In Figure Skating

Last modified on April 2, 2017

IN 2017
Hanyu breaks record and is again world champion
In Helsinki, Finland, Yusuru Hanyu touched a knee on a jump in the short program on Mar 30. That cost him points, and he was ranked 5. In the free program on Apr 1, he landed perfect jumps and surged to first place with a world record score. Runner up was young Shoma Uno.

IN 2014
Hanyu and Asada are world champions
The 2014 World Championships were hosted in Saitama Arena in Japan. On Mar 28, Yuzuru Hanyu had successful quads in the free program. Even though he was 3rd in the short program, he was able to accummulate points and won passed Tatsuki Machida who was first in the short program. Machida won the bronze. In the women's single, Mao Asada recorded the highest score ever in the short program. In the free program on Mar 29, she missed a jump but was stable overall. She won the title of world champion for the 3rd time.

Hanyu is Olympic champion
Yuzuru Hanyu had a perfect short program and on Feb 14, he skated the free program. He fell on two jumps but as runner up,Patrick Chan missed his jumps too, Hanyu kept his first place and won the gold. It's the first time a Japanese win's the men's figure skating gold medal.

IN 2012
World Championships medal rush
Japan was not only blessed with good female figure skaters, it's proved there were more great skaters at the World Championships in Nice, France more. On Mar 30, pair Narumi Takahashi and Mervin Tran won the bronze medal, making it Japan's first ever in the competition. In the men's, veteran skater Daisuke Takahashi clinched the silver with a perfect performance including a quad. A big surprise was 17 year old Yuzuru Hanyu with his powerful and elegant skating took the bronze. Hanyu is from Sendai, a city hard hit by a massive quake in Mar 2011. His regular skating rink was severely damaged too. He lived in a temporary shelter but was able to return to figure skating by performing in charity event. In the women's Mao Asada would not accomplish her trademark triple axel and finished 6th. Akiko Suzuki won the bronze.

IN 2011
Ando is World Champion again
Miki Ando who had a stable 2010-2011 season skated past Korea's Kim Yu-Na to win the championship title for the 2nd time on Apr 30 in Moscow. Actually the championships were supposed to take place in Tokyo the end of March. But due to the great earthquake on Mar 11, an alternative place was chosen. Mao Asada finished 6th. In the men's, Takahiko Kozuka won the silver. The title went to Canada's Patrick Chan. Last year's champions Daisuke Takahashi was unlucky. The blade of his skating shoes came lose during his attempt of a quad and had to repair it in 2 minutes. He finished 5th.

IN 2010
Asada regains world champion title
Mao Asada was first in the short program on Mar 26 at the World Championships in Turin, Italy. What was supposed to be a triple axel was not counted as one, but she was able to rank first as Vancouver Olympic champion Kim Yu-Na made major mistakes. In the free program on Mar 27, Asada's one jump was not counted as a triple axel, otherwise she skated her routine well. She became world champion for the 2nd time. Her rival Kim was 2nd, but scored better than Asada in the free program. Miki Ando was 4th.

Takahashi is Japan's first male World Champion
Daisuke Takahashi who won the bronze in the Vancouver Winter Olympic Games skated well at the World Championships in Turin, Italy starting with the short program on Mar 24. He finished ahead of Patrick Chan and Brian Joubert. In the free program, he was not able to achieve a quad. But landing other jumps almost perfect and with his elegant skating skills scored a total 257.70 points to become the first Japanese man ever to win the championship title.

IN 2009
Ando is 3rd in World Championships
The 2008-2009 season was a tough season for Miki Ando, but she managed to finish 3rd at the championships in Los Angeles, USA. The winner was South Korea's Yuna Kim.

IN 2008
Asada is World Champion
In Sweden, the championships took place. In SP, Mao Asada was 2nd. But in the free program,she won the highest score and became a world champion at only 17 and the 5th Japanese champion.

IN 2007
Ando is WORLD CHAMPION and more Japanese win medals
19-year old Miki Ando who was 2nd in the short program clinched first overall on Mar 23 at the World Championships in Tokyo. It's a big feat, taking into account that she finished only 14th at the Turin Olympic Games. Runner up, 16-year old Mao Asada who made up for her disappointing performance the day before. 3rd was South Korea's Kim Yu-na who fought against her back pain. The top 3 spots were dominated by Asians. In the men's Japan's Daisuke Takahashi clinched the silver, the highest ever finish for a Japanese man.

IN 2006
Shizuka Arakawa who was struggling to give a topnotch performance after changes of rules in figure skating overcame all. She defeated Irina Slutskaya to win the Olympic title in Turin on Feb 27. It's the first time a Japanese woman won the gold.

