanese to fans of Hanyu, saying they could pass on the task of cheering him on to the Chinese fans.

China's embassy in Japan referred to Hanyu as the "king" of figure skating on Feb. 8, while tweeting a photo of him flanked by another Japanese skater and a Chinese skater.

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Top image via Jade Gao/AFP/Getty Images & @mainichiphoto/Twitter