What next for figure skating star Shoma Uno after coach split?

The Olympic silver medallist's next move is unclear as he looks to challenge figure skating superstars Yuzuru Hanyu and Nathan Chen

Now what, Shoma Uno?

The PyeongChang 2018 figure skating silver medallist is pondering his next move after confirming that he is leaving long-time coaches Machiko Yamada and Mihoko Higuchi.

"I have not yet decided on my future, but first of all I will go to train in various places abroad. [The] journey starts soon. I want to take a step forward. Thanks to my teachers who have always supported me. It is time to start something new," the 21-year-old posted on his official website.

Uno is entering unchartered territory as he has trained with Yamada and Higuchi since he was five years old.

He is a two-time world silver medallist but failed to make the podium on home soil at last season's World Championships in Saitama, Japan, finishing fourth.

There is additional pressure to choose his new coach and training base quickly: the Grand Prix assignments for the upcoming season will be decided on 20 June.

But who will be the right choice for Uno in his quest to challenge Yuzuru Hanyu and Nathan Chen?

Two-time Olympic champion Hanyu is with star coach Brian Orser, while Rafael Arutunian is taking care of reigning world champion Chen, suggesting both coaches could be out of the picture.

Enter the Russian connection.

Shoma Uno and his long-time coaches Machiko Yamada and Mihoko Higuchi.
Shoma Uno and his long-time coaches Machiko Yamada and Mihoko Higuchi.Shoma Uno and his long-time coaches Machiko Yamada and Mihoko Higuchi.

From Russia with open arms

Reports in the Russian media suggest that Uno's representatives have held talks with Eteri Tutberidze, who has led Alina Zagitova to Olympic and world titles. The savvy Moscow-based Russian is currently coaching Zagitova and two-time world junior champion Alexandra Trusova. Apart from talented junior Daniil Samsonov, there is no strong male skater in her group.

Daniil Gleichengauz, the choregrapher of the Tutberidze group, gave some interesting insight on working with a top level non-Russian skater.

"Who would I like to work with? With Yuzuru Hanyu, Nathan Chen, but they have great programs now. However, perhaps I will put the program of a foreign singles skater of a rather high level together," he revealed in the program 'Figurka'.

Training with St. Petersburg-based Alexei Mishin could also be an option. The former mentor of Russian legends Evgeni Plushenko and Alexei Yagudin is currently coaching European champion Sofia Samodurova and Elizaveta Tuktamysheva.

"Ice Time" brought up two options in the USA.

Alex Ouriashev, who has already spent time with Uno in the past working on improving his jumps.

And Tom Zakrajsek, who has also made a name for himself as a jump specialist.

Whatever decision Uno will take, he will need to leave his comfort zone.

Quintuple jumps

Speaking of comfort zone, Uno was the first skater to successfully land a quadruple flip in international competition.

No quintuple jump has ever been attempted in a competition before. The feat would involve a figure skater completing five full rotations in the air and landing successfully.

Uno previously told Olympic Channel that a quint "requires a high level of technique and you might get injured."

It's uncharted territory for us as there is no-one that ever landed it before. But if someone hit a quintuple then many skaters would follow. - Shoma Uno to Olympic Channel

You can watch Uno talking about quintuple jumps here:

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