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   Shoma Uno (JPN) ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2024 Montreal (CAN) GettyImages 2110572293

Shoma Uno (JPN) pictured during the ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2024 in Montreal (CAN) @ISU

Two-time ISU World Champion and three-time Olympic medalist Shoma Uno of Japan has announced his retirement from competitive skating after a long and distinguished career and is ready to open a new chapter in his life.

“I have decided to retire from active competition,” Uno wrote on Instagram. “I am very grateful to have been able to continue skating for 21 years since I was 5 years old, and to have had a wonderful athletic life.”

The Japanese star will talk in more detail about his retirement and future plans in a press conference scheduled for May 14.

The 26-year-old looks back at a career with many highlights and also difficult times, but he always came back, proving his talent and showing resilience. When five-year-old Shoma went to the ice rink in his hometown of Nagoya with his father to have fun, he had no idea that he would become a World Champion, Olympic medalist and super star of the sport. He only knew that the enjoyed skating and kept coming back to the rink, taking lessons. He trained with Machiko Yamada, the coach of Japanese skating icon Midori Ito and also with Mihoko Higuchi for many years and worked his way up in the skating world.

Uno debuted in the ISU Junior Grand Prix in 2011 and was so tiny that he was unable to look over the boards. He won a few medals on the Junior circuit but his breakthrough came in what was his last Junior season in 2014/15 when he qualified for the first time for the ISU Junior Grand Prix Final where he claimed gold. Shoma went on to take the ISU World Junior title in 2015, in what was his fourth and final appearance at the event (climbing from 10th in 2012, 7th in 2013 and 5th in 2014).

Shoma Uno (JPN) ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships 2013 Milan (ITA) GettyImages 162956275

Shoma Uno (JPN) competes during the ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships 2013 Milan (ITA) @ISU

Once at the senior level, Uno quickly became one of the top Skaters in the World. In his World debut in 2016 he placed 7th but then the next year won silver, his first of a total of four World medals. In his first Olympic Winter Games in 2018, Shoma skated off with the silver medal and returned on to the Olympic podium four years later, earning the bronze. In 2022 and 2023 Uno crowned himself ISU World Champion.

Shoma Uno (JPN) ISU World Figure Skating Championships Saitama (JPN) ISU 1476192675

Shoma Uno (JPN) celebrates during the ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2023 in Saitama (JPN) @ISU

However, in between there was a time of struggle. In the 2019/20 season, for the first (and only) time in his career, Uno finished off the podium in the ISU Grand Prix Series. He had left his coaches since childhood and struggled with confidence.

“At first, to be honest, I was thinking about finishing my career,“ he said in an interview at Skate America 2021 about this time.

“I did not know how much longer I would keep going. But imaging the end (I thought) maybe I'll enjoy the rest of this career as an athlete.“

Uno started to work with two-time World Champion Stéphane Lambiel as his coach and choreographer in fall 2019 and soon came back strong. He grew as an athlete and a performer with beautiful programs that highlighted his versatility: “Turandot” (Free Skating 2017/18), “Great Spirit” (Short Program 2020/21), “Bolero” (Free Skating 2021/22) and “Spiegel im Spiegel” (Free Skating 2023/24) to name a few.

Shoma Uno (JPN) and Stephane Lambiel ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2024 Montreal (CAN) GettyImages 2109716308

Shoma Uno (JPN) and Stephane Lambiel pictured during the ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2024 in Montreal (CAN) @ISU

At the same time, the Japanese star always pushed the limits technically and made history by becoming the first Skater to perform a quadruple flip in competition in 2016.

“When I train and want to become better, it's not good for me to work on what I can already do. If I'm satisfied with just giving 80 per cent, I'm not good. The right training for me is to push my limits,” Uno said in an interview.

The Japanese Skater has an independent mind and a fun personality. He has a Youtube Channel where you can meet his three toy poodles Emma, Baron and Toro.

“When I am on the ice, I am totally focused on my sport, but when I'm off the ice, I am sure most people know I am just a lazy slacker, but I thought that would be a good way to show to the people how I am off the ice, but still this is Shoma Uno,” he explained.

When asked who inspires him the most, Shoma’s surprising answer was:

"Myself. Of course, I think I am inspired by many people and heard some good words from everyone, too, but in the end when you break it down, I do feel that it is myself that inspires me and sadly, I don't listen to anyone. Sometimes I listen, but mostly I go with my own mind,” he added.

For sure Uno will follow his own ideas in the years to come but you can certainly expect to see him gracing the ice in shows for a while.