Connect with us
Advertisement

Features

[ICE TIME] American Junior Taira Shinohara Details Successful Season and Ambitions Moving Forward

At the 2024 US Junior Championships, runner-up Taira Shinohara showed his skating skills, including the thrill of landing two triple axels in the free skate.

After a season that saw him finish second at the US Junior Championships and win the Bavarian Open in the same month (January 2024), rising skater Taira Shinohara took the time recently to reflect on his achievements. He's also looking forward to the 2024-25 campaign.

Shinohara, who will turn 18 on May 11, will have a lot on his plate later this summer and into the fall. He is certain to get assignments to compete in the Junior Grand Prix while preparing for his senior year of high school and submitting college applications.

The Schaumburg, Illinois, native, whose parents hail from Hokkaido and Kyushu, sent Ice Time his thoughts on the coming months in an email message in early April.

"At nationals, I experienced a mix of emotions. While I stumbled on the axel during the short program due to the pressure of the event, I was determined to make a strong comeback in the free skate," Shinohara wrote. "Landing two triple axels was a moment of excitement for me. Despite some mid-program mishaps, I drew on the extensive preparation I had undergone and finished with a score that placed me on the podium."

Reflections on Finishing Runner-Up at the US Junior Nationals

Shinohara, who trains in Buffalo Grove, Illinois, admitted that he was hoping to take home the gold at the US juniors in Columbus, Ohio, in January. When it was over, he was the runner-up behind Lucius Kazanecki with a score of 198.08 points.

"Although not clinching the top spot was a bit disappointing, standing on the nationals podium has been a lifelong dream of mine, and achieving second place was a significant accomplishment," Shinohara assessed.

Taira Shinohara
Taira Shinohara, the 2024 Bavarian Open men's junior champion. (Melanie Heaney/US FIGURE SKATING)

'A Whirlwind of Experiences'

The Bavarian Open was held in Oberstdorf, Germany, and Shinohara won his first international competition there with a tally of 193.87 on January 31. He was clearly thrilled with his win and the chance to visit another country.

Noting "the Bavarian Open was a whirlwind of experiences," Shinohara added, "The short program was a personal triumph, marked by a clean routine that earned me a personal best score (77.27). However, the free skate presented its challenges, particularly with an attempted quad toe that didn't go as planned."

Added Shinohara, "Nevertheless, maintaining my lead from the short program and clinching victory in the junior men's event amidst the international competition was incredibly rewarding. Beyond the competition itself, the time spent with fellow skaters from around the world and the opportunity to explore Oberstdorf and Munich made the event truly unforgettable."

Taira Shinohara
Taira Shinohara (US FIGURE SKATING)

It's just a shoe!
Take a Food Journey Around the World!

Shinohara Looks Ahead to the 2024-25 Season

Shinohara, who previously cited Yuzuru Hanyu's triumph at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics as a catalyst for his skating, indicated that he is enthusiastic about the 2024-25 season.

"Looking ahead to next season, I'm excited about the changes and challenges it will bring," Shinohara declared. "With choreography from Jason Brown and Scott Brown, I'm eager to elevate my performances at the senior level domestically and aim for further success on the international junior circuit. Incorporating quads into my routines marks a significant progression in my skating journey, and I'm setting my sights on competing in JGPs and senior nationals."

Taira Shinohara
Taira Shinohara, who has been skating since he was 6, finished third in the junior men’s category at the Challenge Cup in the Netherlands in February 2022 in his first international competition.

In a 2022 interview with Ice Time, Shinohara expressed his interest in someday attending the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He indicated that while he has decided on a major, he is still not certain on where he will be going to university.

"As for college plans, I intend to study mechanical engineering while continuing to pursue my passion for competitive skating," Shinohara revealed. "However, I have not yet finalized my decision on where I will be attending."

Shinohara concluded his correspondence with profound thanks to those who have supported him through the years.

"I want to express my sincere gratitude to US Figure Skating, my coach Denise Myers, and my family for their unwavering support and guidance throughout these endeavors," Shinohara wrote. "Look forward to keeping you updated on my progress and achievements in the coming months."

Kao Miura (KYODO)

Miura Describes Long Season as a Grind

Kao Miura finished eighth at his first senior world championships in Montreal in March and the 18-year-old expressed his feelings on the event afterward in an interview with Nikkan Sports.

"The atmosphere is definitely different from other competitions, and even from practice," Miura was quoted as saying. "I get the impression that all the skaters are at their peak here, [and] I had a good practice. But it doesn't mean anything if I don't jump on the day."

Added Miura, "I feel a lack of power and also found it very hard to keep in good shape from the beginning to the end of the season. The first half of the season, I thought I could always keep in good shape, and after the new year, I felt I was slowing down. So with those difficulties, I felt like I still had a lot to learn."

Anna Shcherbakova (Aleksandra Szmigiel/REUTERS)

Shcherbakova Felt 'Empty' After Winning Olympic Gold

Beijing Olympic champion Anna Shcherbakova of Russia detailed the conflicting feelings she had after her success on the biggest stage in a recent interview with the Golden Apple YouTube channel that was translated into English and posted on fs-gossips.com.

"For some reason, I had the mindset that a person who has won the Olympics would be the happiest person for the rest of their life," Shcherbakova was quoted as saying. "The notion that they would wake up every morning with the thought that they are an Olympic champion, and this would bring some incredible joy constantly, 24 hours a day."

Shcherbakova then explained how that wasn't the case after her moment of glory in China.

"However, I faced the opposite story ― after winning, you experience a kind of emptiness," she admitted. "You have spent all your resources so much that you have no strength left to rejoice, to grieve, or to live through any emotions. Probably, it took me quite a long time to recover from it, not understanding what was happening."

Added Shcherbakova, "I believe it's also an important point ― not to live just for the final goal, the end result, and to think that once you achieve it, that's when you will be the happiest. Instead, you should enjoy the moment and the journey. Now I can say that I experienced the happiest moments on the path to my goal, not when I finally reached it."

RELATED: 

Author: Jack Gallagher

The author is a veteran sports journalist and one of the world's foremost figure skating experts. Find articles and podcasts by Jack on his author page, and find him on X (formerly Twitter) @sportsjapan.

close

Read about your favorite stars on ice.

SUBSCRIBE TO GET THE LATEST COVERAGE OF ICE TIME IN YOUR INBOX

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Advertisement
Grand Slam New York

Sign-Up to Our Newsletter

Sign-up!

Receive regular sports updates and news directly in your inbox

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

Advertisement Grand Slam New York

More in Features