A Figure Skater’s Sanctuary

Everyone has their own sanctuary, and for many skaters, theirs is the arena. Looking at Yuri on Ice, specifically at the character Katsuki Yuuri, we see that he is no different. However, Yuuri is a special case since he only felt safe on the ice when he wasn’t under any pressure and could be himself, at least, in the beginning of the anime.


In the first episode, we find out that Yuuri ranked last in his first Grand Prix Final and later see him in the bathroom crying because he feels he let everyone down. Even though he was depressed over his results, he still practiced on his free time. The first thing he did after returning home was go to the arena. Most figure skaters go on the ice and practice the things they need to work on the most or practice their next routine for their SP or FS, but Yuuri went on the ice and skated to Viktor’s advanced program almost perfectly. It’s in this performance that we see a side of Yuuri that is obviously different from his Grand Prix Final results.


For Yuuri, skating without pressure allows him to be free and skate without inhibitions. The fact that he can do whatever he wants without worrying about results allows him to skate much better than he would with people watching and judging him. The safest place for Yuuri is an empty (or almost empty) arena where he can do as he pleases. He saw the competitive ice as something scary and uncomfortable since he associated it with his failures rather than as a refuge.

Even after Viktor became Yuuri’s coach, it is clear that Yuuri is most in his element when he skates to things that he is familiar with, those themes and elements that make him Yuuri. His sanctuary was turned upside down when Viktor announced that Yuuri was going to skate to eros, which is a theme suited for a much stronger personality, like Yurio’s.

A New Sanctuary

However, as the anime progressed, Yuuri slowly found something within himself as he practiced in his safe haven and on the competitive ice that allowed him to break the boundaries between the safe ice and the scary ice. It was this new self-discovery that helped him turn the competitive ice into a sanctuary; a place where he could finally skate freely with his newfound emotions surging through him, allowing him to be himself on the competitive ice for the first time.


<<Check out other figure skating related posts in the Archives or read my Review on Yuri on Ice>>

18 thoughts on “A Figure Skater’s Sanctuary

  1. I love how you elaborated on how Yuuri’s sanctuary gradually changed throughout the series due to outside influences and though his own development. That sort of progress is definitely inspirational and we all could stand to learn a thing or two from him.

    Great post!

    • sakuradaisuki says:

      Thank you! I loved watching the growth of all the characters, but especially Yuri. He reminds me so much of myself when it comes to skating! I also have someone I look up to and admire and wish I could skate like him. I also have a crush on him, haha.

  2. Well, they say in the anime “We call everything on ice love.” Oh my gosh. I’m freaking out. I love reading anything about Yuri on Ice. And thank you for writing about it this month even when we already finished our YOI blog tour. Indeed, competitive figure skating is still scary to Yuri, but thanks to his experiences with Victor and his other rivals, he has now found a stronger confidence that he didn’t have before and he can finally feel like the ice is his sanctuary. Good job. Cheers!

    • sakuradaisuki says:

      Thank you! I definitely wrote this post from a figure skater’s perspective, as I also have this problem. Haha. 🙂

  3. 🙂 Ahhhh Yuri 🙂 I to love how he finds Sanctuary in skating. I’m always so inspired by people who find such comfort in their art. I agree Yuri’s style of skating grows just like his experiences with people and there for his interpretation of sanctuary is redefined. Such a great show!

    • sakuradaisuki says:

      I found that this post came naturally to me since I also find comfort in skating. It’s the only thing that really helps me focus and release all the pent up negative energy. It’s so easy for me to relate to Yuuri, especially when it comes to Viktor. I’m so excited for the next season!

  4. Ah what a great post!! This was the perfect anime to choose for this month’s theme! I really loved how you wrote about how skating meant something different for Yuri as he went through the various stages in his life: his failure at the start of the series, his reclaiming of the ice after he meets Viktor and finally the peace he finds as he comes into himself as a skater. You did a great job with this!!

    • sakuradaisuki says:

      Thank you! 🙂 I really enjoy writing about things that are skating related and I found it was easy to relate to Yuuri. I loved watching the growth of all the characters, especially Yuuri. It’s really inspiring to watch his confidence grow through a sport he loves.

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