Japanese figure skating great Uno Shoma retires from competition

Japanese figure skating star Uno Shoma has announced his retirement. The 26-year-old collected several Olympic medals and world championship titles over the course of a glittering career.

"I feel very positive about my retirement," Uno said at a news conference on May 14. "I have no regrets."

He cited the recent retirement of his chief rival as a factor behind his decision to hang up the skates. "I started thinking about it about two years ago," he said. "The retirement of long-time rivals, like Hanyu Yuzuru, made me feel lonely. That's when I started thinking about my own career-end."

Glittering career

The Aichi Prefecture native started skating when he was five, inspired by Asada Mao. He stood out right away, making a name for himself at international events with his ability to perform difficult jumps. In 2016, he became the first skater to land a quadruple flip in competition.

Though he was often overshadowed by Hanyu's historic performances, Uno collected his fair share of hardware. He won the silver in men's singles at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics, then followed that up with bronze at the 2022 Beijing Games. He further burnished his legacy with back-to-back titles at the World Figure Skating Championships in 2022 and 2023.

Uno says he was always chasing Hanyu Yuzuru.

Uno said he always trained with the goal of catching Hanyu and United States superstar Nathan Chen.

"I'm not sure I ever reached their level, but I did all I could during my competitive career," he said.

Hanyu paid tribute to his longtime rival. He said that, having competed against him for so long, he knows how hard Uno worked throughout his career. He wished Uno good luck and happiness, adding that he looks forward to sharing the rink with him again in the future.

What's next

Uno said he's looking forward to the next chapter and the chance to finally skate in a non-competitive setting.

"I'll be able to perform freely since I won't be going up against anyone," he said. "I can choose to jump, spin — whatever I want. I think this matches the way I want to live."

He added that he will continue to follow figure skating, now as a fan.

"Figure skating has really evolved in the past few years, including in terms of skill," he said. "I'm really excited about the future of the sport."

Uno says he is grateful for having had a wonderful athletic career.