While Yuri!!! on Ice is its own little piece of art, it’s pretty clear that creator Mitsurō Kubo and the rest of the team behind the popular anime were huge figure skating nerds. Many characters have a little (or, in some cases, a lot) of inspiration from real life figure skaters!
Superstar retired Russian skater? Check. Similar mannerisms? Check. Events of his life being part of the basis for the show? Check. (See the next entry for more deets on that.) Kubo has also said Victor’s appearance is heavily inspired by actor John Cameron Mitchell, best known for creating and playing in Hedwig and the Angry Inch.
Yuzuru Hanyu is another one of the world's best ice skaters, having made history by setting 12 world records in the sport. And he hasn’t been shy about how much he’s inspired by and idolizes Plushenko, recreating his choreography when he was younger. Plus if this doesn’t convince you he’s an inspiration for Yuuri, IDK what will.
A Russian/Korean/Chinese skater, Ge not only is an amazing competitive skater, he also choreographers for other skaters when he isn’t on the ice. While he didn’t necessarily inspire Yuri directly, his shenanigans with Yuzuru Hanyu and Denis Ten at the Grand Prix Banquet definitely inspired the best scene in the show.
Not only is this talented Swiss athlete a skater (well known for his spins, Lambiel has the rare skill of being able to spin both directions), choreographer, and coach, he also designs his own outfits, speaks multiple languages fluently, and is one of the actual figure skaters to have a cameo in Yuri!!! on Ice, doing his own voice.
While he may not be quite as much as Chris, this charming cat dad is a great person to be modeled after!
The late, great Denis Ten was an amazing skater for Kazakhstan, becoming the first skater to make podium and the first to win an international skating competition from the country. He was also a talented photographer in addition to his skating skills, and was always particularly warm to the Yuri!!! on Ice community, regularly joking about his connection to Otabek Altin. Rest in power, Denis!
While there isn’t such a clear cut inspiration for Phichit, Yuuri’s best friend from Thailand, Martinez may be a candidate. He is the first ice skater from Southeast Asia (the Philippines, specifically) and from any tropical country, to qualify for the Winter Olympics.