Athletes Who Inspire Osaka

Athletes Who Inspire Osaka

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This page features interviews with illustrious Osaka athletes
talking about everything from their community to their dreams.
We’ll read about their sport, their experiences, and what they do for fun.
Exclusively on Sports Osaka!

Vol. 05

Figure skating

Kazuki Tomono

Kazuki Tomono

This time, we talked with figure skater Kazuki Tomono. A native of Sakai City, Osaka Prefecture, he has been active mainly in Kansai since he was a junior. Today, many spectators are fascinated by his expressive performance not only in Japan but also around the world. After graduating from Doshisha University in the spring of 2021, he has devoted himself to figure skating. We interviewed Kazuki, who is aiming to make even bigger leaps forward.

I want to captivate many people
with a performance that makes the world go wild.

Kazuki Tomono


What made you start figure skating?

I started figure skating when I was four years old. There is a skating rink about 10 minutes on foot from my parents' house, and I became interested in figure skating as I often went there to spend time. My mother used to do figure skating when she was young, and I enjoyed skating together, which was also a big reason.
At that time, I didn't really feel like giving my all to figure skating, and I just kept going because I was scared of the coach and couldn't quit. (Laughs) But before I knew it, I had improved enough to participate in the national competition for elementary school students.

Did you practice hard when you were a junior?

When I was in elementary school, I sometimes just wanted to play with my friends. I used to go to practice as soon as school was over and go home after practice. But I made a lot of skating friends and I was happy to meet them, so I never felt that the practice was tough.

When did you bloom as a figure skater?

There was a time when I thought I would quit skating by the time I went to college. It wasn’t that my skating results were bad, but they weren’t particularly good either, like 8th or 10th in the national competition. I didn't expect to represent Japan in the future. So I'm a pretty late bloomer. I’m still growing. (Laughs)

Please tell us why you went to university.

In my last year as a junior, my results were pretty good. I was doing so well that I won all the national championships. Around that time, I got a call from Doshisha University and decided to enroll.
I entered the Faculty of Health and Sports Science. The main reason is that if I were to go on to university, I wanted to learn what I needed most, and I wanted to acquire knowledge about sports.

Was it difficult to balance skating and school?

When I was in university, I went back and forth between Osaka and Kyoto every day. In the morning after practice, I took the train to school, and when classes were over, I went back to Osaka while dozing off on the train, and after practicing again, I went home. To be honest, I can’t believe I was able to do this. (Laughs)
But I loved going to university every day, which was refreshing for me. It was a precious time that allowed me to reflect on myself as not only an athlete but also as a student.

How have you grown by studying at university?

What changed most for me was everyday life. At the Faculty of Health and Sports Science, we focus on learning about health, but it was especially good to learn about diet and nutrition. At university, I asked other athletes and students around me about meal menus and training methods.
While studying training and nutrition, I realized that these were very important for athletes. For example, there were many things that I found useful, such as physical care before and after practice, and how to assemble a daily practice menu.
If you ask me if I was able to manage nutrition properly, I’d say I was eating what I wanted to. (Laughs) But just having that kind of knowledge was a plus for me, and I think it boosted my awareness as an athlete.

You’ve become a full-time figure skater after graduating from university.
Tell us about your future aspirations.

To be honest, I haven't thought about the future yet. After graduating, I spend my days facing myself as a figure skater, so I have more time to think about skating and I feel I'm ready. Of course, I am working on my own goals during the season, and when the season is over, new goals will be born. Anyway, I want to spend every day doing whatever I can.

What are you consciously working on right now?

The quality of my performance has improved very much, and I am now conscious of eliminating any gaps in my performance. I often make small mistakes, so I aim to stay calm without losing my concentration until the end.
And I want to practice hard enough so I won’t have any regrets after the match. I try to practice every day so I won’t regret that I didn’t get enough practice. I believe that the accumulation of practice without regrets leads to strength.

