Rena Uezono: “Mao Asada’s free program at the Sochi Olympics is my aspiration.”

Posted on 2024-05-31 • No comments yet


Translation if the interview with Japanese single skater Rena Uezono.

original source: dd. 21st May 2024 by Komiya Yoshiyuki

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Rena Uezono is 13-year-old Japanese single skater, she is the 2024 World Junior bronze medalist, the 2023–24 ISU Junior Grand Prix Final bronze medalist. In the interview posted on Web Sportiva Rena talks about Here’s a translation of her comments.

Q: At the age of three, you became interested in skating because Mao Asada waved at you when she returned to Nagoya after the Sochi Olympics. Did you have any chances to meet Asada after that?

Rena Uezono: I have met her at the ‘Beyond’ ice show where Mao Asada was the director. I only greeted her because she had a conversation… but since Asada’s free program at the Sochi Olympics is my aspiration, I was happy to meet her.

Q: You started figure skating at the age of five. What was the first thing you liked about it?

Rena Uezono: In my case, I loved jumping. I was very happy when I was able to do a new jump, or when the quality of the same jump improved. Also, I thought it was really nice to be able to perform on a big rink, standing alone on the ice.

Q: You attract a lot of attention. Don’t you get nervous?

Rena Uezono: During competitions, of course, I do get nervous. But it’s not because I’m being watched by everyone, but rather, I’m happy to be watched. I feel that I can do my best for those who are supporting me, so I actually want to be seen.

Q: Even so, did you think you would be able to show such results and make an impact with your performance in your debut season?

Rena Uezono: Around this time last year (May 2023), I had already been determined to compete in the Junior Grand Prix qualifier, and I was practicing hard with my coaches. Originally, I had a strong desire to participate, so I remember putting in an immense amount of effort at the beginning of the season. Thanks to my coaches, the results started following, and I was able to get through the season without any injuries. I truly feel grateful for everyone.

Q: What do you think led you to stand out so suddenly last season?

Rena Uezono: I think it was largely due to Coach Mihoko (Higuchi) teaching me to ‘give my all in practice’.

Q: And that translated to the competitions. What is the advice that you have received the most from coach Higuchi so far?

Rena Uezono: I’ve received a ton of advice (laughs). But, I tend to rush my jumps, and when the jump isn’t going well, the overall program tends to deteriorate too. So, I try to keep in mind what the coach taught me about that.

Q: Placing fourth in the Japanese Nationals at the age of 13, in your junior debut season, can be considered an exceptional achievement. When the Short Program (SP) ended, you were in the final group, and there were rumblings in the media about it being a ‘historical feat not seen since a fifth-grade Midori Ito stood on the podium — 43 nationals ago!’

Rena Uezono: Being in the final group for the Free Skate, I myself had a lot of fun. I feel it was really good that I was able to perform my program on that stage.

Q: After the SP ended, what did coach say to you?

Rena Uezono: My coach said to me, ‘This will be your last Nationals at the age of 13’. And then, ‘Concentrate and skate your best’. Thanks to that, I was able to focus on my performance.

Q: It seemed as if you were skating in the competition with the same precision as in practice. This is by no means easy.

Rena Uezono: I enjoy practicing. If I don’t practice properly, I can’t bring out my performance in the competition. So, I consider both to be important.

Q: In the Free Skate, you brilliantly accomplished the opening triple lutz + triple toe-loop, and you also perfectly landed a triple flip + double toe-loop. Are you good at toe jumps?

Rena Uezono: I like axel and lutz. I would like to attempt a triple axel. Since starting to do the (most difficult) triple lutz, it has become one of my strong points. If I don’t do an outside edge for lutz, I can’t jump, so sometimes I end up paying more attention to the flip.

Q: In interviews, I’ve seen statements where you emphasized wanting to ‘show your own charm.’ What do you consider ‘your own charm’?

Rena Uezono: I think it’s being able to perform jumps while maintaining speed. Also, I like to express in tune with the program’s music. I want to give my all in what I can do and deliver performances that reach the audience.”


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