World Champion Uno Shoma Makes Shocking Confession After China Cup | FRIDAY DIGITAL

World Champion Uno Shoma Makes Shocking Confession After China Cup

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The fourth round of the Figure Skating Grand Prix (GP) series, the China Cup, which concluded on November 12, was the first competition of the season for two-time World Champion Shoma Uno (25, Toyota Motor Corp.).

Smiles after the exhibition at the GP Series China

Uno was in first place in the short program (SP), but a quadruple jump error in the FS put him in second place, ahead of newcomer Adam Chao Yim Fa (22, FRA), and his 10th GP win was not to be.

“In both SP and FS, I tried to do more than just jump. I could have shown more expression, more strength and speed in my moves, but I have not felt that I have tried to do both (technical and expressive) in a long time. It was a competition that convinced me that the program itself will improve from here. I always gradually lose my form throughout the season, so if I can continue like this, I think I can have a relatively good season.”


Last season, Uno won all his races, including the GP Final, which he won for the first time. Uno spoke just after the World Championships, the season-closing event, of his transformation into a skater who has grown up a whole new level. In the free skate, he performed a highly difficult composition with four types of quadruple jumps, five times in total, but he also confided that the thought of expression had been nagging at his heart for a long time.

“What I’m looking for is something that I can look back on my performance and feel good about it,” he said. “I have improved my jumps in the past two years, but as a skater, I don’t think I’m good enough. I have been putting my expressions as a bridge between jumps, as a second priority. I would like to add some more work to my expression,” 


Uno cited Daisuke Takahashi (37), whom he has admired since childhood, and Stéphane Rambière (38), a former world champion whom he looks up to for guidance, as he resolved to pursue “the kind of skating that makes you want to start dancing, just by watching it.”

Off-season, he played the role of Luffy in “One Piece on Ice,” an ice show based on the popular manga. Even though he delayed the start of his own season, he was trying to get a chance to become “Shin Uno Shoma”.

“Until last season, I had been practicing jumps repeatedly, as if I had to immerse myself in my body, and skate until I could jump more easily. This year, I have practiced the “connection” part, as if it could affect my jumps.”

In SP, he got the highest score in the world this season.

In SP, which was set to music from an American sci-fi movie “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” a part of it was visible. With a gentle piano melody, his upper body was majestic, and his footsteps were intricate. All three spins, which he often missed last season, were marked Level 4, the highest difficulty.

And yet, his jumps, the source of his points, were also seamless. He also performed a quadruple toe loop, a triple toe loop, and a triple Axel (a triple and a half jump) without a hitch, to score 105.25 points, the highest score in the world this season.


After his performance, his expression was cool, but he said, “I was able to skate with the feeling that I wanted to express myself with emotion through the program, rather than through jumps. I didn’t have speed at all, but I didn’t feel like it was only about jumps, but I showed that I wanted to perform properly in SP. I want to praise myself for that.”

In his final free skate “Timelapse” the next day, he fell on his first quadruple loop, and his next quadruple flip went into double rotation. While Xiao Yim Hwa, who skated one run earlier, scored 207.17 points, he made a series of irreparable mistakes early on. However, Uno’s true spirit was to come from there. He then performed a brilliant triple Axel to get back on track, and then he performed a quadruple and triple toe loop, which had been his mainstay until last season, in the latter half of his performance.


“I think it was a very good performance,” he said with a smile. “I think the scores and results were not what you expected, but that is because I am not good enough, so I will continue to work hard. As for the performance, it was really great. In the past few years, I have not had such a chance to put so much feeling into other parts of my performance, besides jumps. I found some areas where my posture was still too high, or where I wanted to be faster. I am satisfied with it.”

The first step in a new challenge has been fruitful.

However, we can see that the lack of excessive fixation on results is also due to the decline in motivation for competitions that he has occasionally mentioned since last season.


Yuzuru Hanyu (28), who has always stood as a major obstacle, has turned pro, and Nathan Chen (24, USA), winner of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, is taking a break. Xiao Yim Hwa and Ilia Malinin (18), who jumps quad axel, are on the rise, but they have yet to be competitive.

He confided that he was satisfied with some aspects of his free skating performance.“I am more happy when I see someone close to me, someone I train with, someone like Adam this time, winning and being happy about it, than when I win. That is how little I feel about my own results and the competitive spirit of the competition. There are days when I practice with a sense of fulfillment and enjoyment, but what motivates me to keep going? I was thinking, “What is going to happen?” I think everyone has a stronger feeling of “I’m going to do my best here,” when compared to how they feel about the match. I was motivated by the presence of Nathan and Yuzu. If I can be that kind of person, even a little, I want to fulfill my responsibility.”


His somewhat optimistic comment also makes me feel a sense of loneliness. The season has just begun. We look forward to the moment when Uno’s heart lights up.

  • Interview and text by Daichi Hadano Photo Kyodo News

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