Shoma Uno confirms new coaching set-up with World Championships in sight
The Olympic silver medallist's win in Tokyo secured his spot on Japan's team at March's World Championships in Montreal, Canada, and also netted him a selection for February's Four Continents Championships in Seoul, South Korea.
However, Uno has now declined his selection for the Korean event, while at the same time officially confirming his new coach, Torino 2006 Olympic medallist Stéphane Lambiel.
In a statement issued by the Japanese Skating Federation, Uno said he and Lambiel would "continue to devote ourselves day to day, and will do our utmost to showcase the performance that will be the culmination of the season at the World Championships."
The JSF listed the official reason for the rejection of the spot as "a new coach has been decided and the practice base has moved overseas". Kazuki Tomono will replace Uno at Four Continents.
It was not a move that paid off right away, with Uno struggling badly in his Grand Prix season debut at the Internationaux de France in Grenoble, falling multiple times in both the short program and free skate.
At his second Grand Prix of the year, the Rostelecom Cup in Moscow, Uno linked up with Lambiel in a one-off capacity. Then, at Nationals, the 22-year-old accidentally let slip that Lambiel was his new coach.
Now, it's official.
The pair will now work together with their immediate short-term goal being the Montreal World Championships, where Uno is expected to represent Japan alongside Hanyu and Keiji Tanaka.
Uno had featured in the Olympic Channel series Is It Possible? asking whether a quintuple jump will ever be achieved, but his new coach has told Olympic Channel he does not believe skaters should be aiming for such an achievement.
Quintuples: a natural evolution or a jump too far?
Quintuples: a natural evolution or a jump too far?Quads are now commonplace in figure skating with Yuzuru Hanyu determined to land a quad Axel (four and a half rotations) before he retires. But what about quintuple jumps? Find out why Olympic silver medallist Stephane Lambiel from Switzerland believes quints are unnecessary saying, "I don't need to see it".
Uno says he and Lambiel intend to work more on his jumps and overall program.
In the JSF statement explaining his absence from Four Continents, the Nagoya-born skater said: "Since the start of the year, as my base this season has moved overseas in earnest, my first step is to get used to my new environment and keep my feet on the ground.
"For the World Championships, along with improving my jump accuracy, I also want to improve the degree of my program's completeness with Mr Lambiel.
"So, this time, I have made this choice [to withdraw].
"Everyone looking forward to the Four Continents Championships, [...] I'm sorry for the worry and inconvenience.
"Thank you for your continued support."