Shoma Uno @ Worlds 2018

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Shoma “Pocket Rocket” Uno had a rough time when he competed at the Figure Skating World Championships in Milan for Team Japan last week.

Performing on pain killers due to an injury, he fell several times during his free program but he fought through the pain and frustration and despite his tears he ended up on a fantastic 2nd place behind Nathan Chen.

Here’s his gala performance that concluded the event:

The choice to be unafraid

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Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon was honoured with the Visibility Award at the Human Rights Council annual gala on Saturday — and as we’ve come to expect from him, he completely stole the show with his poignant words.

“When I was little I used to care so much about what others thought of me,” he said. “I was mindful of the way I dressed, my mannerisms, the way I talked. I was afraid people would think I was weak. I was afraid of making mistakes. I was afraid that I wouldn’t be welcomed by the LGBTQ community because someone like me wouldn’t be the role model they were looking for. Maybe I was too gay, and maybe I was just too myself. Throughout my life, I have fallen short many times. I have felt depressed. I felt not good enough. And I felt like there would never be a day where I would feel like I belong. I was living life afraid. I remember hearing the quote, ‘What would you do if you weren’t afraid?’ I remember really hearing it, and honestly asking myself, ‘What would I do differently?’

“I remember making the choice to be unafraid,” he continued. “I made the choice to not care what others thought of who I was. I was going to be truly me. This was the biggest and most important decision I’d ever made: To live fearlessly. To take risks. To let go of my fear of what others may think of me, and to always keep learning. You will find that you will have your greatest success when you wear your scars proudly. Through my shortcomings and from my successes, I’ve learned that a champion is more than a medal. It’s a mindset.”

He closed with a powerful, inclusive sentiment: “To all the young kids out there, whether you are gay, straight, bi, trans or still on a journey of self-discovery; whether you are white, black, or any color in between, you are smarter than you think. You hold more strength than you may ever know. You are powerful. No matter where you have come from or where you are going to, there is someone who looks up to you, and they will find inspiration in your strength of just being yourself. Be a role model, and never forget that you can be someone’s champion. You are a winner. When we all come together, we can change the world.”

Yuzuru Hanyu & Shoma Uno at the 2018 Winter Olympics

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Yuzuru Hanyu clinched the first back-to-back men’s Olympic figure skating title in more than six decades on Saturday to cement his status as the “Ice Prince” of the modern era and possibly the best skater in the history of the sport. The 23-year-old superstar made light of a three-month injury hiatus to come back with a strong performance.

“I worried a lot of people as I could not practise because of my injury. So, there was stronger support than before. I was so fortunate. I’m feeling gratitude. I was able to make a jump that I wanted to do with concentration. Anyway it was good.”

His 2014 success at the Olympics in Sochi elevated him to cult status in Japan, and he did not disappoint his huge army of adoring fans. After his not-quite-spotless free skate, which opened with a quickfire quad salchow and quad toeloop, he bowed to his fans as they in turn tossed his Winnie The Pooh stuffed toys, his mascot, onto the ice.

Yuzuru, Javier & Shoma in a loving embrace after the competition.

Also check out this article in the New York Times about the hard and painful way that lead Yuzuru to his second Olympic gold.

Silver medal no big deal for Shoma “Pocket Rocket” Uno

After being badgered by reporters over whether the glass was half full or half empty after winning the silver medal on his Olympic debut Shoma Uno finally gave in. He had appeared apathetic about his achievement, telling reporters in the mixed zone there was “no special significance” to winning the silver and describing winter sport’s biggest stage as “just another competition.”

But after being asked the same question in the post-ceremony press conference, the pint-sized 20-year-old opened up a little.

“Looking back on my performance today, there is no disappointment for me. It was not close to perfect but I have been practising a lot and I was able to put that practice into action, and so in that sense I am happier more than disappointed.”

“I know that the Olympics is a special stage for many people. There are a lot of special emotions and special stories attached to the Olympics. I saw tears in different skaters’ eyes and I was kind of jealous that they were able to feel that emotion, but I did not have such an attachment myself, so I just went onto the ice to perform my skate.”

Known as the “Pocket Rocket” for his diminutive frame but phenomenal jumping ability, he said he was glad to have escaped with just one mistake in the free skate.

“I just started laughing after I missed my first loop. I didn’t feel pressured after my mistake. I just laughed and wanted to do my best. I am simply happy that I could put on my performance more than the silver medal. More than myself, I thought the Olympics was more of a special occasion for Yuzuru.”

When a teenage Adam Rippon dreamed of the Olympics

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Adam Rippon, the first openly gay U.S. winter Olympian, has become something of a hero for American fans, queer or not. Even before he won a bronze medal for Team USA Monday Rippon established that he would stand up for gay rights. After his performance, he tweeted a message to his detractors:

Even before competing in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Rippon made headlines for denouncing Vice President Mike Pence’s record of opposition to LGBT rights. Friday, the 28-year-old Olympian will compete in the men’s single skating event. But what did teenage Rippon think about the Olympics?

In an unearthed 2003 interview with Pennsylvania TV station WNEP-TV, Rippon, then 13 and already having won international figure skating competitions, told reporter Jim Coles exactly where he aimed to be.

Shoma in Pyeongchang

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The Winter Olympics are on and our beloved winter prince Shoma Uno cleansed the ice with an outstanding performance full of clean quad jumps and fluid step sequences in the team competition, claiming first place for Team Japan and being the only skater getting a score above 100!

http://shoma-uno.tumblr.com/post/170683866307/shoma-uno-2018-team-event-sp-no-kc

Many other skaters, among them American talent Nathan Chen, had less luck and stumbled on what many already call “cursed ice”. Sadly there are also barely any people to see the skating competitions thanks to NBC making sure that they are scheduled for the very early morning in Korea so they can be shown at prime time in the US.