IN 2005
15-year old Mao wins World Cup in France
Mao Asada for the first time finished first in a senior international figure skating event. It's in France. In the previous World Cup event in Beijing, she was 2nd. But she will not be able to participate at the Winter Olympic Games in Torino due to her age.

IN 2004
Japan's Shizuka Arakawa won the world championship in Dortmund Germany on Mar 28. She's the 3rd Japanese to achieve the feat, following Midori Ito and Yuka Sato. Arakawa had not be a stable skater, but has worked on improving on her artistic ability. She's 22 year old and a student of Waseda University. 16 year-old Miki Ando who made her debut in a major competition at this championship was 4th. Sasha Cohen was 2nd and Michelle Kwan finished 4th. Fumie Suguri did not fair well, ending 7th.

IN 2003
Suguri wins Grand Prix Final
22 year old Fumie Suguri overwhelmed Sasha Cohen of the US to win the Grand Prix Final on Dec 13. She completed all compulsory jumps successfully and with her elegants skating technique scored the highest. Other Japanese, Shizuoka Arakawa finished third, while Yoshie Onda 6th.

IN 2002
Suguri is third in World Championships
In the women's competition at the World Championships in Nagano on Mar 22, Fumie Suguri who was 6th at Salt Lake City earned third place. The winner was Olympic silver medalist Irina Slutsukaya of Russia followed by Michelle Kwan of USA. Another Japanese, Yoshie Onda was 5th.

Honda is third in World Championships
In the World Championships held in Nagano from Mar 18, the site of the 1998 Olympic Games Takeshi Honda skated well. He succeed one quadruple jump to come in third. He's the first Japanese in 25 years to win a medal in the men's competition. Honda was 4th at the Salt Lake Winter Olympics. The gold went to Alexei Yagudin of Russia.

IN 2001
Suguri wins international event
The figure skating scene in Japan has been lying low for sometime. But Fumie Suguri at last demonstrated her talent. On Feb 10 at the Four Continents Championships in Salt Lake City, she finished first in the women's single. It's the first time since Yuka Sato became world champion in 1994 that a Japanese won a gold in an international event. Suguri is 20-year old and studies at Waseda University.

IN 1998
Japanese skaters win medals in NHK Trophy
The 1998 NHK Trophy was held in Sapporo's Makomanai Arena. On Dec. 5, 17 year-old Fumie Suguri, who was not even selected to skate at the Nagano Winter Games won 3rd place in the women's singles. Then the next day, 21 year-old Takeshi Honda succeeded in the quadruple jump. That raised his score and he finished 2nd. It's the first time in 11 years that a Japanese male skater won a medal at the event. Honda is said to have been sick from food poison, but that did not affect his performance.

IN 1997
NHK Trophy at White Ring
Japan's annual international figure skating competition was held at the new White Ring, where the same event will be held for the Nagano Winter Olympic Games. The event took off on Nov. 27 and ended on the 30th. On Nov.29, Japan's Takeshi Honda was 3rd in the men's single, but he finished overall 6th. He missed a number of jumps during the free program. Ilia Kulik of Russia too failed in his first combination jump, but clinched the title and won 30,000 dollars. In the women's singles, the first place went to Tanja Szewczenko of Germany, followed by Maria Butyrskaya of Russia and Chen Lu of China.

Midori is back !
Midori Itoh skated before a crowd of 1500 spectators on Apr. 26 at the Shin-Yokohama PH Skate Center. It was feared that she may not be able to perform at a professional level, after her retirement from amateur status in November 1996. She was hospitalized from time to time for anorexia. So her return to skating is a big relief to fans. Although she did show off the triple axel jump she is renowned for, she did do a simpler form of a triple jump. The ice skating show continued until May 5.

International Open Figure
For the first time in Japan, amateurs and professionals figure skaters competed together. The competition was held from January 4-5 in Tokyo's Yoyogi National Gymnasium. Participants included former Olympic and world champions Katarina Witt of Germany and Yuka Satoh of Japan.

The top competitor for women was Michelle Kwan of the USA who is the 1996 world champion. Pro skater Yuka Satoh came in second. Russia's Ilia Kulik won first place for the men's.
Michiyo's Note: Michelle may have been successful with the jumps, but my overall impression was that Yuka's and Katarina's elegance was superb!

Midori Ito will not perform in Nagano
Japan's greatest figure skating champion spoke before the press on Nov. 29, 1996, that she is retiring. This is actually her 2nd time to leave amateur status. Ito returned to amateur competitions in 1995. This move was aimed to bring up the Olympics spirit for Nagano in 1998.

Ito won the Japan championship for the 9th time this year, but was unable to perform well afterwards. She's been rumored to have been hospitalized a number of times due to too much dieting. Ito said to the press that she practiced her new routine for this season from September. She has discovered though that her body has lost the agility and energy that she was known for.

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