Yukina’s introduction to the world of figure skating was a matter of luck. Her parents wanted her to become involved in sports and took her to a local sports complex in their hometown of Kyoto. The swimming pool was overcrowded, so her parents led her to the ice rink. And the rest is history…
Yukina was born on November 26, 1986, in Kyoto, the middle of three children. After her initial foray onto the ice as a young girl, her talent was spotted and she joined the Kyoto Daigo Figure Skating Club in 1993. In addition to skating, Yukina enjoys skiing, playing the piano and calligraphy. Her hero is 1994 World champion Yuka Sato, whom she has met.
Yukina seemed to burst onto the scene in 2003, when she finished an impressive fourth at the Japanese national senior championships and became the World Junior champion. She followed up this breakthrough year in 2004 when she added the Four Continents Championship title to her resume with a series of beautiful artistic performances. She also placed highly at the Skate Canada and NHK Trophy Grand Prix events.
Yukina’s 2004-05 season was her second on the senior Grand Prix circuit and it was hoped that she would propel herself to the top echelon of ladies’ skating. However, knee injuries hampered her at Skate America (although she skated to a highly respectable seventh-place finish) and forced her withdrawal from the NHK Trophy, the Japanese Championships and the Four Continents Championship held in Korea. These withdrawals prevented her from qualifying for her first senior World Championships.
Forced to take the entire 2005-06 season off from competitive skating due to her injuries, Yukina kept active by performing with the Ice Theatre of New York in the fall of 2005, to which she brought her stunning artistic flair. Later that season, she moved her base to Colorado Springs and the famous Broadmoor Skating Club to try to regain her technique for the next season and also to explore ice dancing. Yukina decided to continue as a singles skater despite her lingering injuries. In the spring and summer of 2006, she participated in exhibitions such as the "Prince Ice World" show and "Dreams On Ice" in Japan. In June of 2006, she competed for the first time in almost two years, and finished a respectable fourth at her training center's Broadmoor Open.
After a developmental year in 2006-07, Yukina did some summer training at the Toronto Cricket, Skating and Curling Club in Toronto and talked with Japan Skates about her comeback in an informative exclusive interview. Yukina recorded excellent results in 2007-08, notably a fourth-place result at Golden Spin of Zagreb and a seventh-place result at the All-Japan championship. In another interview with Japan Skates with her friend Ryo Shibata in August of 2008 during some more summer training in Toronto, Yukina announced her commitment to the 2008-09 season. Unfortunately, Yukina was forced to retire from competitive skating due to her injuries in the fall of 2008. Now thriving as a pro, Yukina skates in ice shows and has begun inspiring young skaters as a coach.
Yukina is a good friend of Japan Skates and says she checks in every day! We wish our friend all the best in her professional career. YOU'RE THE BEST, YUKINA!