Home Figure Skating News Uno leads men in Japanese sweep at Grand Prix Final

Uno leads men in Japanese sweep at Grand Prix Final

by Paula Slater
Iana Saveleva

 2022-23 Grand Prix Final Men's Short Program

Shoma Uno of Japan performs his Short Program at the 2022-23 Grand Prix Final in Torino, Italy.

2022-23 Grand Prix Final: Men’s Short Program

Shoma Uno currently leads the Men’s event in a Japanese sweep after the short program at the 2022-23 Grand Prix Final. Teammates Sota Yamamoto and Kao Miura are currently sitting in second and third place, respectively.

Shoma Uno (JPN)

Uno, who turns 25 later this month, scored a new season’s best of 99.99 points with his soulful routine to “Gravity” on Thursday night. The two-time Olympic medalist landed a solid quad flip and smooth  triple Axel. He also landed a quad toe-double toe, however, a triple toe had been planned on the back end. He earned a level four on two spins, but the footwork and change sit spin were graded a level three. The skater also picked up numerous high grades of execution (GOE), particularly on the quad flip and triple Axel.

“Today’s performance, I made some mistakes, but everything I trained for was put on the ice in competition,” said Uno. “Apart from the jumps, considering steps and spins, there were some lacking elements that I couldn’t train extensively. Once there are no concerns over my jumps, I will be able to train for the steps and spins and have a complete package.”

Uno and Sota train at the same rink in Japan when Uno isn’t in Champery, Switzerland. They also competed against each other at the 2014-15 Junior Grand Prix Final in Barcelona, Spain.

“This year, looking at his level, the perfection is there in practice and the jump quality is so high,” noted Uno. “So it’s natural he was able to put out the performance and place high. All the Japanese skaters are training at the top quality which is incredible, and any of us can be at the top podium. I’m amazed at the level of the Japanese skaters.”

Uno has been practicing quite a bit on the Long Program coming into this even and feels he has more confidence, especially in the jumps.

“I would like to know and observe how my the practice will influence the competition situation, especially at such a big competition like the Grand Prix Final,” he said. “There are so many things that I took from the short program and so many things I have done during the season. All the things I learned will lead to further growth, so I am sure it will be a new step forward for me.”

Sota Yamamoto (JPN)

Yamamoto gave a superb routine to “Yesterday” performed by Michael Bolton, and scored the highest technical scores of the group. The skater, who took silver in both his individual Grand Prix events, executed a solid quad toe-triple toe which earned many positive GOEs. The 22-year-old also landed a quad Salchow and triple Axel while earning a level four on all three spins to score 94.86 for second place.

“Today my Salchow was not perfect, but I am happy I was able to skate without any mistakes,” said Sota, who mostly received +1 GOEs on the element. “Going into the free skate, I think this was a confidence booster. I will be confident to put everything out there for the free skate.”

(reunited with Shoma at the GPF just like in the junior years and what do you wish to each other) Shoma serves us a role model for all who skate there. There is so much to learn from his practices and skating. It’s great being in the GPF not only with Shoma but also with Kao and Shun and having all these Japanese skaters competing here. Looking at them in the practice makes me want to do better and I’m sure we’ll do our best tomorrow and the day after.

Despite battling injuries over the years, the 22-year-old from Aichi has been having a pretty good season, taking silver at both individual Grand Prix events.

“From off season, I sensed I was able to train better,” said Yamamoto. “The quality of training is better and day in and day out I’m satisfied with what I’ve been able to put out. The nerves are there, but the confidence is there accumulated with all the training I have done. I’m sure I’ll put out a good performance in the free skate, as well.”

The men compete their free skate on Saturday, so they have a “rest” day between the programs.

“I have two days to practice and I want to go through my check list,” said Yamamoto. “In training, I was able to make no mistakes and skated a clean program, so the question is what can I put in the real competition. I will see how I do that during the days of my practice and want to make sure I can put all the expressions out there.”

Kao Miura (JPN)

Miura fell on the back-end of a quad Salchow-triple toe, but recovered to land a solid triple Axel and quad toe in his intense routine to music by Astor Piazzolla. The 2022 Four Continents bronze medalist also produced three level-four spins and good level three footwork to score 87.07 points for third place.

“Going into my quad-triple combo, the Salchow was so perfect and felt so great,” explained the 17-year-old from Yokohama. “Then I panicked, because my first jump was so good and missed the toe. That’s something I need to reflect on. That led to giving up on my concentration a bit, so things need to be improved there. In the second part of the program, I was able to recover with the toeloop. It was ok and I think I grew as a skater going into that program.”

Miura switched to seniors last season, and as a result is competing against many of his role models.

“The first time I saw Sota and Shoma skate, I was very young, like a novice B, and saw them compete at the Junior Grand Prix Final and at the nationals,” said Miura. “I was there when Sota won the national juniors and I was amazed by these wonderful skaters. It’s unimaginable sitting next to them today. It feels so surreal and last year Yuzuru Hanyu was at the nationals. There are so many wonderful skaters and I’m honored skating with them. Having so many role models, I believe I am skating in a wonderful era for Japan.”

Miura plans to do everything he can regarding the technical aspect going into the free skate on Saturday.

“I have an extra day, so I will finetune my long program and put everything there,” he said. “Expressing the music and the program… to start with it, I wasn’t really good at that, but this season I learned how to show and convey the feelings and emotions of the Beauty and the Beast. I hope the technical and artistic side of me will come to crystalize that program.”

Daniel Grassl (ITA)

Grassl fell on a planned quad Lutz-triple toe, but rallied back to land a triple Axel and triple Lutz-triple toe in his routine to “Silhouette” by Aquilo. The Lutz received an edge call, and the 2022 European silver medalist only earned a level four on one spin to finish in fourth place with 80.40 points.

Ilia Malinin (USA)

Malinin stepped out of the back-end of a quad toe-triple toe as well as triple Axel in his bluesy routine to “I Put A Spell On You.” The quad Salchow was slightly underrotated as well, but he earned a level four on a change combination spin and footwork. The 2022 World Junior Champion now sits in fifth going into the free skate with 80.10 points.

Shun Sato (JPN)

Sato fell on a quad Lutz attempt, but recovered to land a quad toe-double toe and triple Axel in his short to “Carol of the Bells.” The 2022 Grand Prix Espoo silver medalist rounds out the men with 76.62 points.

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