March 7 (UPI) — Reigning Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu has withdrawn from the World Figure Skating Championships due to injury.
Hanyu won the gold medal at the Pyeongchang Winter Games, skating on an injured ankle. He suffered ligament damage after a fall on a quadruple lutz during practice in November.
The Japanese Figure Skating Federation said Wednesday he would not compete in the Worlds competition.
Hanyu needs two weeks of rest and three full months of rehabilitation, the federation said.
“I have become unable to compete in the world championships, but I will thoroughly receive treatments and rehabilitation and will continue doing what I can do step by step, so that I will be able to come back as soon as possible,” Hanyu said in a statement.
He competed two full competitive programs at the Olympics with the injury in addition to an exhibition skate at the Olympic gala.
It is not uncommon for Olympians to skip out on World Championships, often due to exhaustion, but Hanyu will be one of many top skaters to be absent from this year’s competition.
Spain’s Javier Fernandez, Canada’s Patrick Chan, and Team USA’s own Adam Rippon will all be absent, as well. Fernandez and Chan are widely reported to be retiring.
Without Hanyu’s dynamic presence at Worlds, American Nathan Chen has a shot at redemption. After placing fifth overall at the Olympics, bouncing up from 17th place, Chen had a disappointing Olympic debut.
The World Figure Skating Championships run from March 19 to March 21 in Milan, Italy.