Along with Fumie Suguri, Yoshie Onda has likely been the most recognizable and successful Japanese figure skater over the last five years. Her unmistakable athletic style, innovative music choices and determination to succeed have made her a fan favorite.
Yoshie was born in Nagoya on December 13, 1982. She began skating in 1990. In time she started training at the Tokai Gauen University Skating Club, under the direction of Machiko Yamada.
After visits to the World Championships and Four Continents Championships in 2000 and 2001, Yoshie’s true breakthrough season was 2001-02. That season saw her qualify for the Grand Prix Final in Kitchener, Ontario, at which she competed against eventual Olympic medallists Sarah Hughes, Irina Slutskaya and Michelle Kwan. Her 17th place result at Salt Lake City gave her the valuable experience necessary for a stellar fifth place finish at the ensuing Worlds in Nagano, Japan. After the competition, Yoshie participated with the other top finishers at the gala exhibition in front of the Crown Prince and Princess of Japan.
Yoshie’s outgoing athletic style and trademark ponytail were modified following the Salt Lake City Olympics. A more mature look and successful concentration on her artistic presentation have characterized her ever since. Yoshie has skated to dramatic music ranging from classical pieces to traditional Japanese music to electronica. Moving to Washington, D.C. to train with Audrey Weisiger succeeded in bringing more joy and expressiveness to her skating.
In 2005, Yoshie relocated to Toronto's Granite Club to train with Josée Chouinard, in hopes of rounding out her skating and maximizing her potential under the new Code of Points. She talked about her career move in an exclusive interview with Japan Skates. Her first stop was a bronze medal at Skate America in Atlantic City, after which she talked to us in a second interview. Her season's highlight was the Japanese championships, where she skated brilliant programs en route to a fourth place finish. Yoshie also returned to the World Championships, held in Calgary.
Although the stacked talent on the Japanese ladies skating team kept her off the World Championship teams, Yoshie experienced great success on the Grand Prix tour and at the Four Continents Championships. Yoshie skated perhaps her two greatest programs at the 2005 Four Continents in Korea, finishing a close second to Fumie Suguri. She has also won the NHK Trophy (which she considers her greatest performance) and the Bofrost Cup in Germany.
Yoshie’s hobbies include fitness and fast cars, quite a departure from her teammates who excel in the arts and ballet (which Yoshie dislikes practicing!). Yoshie’s personality also stands apart from the other Japanese ladies; a top skating photographer, who describes her as a fun prankster, says, “You never know what she will do next”.
Yoshie returned to the Granite Club for the 2006-07 season, her last as a competitive skater. Yoshie went out on a high note with high finishes at the All-Japan championships, Cup of Russia and the Four Continents championships. Yoshie is now a member of Japan Skates' Hall of Fame. We often see her at various events and she always stops to say hello to us. We wish her all the best.