This is an interview with Zafer Akyol, a Turkish figure skating commentator. The interview was held in Turkish, we only translated the parts about Yuzuru Hanyu. It was conducted on March 31, right after the 2021 World Championship.
Zafer Akyol is talking about Sochi Olympics:
“Turkey didn’t send commentators to Sochi for the Olympics so we had to commentate it from Ankara (capital city of Turkey). When I first saw Yuzuru Hanyu, I was utterly amazed by him and thought that he came from another world. Actually, I have the same feelings/thoughts about Yuzuru as my thoughts about Bach, Mozart, Einstein, Victor Hugo and Dostoyevsky. I always tell that these people, they, must have come from a different planet. They are a different kind of people.“
His experience with Yuzuru in PyeongChang Olympics
“(…) PyeongChang Olympics was my goodbye and the last olympic that I attended (He retired in 2018 and joined 11 Olympics during his career). I am very happy that I found the opportunity to watch live Yuzuru Hanyu. Commentators have chances to see athletes closely. I congratulated Yuzuru Hanyu, he thanked me. When I talked to him, he made me felt like I was the Olympic champion, I was Yuzuru Hanyu not him. He was so humble. I was talking to such an elegant person. This impressed me a lot, believe me. He has high-quality personality. He makes me so happy. I remember I said this on the live broadcast of WC too, we should thank his parents and Japan. Thanks to them, we watch Yuzuru Hanyu. He shows us beauty and kindness, not just in terms of sport also in personality. He shows us true sportsmanship. This is a generation that gets angry when they lose. A generation that fights when they lose. We usually experience this in our daily life. But Yuzuru showed us the grace of losing (after WC). I’m impressed by this as well. That’s why I said “Look at the screen kids, you should be decent like him when you lose” in the medal ceremony of WC. He taught us an amazing lesson; he became a great example to the world. He was in 3rd place in WC, he was passed by a very young skater (Yuma Kagiyama) but still he was very kind to him, we saw how he was gentle to Kagiyama. I am so happy about this. I was very sincere when I said “Arigato Yuzuru Hanyu” while I was commentating on Word Championship. I wanted to thank him in his own language.”
“I want to make one more point about the Japanese skaters. I think Yuzuru Hanyu is someone who came from space in terms of his talents. Because he combines his talent with great artistry. We’ve seen many great Japanese skaters, for example Daisuke Takahashi, but we experience a different kind of artistic style with Yuzuru Hanyu. He conveys successful figure skating elements as art and happiness to us through his performances. Humanity should be grateful for Yuzuru Hanyu. We should appreciate him.”
“We are talking about someone above standards (better than most people). You said 4A right? 4A… It is literally hanging in the air. Pierre de Coubertin, the father of the modern Olympic games, had a motto “Faster, Higher, Stronger”, which athlete doing this right now? Yuzuru Hanyu. We must respect him. (…) Yuzuru said his body was not in the best condition because of 4A practices right? Axel jumps are already very difficult, probably Axel Paulsen is turning his grave right now (because Yuzuru is trying 4A) (laughs). Yuzuru is really pushing the limits and we must respect him. He deserved all the claps, we cannot criticise him. Lastly, I want to add that he is the most aesthetic athlete I’ve ever seen in my life.”
His comments during SP practices of World Championship
We, Yuzuru Hanyu Turkey Team, are very happy that we had an opportunity to talk about Yuzuru with a professional commentator. We would like to thanks Zafer Akyol for his time and for sharing his sincere thoughts about figure skating in general.