Feb. 12 (UPI) -- Japanese figure skating star Yuzuru Hanyu hit the practice rink at the Gangneung Ice Arena in South Korea for the first time Monday ahead of his gold medal defense at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.
Hanyu, who has been out of competition since injuring a right ankle ligament in practice last November, is aiming to become the first man in 66 years to go back-to-back as Olympic champion in the sport.
After arriving in South Korea from his training base in Toronto the previous day, Hanyu used just 15 minutes of his 40-minute allocation on the practice ice to run through parts of his routine.
He successfully landed a triple axel but avoided attempting any of the quad jumps for which he is renowned.
Hanyu suffered the ankle injury while attempting a quad lutz in practice for the NHK Trophy and has since dropped the jump from his routine. He has so far not let on about which quad jumps he will include in his routine in Pyeongchang, saying he would make a decision after the practice session.
Hanyu briefly greeted reporters as he exited the ice, thanking them for attending the session and asking them to keep any questions for his press conference the following day.
Coach Brian Orser earlier said the two-time and reigning world champion will be "100 percent" ready to defend his Olympic crown when he takes to the ice Friday for the short program.
If he is to become the first back-to-back men's champion since Dick Button of the United States in 1948 and 1952, he will have to overcome a tough field, including compatriot Shoma Uno and high-flying American Nathan Chen.