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What Happens to All Those Stuffed Animals Figure Skaters Get?

Figure skating fans weren't surprised to see what happened at the end of Yuzuru Hanyu's short program at the Olympics. After being out for the past couple of months due to an ankle injury, according to the Japan Times, fans of the current favorite to win gold applauded, yelled, and waved Japanese flags in support of his comeback.

What happened next, however, shocked casual viewers, as it started to rain down stuffed Winnie the Pooh bears from the stands. Why Winnie the Pooh? Since early in his career, Yuzuru has carried a special Winnie the Pooh tissue box holder that he takes with him to every competition as his good luck charm. But because of sponsorship issues, he can't bring it to the Games, so his fans are helping him out by tossing toys on the ice.

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Little girls in matching skating outfits ran out into the ice to pick each of the plushies up, while it was announced that Hanyu missed breaking his own world record score he set earlier this year but was currently in the lead, according to NBC. On top of that good news, he also became the new owner of dozens of flowers, gifts, and stuffed animals from his loyal fans. It'll be tough for him to bring all of them back home, but as it turns out, skaters actually don't have to.

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According to the Japan Times, Hanyu announced that he will be donating the gifts that get thrown onto the ice. "I will do the same as in all competitions: I give them to the local community," he said. "I will donate them to people of Gangneung or PyeongChang."

It's a figure skating tradition that doesn't look like it will end soon. Fans of skaters bring flowers, stuffed animals, art, and other gifts that they throw on the ice after their favorite skater's performance. Some even try to fit the theme of the skater's performance, like earlier this year when U.S. skater Sean Rabbit received not just one but twelve bottles of tequila after skating to "Tequila" for his short program.

Some skaters even partner with certain charities that are close to their hearts. 2014 U.S. Olympian Jason Brown donates his gifts to Ronald McDonald House Charities all over the world.

Skaters get the chance to go through their gifts to see which ones they want to keep. Note cards and specially designed gifts usually will be kept by the skater if they have the means to bring them all back home.

As the figure skating competition continues, expect a number of gifts to be thrown on the ice for big names like Evegenia Medevedva, Javier Fernandez, and Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir. Even though he might've already received enough to last a lifetime, viewers should still expect another rain of Pooh bears after Yuzuru's performance in the free skate competition as he defends his Olympic gold medal.

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