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[ICE TIME] Exclusive: Legend Brian Boitano Raves About Working with Kinoshita Group Skaters at Kyoto Camp

Brian Boitano explained the joy of the experience: "I really like working with elite skaters and giving them little secrets that make a big difference."



Brian Boitano
Brian Boitano trains with two-time world junior champion Mao Shimada in Kyoto. (INSTAGRAM)

Read the full story on SportsLook - [ICE TIME] Exclusive: Legend Brian Boitano Raves About Working with Kinoshita Group Skaters at Recent Camp

SAN JOSE, California ― Former Olympic champion Brian Boitano came away from his recent five-day intensive training camp with skaters from the Kinoshita Group thoroughly impressed.

The American, who won the gold at the 1988 Calgary Games, was clearly stunned by the group that he worked with in Kyoto, which included two-time world junior champion Mao Shimada, plus world competitors Mone Chiba and Hana Yoshida.

"They were the most talented group of skaters I have ever seen in one ice rink," Boitano declared on the phone in an exclusive interview with Ice Time during the week of April 21-27. "All of them were so good. They were all the way from 12 years old until 24. Even the pairs skaters, like Sumitada Moriguchi, were jumping at a single skater level. It was amazing."

Boitano detailed for Ice Time just how his trip to Kansai came about.

"Mie Hamada talked to Yuka Sato, who talked to my coach Linda [Leaver] and I, and Yuka said, 'Mie would like to have you come out [to Japan],' " Boitano stated. "She has taught your jumping technique for years and you were her favorite skater. Mie would love to have you come."

What followed was a wonderful opportunity for the Kinoshita kids to learn up close from a skater who, in addition to his Olympic triumph, was also a two-time world champion and a four-time US titlist.

Brian Boitano
Brian Boitano in the spring of 2024. (Courtesy of Brian Boitano)

An Enjoyable Experience Working with Hamada's Skaters

Boitano, who does not coach and rarely accepts invitations to give seminars, went all out for Hamada's charges.

"We were on the ice for five days from 11 AM until 6 or 6:45 PM," Boitano noted. "Then we would have an off-ice discussion for about an hour and a half afterward. They were really good, long days."

Boitano sounded almost as thrilled as the young skaters he instructed must have been.

"This was right in my wheelhouse, because I really like working with elite skaters and giving them little secrets that make a big difference," Boitano commented. "I really like doing that and I knew that all of these skaters would be really top-rate."

Brian Boitano
Brian Boitano helps train Japanese skaters in Kyoto. (INSTAGRAM)

Boitano said he prepared well ahead of the long flight from San Francisco to Osaka.

"I had watched their videos to see what I felt they needed," Boitano remarked. "Honestly, I really liked everything that I saw. I was even questioning if I had anything valuable to offer them. But when I got there and started changing things, they were so receptive.

"It was great for me and it was great for them," Boitano added. "I was really pleased and I felt like I was handing my information down, which is a nice feeling."

Brian Boitano
Brian Boitano shares a happy moment with skater Sumika Kanazawa. (Courtesy of Brian Boitano)

Wowed By the Drive of Young Skaters

Boitano gave Ice Time a couple of examples of the determination he saw from the skaters.


"There was a little girl named Riria Kono, who was 12," Boitano recalled. "Anything that I asked her to do, she was able to do. They were just a great group of good skaters."

A day after our conversation, Boitano sent me a text with another tale to tell.

"I thought of another story that I forgot to tell you which really shows the level of commitment that those skaters have," Boitano wrote. He added, "I challenged the young skater Sumika Kanazawa (a novice) to do a very difficult triple combination, it was waltz jump, loop, loop, loop, triple loop, half loop, triple salchow, step double axel, and she tried it over and over again probably 30 times and did it very successfully.

"The next day I came in and I said if she can do that combination again, I will give her two pastries, and I put the pastries on the rail," Boitano detailed. "She said she did so many the day before that she was really sore, and that she needed a little time in the session to think about it. But she would try it again, and I gave her the entire session to do it, and she finally did do it."

Continue reading the full story on SportsLook.


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.