Four-time Japanese national figure skating champion Satoko Miyahara retired with her head held high on Friday as she contemplates a new career as a professional skater.
Miyahara, the 2015 world runner-up at the age of 17, won four consecutive national titles from 2014 to 2017 and finished fourth at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics in women’s competition.
The 24-year-old, who finished second at the ISU Grand Prix Finals in 2015 and 2016, decided to quit after finishing fifth at the national championships in December and missing the Beijing Olympics in February.
“I was able to pursue a fulfilling competitive skating career until the end,” Miyahara told an online press conference as she opened the next chapter of her career.
The photo provided shows Satoko Miyahara (right) receiving a bouquet of flowers from Shoma Uno during her retirement press conference in Osaka prefecture, western Japan, April 1, 2022. (Kyodo)
“I believe I’ve climbed many walls so far to get where I am, so I want to do my best to climb many more in the future.”
After stepping onto the rink as a 4-year-old in the United States, Miyahara led Japanese women’s figure skating after the retirement of icon Mao Asada by achieving high standards in choreography and performance. expression.
“My main goal was to show my own style of skating in competition and produce results,” she said. “It gave me a huge sense of satisfaction.”
Even though a second straight Olympics in Beijing proved too difficult a leap for the Kyoto Prefectural native, Miyahara looked on with emotion as she watched her final national championships.
“I could perform while enjoying that feeling of skating on my own two feet. My sense of accomplishment outweighs my regrets,” she said.
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