Photo Credit: Danielle Earl
An annual ice show for figure skating fans since 1986, Stars on Ice showcases famed skaters from around the world performing special programs. Ahead of the U.S. leg of this year’s Stars on Ice tour, APA spoke with two-time World Medalist and four-time Japanese Champion, Satoko Miyahara, about her past, present, and future in her figure skating career.
Although Miyahara retired from competing just a little over a year ago, it wasn’t due to a lack of interest in the sport. “It’s hard to explain, but I didn’t have like a certain goal that I wanted to [achieve], and I was kind of feeling a little overwhelmed. I thought I did my job, and I felt like there [was] nothing to do anymore. Yeah, I knew that I could challenge more difficult techniques, or other kinds of music and everything, but I just thought it was the best timing [to retire].” The Grand Prix, regional competitions, and even the Olympics began to give Miyahara a lot of mental stress, as the desire to be perfect was beginning to take a toll. “I liked competing, but on the other hand, I think I put too much pressure on myself unconsciously. It made me mentally tired entirely.” Proving to be a great move for her, the champion athlete’s enthusiasm for figure skating was also renewed and refreshed following her retirement. “I just really wanted to enjoy skating, and just having an opportunity to attend the shows [like Stars on Ice] gave me so much joy and love. I feel I have so many things that I want to skate with and work on as a pro skater, and it’s making my life much more [full] with happiness.”
Reminiscing about the beginning of her skating career, Miyahara recounted the fateful moment she stumbled upon figure skating at the bottom floor of a shopping mall when she was four years old. “I just wanted to try skating. That was the very first time that I skated, and then I had, like, a skating lesson that was very easy for kids. Then after I went back to Japan, I just naturally continued skating.”
Even with her illustrious career, Miyahara still has a lot left she wants to try. “Actually, I have already made a new program, which is very new for me! I really wanted to have like a fun number or two, so I made a really fun program,” she shared, thinking on what she’s preparing for fans in the future. On her upcoming Stars on Ice performances specifically, she hopes people can feel her emotions through her program. “It’s very different compared to last year’s performance. It’s not a program that everyone can get super energetic [from], as it’s more like sad music. But, I’ll be happy if I can help everyone see my love [for] skating.”
Finishing up our conversation, Satoko describes her style of skating as one of passion. “The music [can be] beautiful, or dramatic, or fun, or anything, but [ultimately], I really put in all my energy, and I really love performing. Skating with my full passion is one of my goals, and it’s one of my things that I [always] want to do.”
As Miyahara and her fellow skaters prepare for the upcoming tour, fans can still purchase tickets to see them at starsonice.com. The U.S. leg of the tour kicks off in Anaheim, CA on May 20th, and will finish up in Hershey, PA, on June 4th.