Shoma Uno: “Once at competitions Lambiel, invited me to a restaurant to talk. “Don’t aim for perfection too much. Perfection is something that awaits you after you’ve done everything, not something you aim for.” he said.”
Article and small interview with Shoma Uno ahead of World Championships.
source: jbpress.ismedia.jp dd 14 March 2023
! Please take into account that interview was translated via machine translation so it may not be completely accurate or conveying all the details and nuances. !
First victory at Grand Prix Final
On January 4th, an ice show “Nagoya Figure Skating Festival” was held, and one of the performers was Shoma Uno. Uno, who showed a lively performance by performing “Great Spirit”, which he had used in the short program for the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 seasons, sent a message through the venue announcement, saying, “Last year was a really big year for me. From now on, I want to do everything I can to do what I want to do.”
Last season, at the Beijing Olympics in February 2022, he won a bronze medal, his second consecutive podium finish at the Olympics. He also won his first title at the World Championships in March. This season, he has won all the competitions he has participated in so far.
His attitude and words, which he occasionally shows, indicate that he has reached a higher level. For example, at the NHK Trophy in November last year.
The start of the competition was far from smooth. It was symbolized by the official practice, during which he showed an expression of dissatisfaction that was uncommon for him. His inner thoughts were clearly reflected there.
“Even if I did jumps, every day I jumped in a different way, and I couldn’t do it even if I tried the technique I wanted. Frustration and impatience that things didn’t go as planned showed up during official practice.”
After witnessing his behavior, his coach, Stephane Lambiel, invited him to a restaurant in the venue to talk.
“Don’t aim for perfection too much. Perfection is something that awaits you after you’ve done everything, not something you aim for.” he said.
From there, he was able to reset his mindset.
Further challenges arose. It was an issue with his edges. During official practice and on the day of the short program, he struggled to get the edges right and had to experiment during the competition by changing them repeatedly.
He was not able to resolve the issue even during the free skate. As he jumped during the six-minute warm-up before his performance, he felt something off with his edges and decided to adjust them himself.
He said, “I spent several days adjusting them, but there was no time left for my performance. I had to quickly adjust them and prepare for my skate.”
This could have been a major obstacle to overcome, but he handled it calmly and without panic due to his experience gained from his career. His performance at the National Championships in December reminded us of this.
Prior to the short program, during the official practice held that morning, he felt that the ice was “difficult to gain speed on”. Thinking that his usual jumping technique would not work, he decided to slow down and jump. Despite the high number of mistakes made by many competitors in the competition, he delivered a calm performance and stood at the top.
Although there were words of advice from his coach at the NHK Trophy, it was the ability to switch his mindset that made it possible to deal with the edge problem and assess the condition of the ice at the Japanese Nationals.
The factor that made all of this possible is symbolically expressed in the following words that he spoke during Nationals:
“It’s not that I’ve become good at adjusting, but rather, over the years, I’ve done a lot of things, and it’s precisely because I’ve put so much passion into each competition and never given up on anything that I’ve been able to understand the situation and deal with it properly.”
It’s not just because he’s been in the game for a long time. By devoting himself earnestly to practice and not taking any competitions lightly, he has been able to gain experience and turn it into a valuable asset. Unno’s words convey this message.
At the core of it all is an unwavering determination. In an interview after his victory at the NHK Trophy, Uno said, “There is a part of me that aims for even greater heights, and after the Olympics and World Championships, I am able to face skating without ever slowing down..”
Daniel Grassl: “After the European Championships, it wasn’t easy for me; to be honest, I felt that I was in a pit. I even doubted whether I should go to the World Championships.”