Hana Yoshida: “At that time, I was with Alysa Liu from the United States, and seeing her do a triple axel in the exhibition practice made me think I wanted to try it too.”

Posted on 2024-06-07 • No comments yet


Translation of the interview with Hana Yoshida.

original source: autograph.ismedia.jp dd. 6th June 2024 by Takaomi Matsubara

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The 2023-2024 season was Hana Yoshida’s debut year as a senior. She showed great results by qualifying and winning bronze in the GP Final. She was also selected to represent Japan at the World Championships where she placed 8th place. In the interview with JP Bress Hana talks about the start of her journey in skating, triple axel, dealing with an injury Here’s a translation of her comments.

Her journey in figure skating began when she was six years old. “I remember just having fun at first. I was so excited in the classes playing with my friends and having so much fun that the teacher would get angry with me.” Although she started skating for fun, her progress was fast.

“In the first year of novice B, I was hardly able to do any jumps and was on the border of being able to go to the national novice championships. But as soon as I was able to do one type of triple jump, I could do all types in succession, and before I knew it, I was in a position to aim for the podium. I am a competetive person, so I skated with the intent of not wanting to lose. That’s when I guess I started aiming higher,” Hana recalled.

She was only 12 years old when she succeeded in doing a triple axel. “I was able to do it about three months after I started practicing,” said Yoshida. “At that time, I was with Alysa Liu from the United States, and seeing her do a triple axel in the exhibition practice made me think I wanted to try it too. When I came back to Japan and started, I was able to do it faster than I thought.”

But after she succeeded in the triple axel she developed a spondylolysis and had to take a pause from skating. “I had to take a break from skating, and everyone else was competing during that time, so I felt frustrated and left behind,” Hana recalls that times. “During that time, I studied at a cram school until night after school finished. I had been striving to balance study with my skating before I got injured, and the doctor told me, “Even if you turn over while sleeping, it will be difficult for the bones to stick together, so it’s pointless to just take a break.’ So without hesitation, I decided the only thing to do was to study. I had been attending an international school since I was little, and since I loved school and studying, I continued to study. I believe life after being a skater is important, so I aimed to balance and expand my interests beyond skating.”

After returning to training, Yoshida decided to change a coach and switch to Mie Hamada. “It was a tough decision, not an easy one to make. But I wanted to learn from coach Mie Hamada. I spoke to her because she coached Rika Kihira and other top athletes. At that time, the Kinoshita academy was about to start, and I was invited to come. I think the timing was just right, I wouldn’t have had this chance otherwise.”

“Coach Hamada really cares about her students. She might be tough at times, but I trust her because she thinks about various things for us to improve,” said Hana Yoshida.

When asked about the 2026 Olympics, she responded: “Honestly, I think the Olympics are still out of reach for me right now. But I was able to represent Japan at the World Championships in my debut season as a senior, so I’m grateful to be in this position now. Even though there’s less than two years left, I would like to do my best.”

“I am very stubborn and I believe that the part of me that never gives up and always gives it my all is firmly within me. (Looking objectively at myself) It’s hard, but in addition to the jump, one of my strengths is that I can continue to challenge myself without being swayed by my surroundings or my feelings. I think it is important to carry through to the end and continue to challenge. I hope to become someone who can give others courage.”

When asked about skaters who give her courage and motivation she mentioned Shoma Uno and Nathan Chen. “It’s hard to narrow it down because there are so many, but I’ve had the opportunity to train with Shoma Uno, who recently announced his retirement, a few times. I was overwhelmed by his practice and I admired his approach to competition, so he gave me a lot of courage. Nathan Chen balanced his studies and skating, which I really respect, and it’s an ideal image for me. Even getting a little closer would be nice.”

As for the future goals, she said “I had lots of new experiences on the last season, and the results throughout the season led to the World Championships, which made me really happy. But there were also many things I lacked. I want to apply what I’ve learned and do my best in the next season.” And as for the future after skating, she mentioned, “I have this selfish dream of being globally active like the people in the ISU after I retire.”


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