Why They Throw Winnie-the-Pooh at Hanyu
It's not because he thinks he's Christopher Robin. When he skates, Hanyu places a Winnie-the-Pooh tissue box cover on the rink's boards as a good-luck charm. The Pooh is positioned to have a good view of Hanyu's performance near coach Brian Orser. The tradition of throwing stuffed animals at Hanyu dates back to 2010 when fans noticed he was carrying around the tissue box.
Now, the Pooh Bear is expected and pretty much goes everywhere Hanyu goes. Hanyu's Pooh even has its own Twitter account. Hanyu is often seen playing with the toy, and he's even brought the tissue box to interviews, reports Time.
Fans love it and throw the stuffed animals onto the ice.
At the Olympics, he replaced the tissue box cover with a case that kind of looks like a cake. Time says Hanyu has the tissue box at the rink (and you may have caught a glimpse of it during Thursday's skate), but Olympic rules require him to keep it in the locker room. (The Los Angeles Times speculates that it has to do with Olympic sponsorship rules.)
The Pooh Bear toss is so expected Nathan Chen told the Chicago Tribune that when you compete against Hanyu, you have to be prepared for the storm of Poohs that will follow.