Former Training Buddies Yuzuru Hanyu and Javier Fernandez Reunited at Fantasy on Ice Tour

Published 05/27/2022, 9:30 AM EDT

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Yuzuru Hanyu is one of the greatest figure skaters of all time. He is the only skater to defend his Olympic title, set 19 world records, and achieve the Super Slam. Of course, he has seen many rivalries in his over-a-decade-long career.

Before Nathan Chen turned senior, Hanyu’s biggest competitor was his now-retired training partner, Spain’s Javier Fernandez. And this month, the ‘Fantasy on Ice’ ice shows will finally reunite the two in Japan.


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Yuzuru Hanyu and Javier Fernandez: former rivals and close friends

Hanyu and Fernandez trained under the same coaches, Brian Orser and Tracy Wilson, at the Toronto Cricket Club in Canada. Back when Fernandez was competing, the two went head to head in many competitions.

The two kept each other on their toes. Right after Hanyu, Fernandez was the second skater to break the 100, 200, and 300-point barriers in the short program, free skate, and combined total scores. Hanyu even lost the 2016 world title to the Spaniard. It’s clear the two skaters respected each other as competitors, often talking about how they pushed each other to improve.


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Fernandez announced his intent to retire in 2018 after he bagged the bronze medal in Pyeongchang. At the same Olympic Games, Hanyu secured his historic second gold. When he broke the news of his retirement to Hanyu at the medal ceremony, the champion shed some tears at the loss of his rinkmate.

A bittersweet reunion?

The two have talked about each other in countless interviews. Hanyu even mentioned his former competitor in a press conference at the 2019 Grand Prix Final. Fernandez retired after the 2019 European Championships. The last time the two were on the ice together was in the off-season ice shows following his retirement in 2019.

Recently, there was a bit of friction between Javier and Yuzuru Hanyu fans. The retired world champion commentated for Spanish Eurosport during the Beijing Olympics. During the short program, Hanyu fell on his first planned quadruple, later attributing the error to a hole in the ice.


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While Fernandez claimed that it was a common occurrence, his use of the word “excuse” set the Hanyu fans on fire. He later posted a public explanation and apology for his words on Instagram, which soothed many fans, but not all.


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We are all looking forward to how the two skaters will interact during the ice shows where they’ll perform together in Hanyu’s home country.

Yuzuru Hanyu Is Finally Making Figure Skating Comeback After Beijing Olympics – Here’s Everything You Need to Know


Written by:

Mansi Jain


One take at a time

Mansi Jain is a US Sports author for EssentiallySports. She has a Bachelor's degree in Multimedia and Mass Communication from the University of Delhi and has also previously interned for HT Media. She is always one mention of Yuzuru Hanyu away from delivering an hour-long speech about the athlete's legacy.
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Edited by:

Simar Singh Wadhwa