June 1, 2018
Tokyo- The Japanese government on Friday decided to give the People's Honor Award to two-time Olympic figure skating champion Yuzuru Hanyu.
Hanyu, 23, won the gold medal at two consecutive Olympics, in the 2014 Sochi Games in Russia and the 2018 Pyeongchang Games in South Korea, the first time in 66 years this has been achieved in the men's singles figure skating.
"Hanyu has made historic accomplishments," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a press conference, referring to the two straight Olympic wins. "He moved and inspired many people, and provided hope and courage to society."
The skater will be the first Winter Olympic athlete, and also the youngest individual, to receive the honor. The presentation ceremony will be held at the prime minister's office on July 2. The award, established in 1977, has been given to 25 individuals and one group.
In a statement released through the Japan Skating Federation on Friday, Hanyu said that he feels "extremely honored" by the government's decision to give him the award, while showing gratitude to "the great pioneers in figure skating."
He also expressed thanks for the encouragement he received from people who were afflicted by the March 2011 devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck the Tohoku region of northeastern Japan.
Hanyu, a native of Sendai, the capital of Miyagi Prefecture, part of Tohoku, was also affected by the disaster, which forced him to evacuate. Jiji Press
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