You set a new personal best at the 2021 Rostelecom Cup.
How do you feel about this result?

It was a match where I was able to set my new personal best and feel that I had grown, but I was felt disappointed for the first time when I stood on the podium because I finished 3rd overall. Even though I was leading in 1st place in the short program, to my regret I missed the victory by a small margin. I got a medal, but I'm not satisfied.

Many people say that you are on the rise right now.
What do you think about that?

I think so too. I feel positive and skating is fun. I can feel my growth and I’m glad I've been able to show this growth in my performances. I think I’m able to perform on the world’s big stages, and I’m able to keep my cool when performing.

What do you do on your days off?

I like second-hand clothes, so my favorite way to spend the day is to go to second-hand clothes stores, then go to a public bath or sauna, eat my favorite ramen, and go home. I usually spend my time off with a couple of my friends, but spending the time alone doesn't bother me at all.
On my days off, I don't think about skating at all. I want to get interested in more hobbies so that I can refresh myself. Especially, those that can heal fatigue and let me relax. Right now, I’m a huge fan of public baths and saunas.

You still live in Sakai, Osaka, but what about the future?

I want to live in Osaka forever! One day when I quit skating, I might get a job at a company in Tokyo, but even if that happens, I would like to eventually return to my hometown of Sakai. I just love Sakai! It's a historic city with lots of delicious food, it's easy to live in, and I want to cherish the city where I was born. I want to deepen my love for my hometown.

How about Osaka as an environment for skating?

I think Osaka is definitely better. It has a vibrant skating scene, and there is a national training center for figure skaters in Osaka. There are many excellent ice rinks and training facilities, so Osaka is the best environment in Japan for skating.

Do you have a message for our readers?

I always value how I can deliver my performance to the audience. Figure skating is a sport that can move people regardless of the skaters’ skill and performance level. It’s a sport in which anyone can play a leading role. By facing yourself firmly, discovering your strengths and merits, and refining them, you can deliver performances that impress people. I would like for people who are working hard to improve their figure skating and those who are thinking of starting to feel the same way.
I would like to continue performances that let the audience get to know the person Kazuki Tomono. Of course, it is important to say "Thank you" to everyone who supports you, but I think that the best way to give back is to express gratitude and impress people through excellent performances.

Interviewed on December 6, 2021 Many thanks to Central Sports Co., Ltd.
Note: The content of the article is current as of the interview date.

Check out Kazuki Tomono on social media.


Kazuki Tomono [Kazuki Tomono]

Born in 1998, Kazuki is a native of Sakai City, Osaka Prefecture. He started figure skating at the age of four under the influence of his mother. During his junior years, he practiced rigorously at the Osaka Rinkai Sports Center and gradually became a top performer. Placing in 5th place at the 2018 World Figure Skating Championships put Kazuki in the spotlight, and he has continued to win top prizes in various competitions. In addition to excelling at two types of quadruple jumps, the toe loop and Salchow, his expressive performances are highly rated for captivating the audience.

■ Main results
・ 9th place, 2017 ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships (Taipei)
・ 4th place, 2017 All-Japan Figure Skating Championships (Chofu)
・ 5th place, 2018 ISU World Figure Skating Championships (Milan)
・ 3rd place, 2018 ISU Grand Prix Rostelecom Cup (Moscow)
・ 4th place, 2018 All-Japan Figure Skating Championships (Kadoma)
・ 6th place, 2019 Winter Universiade (Krasnoyarsk)
・ 6th place, 2019 All-Japan Figure Skating Championships (Tokyo)
・ 7th place, 2020 ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships (Seoul)
・ 6th place, 2020 All-Japan Figure Skating Championships (Nagano)
・ 6th place, 2021 ISU Grand Prix Italy (Turin)
・ 3rd place, 2021 ISU Grand Prix Rostelecom Cup (Sochi)
・ 5th place, 2021 All-Japan Figure Skating Championships (Saitama)

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