Winter Olympics: Japan's Shoma Uno puts on brave face as coach tests positive | Inquirer Sports
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Winter Olympics: Japan’s Shoma Uno puts on brave face as coach tests positive

/ 06:46 PM February 03, 2022
FILE PHOTO: Figure Skating - ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating - NHK Trophy - Yoyogi National Stadium 1st Gymnasium, Tokyo, Japan - November 13, 2021 Japan's Shoma Uno celebrates winning the gold medal in the men's competition

FILE PHOTO: Figure Skating – ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating – NHK Trophy – Yoyogi National Stadium 1st Gymnasium, Tokyo, Japan – November 13, 2021 Japan’s Shoma Uno celebrates winning the gold medal in the men’s competition REUTERS/Issei Kato

BEIJING— Japanese figure skater Shoma Uno said on Thursday that he was unworried by his Swiss coach still awaiting clearance to travel to Beijing after a positive COVID-19 test, but expressed some doubt over how it could affect his performance at the Olympics.

A silver medalist in South Korea four years ago, Uno is regarded as a strong medal contender at the Beijing Winter Games along with compatriot Yuzuru Hanyu and American Nathan Chen, and he is also among the possible competitors for the team event that starts on Friday with the men’s short program.

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Delivering an update on his COVID-19 status on Instagram, Uno’s coach, Stephane Lambiel, said he had no symptoms, was fully vaccinated and boosted, had tested negative since and was “waiting a few more days” before traveling to Beijing.

“I can sense that everyone is concerned for me,” Uno told reporters after his first practice session at Beijing’s Capital Indoor Stadium on Thursday.

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“I’m not worried, per se. But for me, I equate Stephane with competition, so I have this doubt in my mind as to whether I would be able to switch to game-mode without him. I honestly don’t know how it will go.”

Uno has credited Lambiel – an Olympic silver medalist himself – for extending his figure skating career when he had contemplated retiring.

The 24-year-old relocated to Switzerland to train with Lambiel in 2019 but the pandemic has forced him to work mostly on his own in Japan and resort to online coaching from the two-time world champion.

“I think it’s almost as hard for a coach to not be able to be here as it is for an athlete. I really hope that he will be able to arrive here as soon as possible.”

Lambiel also coaches Latvian Deniss Vasiljevs, who will start his competition on Feb. 8.

“I am sad that I can’t be there for the start of their Olympic experience, but I look forward to joining them as soon as it will be safe for everyone,” Lambiel wrote on Instagram.

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TAGS: Beijing 2022, Japan, Shoma Uno, Winter Olympics
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