Shizuka Arakawa (荒川 静香, Arakawa Shizuka, born December 29, 1981) is a retired Japanese figure skater. She is the 2006 Olympic champion and the 2004 World champion. Arakawa is the first Japanese skater to win an Olympic gold medal in figure skating and the second Japanese skater to win any Olympic medal in figure skating, after Midori Ito, who won silver in 1992. She is also the second Japanese woman to win a gold medal at the Winter Olympics, following skier Tae Satoya. She was the only Japanese medalist at the 2006 Winter Olympics.

Shizuka Arakawa
Arakawa at the 2009 Festa On Ice.
Born (1981-12-29) December 29, 1981 (age 42)
Shinagawa, Tokyo, Japan
Height1.66 m (5 ft 5 in)[1]
Figure skating career
Country Japan
Skating clubPrince Hotel
RetiredMay 7, 2006
Medal record
Representing  Japan
Ladies’ Figure Skating
Olympic Games
Gold medal – first place 2006 Turin Singles
World Championships
Gold medal – first place 2004 Dortmund Singles
Four Continents Championships
Silver medal – second place 2003 Beijing Singles
Silver medal – second place 2002 Jeonju Singles
Grand Prix Final
Silver medal – second place 2004–05 Beijing Singles
Bronze medal – third place 2003–04 Colorado Springs Singles

Arakawa retired from competitive skating following her Olympic win and began skating professionally in ice shows and exhibitions. She also works as a skating sportscaster for Japanese television.

Personal life edit

Arakawa was born in Shinagawa, Tokyo, Japan, and grew up in Sendai and its suburbs. She is the only child of Koichi and Sachi Arakawa and was named Shizuka after Shizuka Gozen.[2]

In March 2000, Arakawa enrolled at Waseda University and graduated with a bachelor's degree in social sciences in 2004, while still competing as a skater. She won the 2004 World Figure Skating Championships days after completing her graduation examinations at Waseda University.[3]

She lived and trained for a time at the International Skating Center of Connecticut in Simsbury, Connecticut after the closure of the Konami Sports Ice Rink in Sendai, where she began her career.[3]

Her figure skating idols are Kristi Yamaguchi and Yuka Sato. She listens to music by Christina Aguilera, Beyoncé, Mai Kuraki (who is also a close friend of hers)[4][5] and EXILE, and likes shopping, driving, swimming, golf and practicing marine sports. Arakawa cites gourmet cooking as one of her hobbies. She collects beanie babies, has a pet shih tzu (named Charo) and hamster (named Juntoki). She also has four dogs, named Choco, Tiramisu, Aroma and Rosa.[6]

Arakawa was married on December 29, 2013, her 32nd birthday. Further details were not made public.[7]

On April 16, 2014, Arakawa announced that she was pregnant and expecting her first child.[8] On November 6, 2014, she gave birth to her daughter.[9] On May 23, 2018, it was announced that she had given birth again to her son.[10]

Career edit

Early career edit

When Arakawa was 5 years old,[11] she became interested in skating and entered the Chibikko Skate School. She started ballet lessons at 7. While still 7, Arakawa began training with former Olympian Hiroshi Nagakubo, a pair skater who competed in the 1972 Winter Olympics in Sapporo, Japan. She was landing triple Salchows at age 8.

In 1994, she began participating in Japanese national skating competitions. She was named the 1994, 1995, 1996 All Japan Junior Figure athlete. Arakawa progressed through the Japanese ranks quickly and was the first skater in Japan to win three consecutive junior national titles.[12]

Senior career edit

Arakawa performs a donut spin at the 2003 Skate Canada International in her free skate to Violin Fantasy on the opera Turandot.

Arakawa was the senior national Japanese champion in both 1998 and 1999. She made her Olympic debut when she represented Japan in the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano at age 16. The Emperor and Empress of Japan attended the ladies' free skate event. She placed 13th at the Nagano Olympics. At that time, she was ranked number 2 in Japan. In 2002, Arakawa finished second at Japan's national championships and, as a result, was not named to the Japanese 2002 Winter Olympics team.

During the 2002–2003 skating season, Arakawa won the Asian Winter Games and the Winter Universiade. She earned her second consecutive silver medal at the Four Continents Championships. She took the bronze at the NHK Trophy, and placed fifth at the Cup of Russia. She qualified for the ISU Grand Prix Final, where she finished fourth. She later placed third at the Japanese Nationals, marking her fifth medal from this meet, with two golds and two silvers from previous seasons.

In 2004, she won the World Championships in Dortmund, Germany, after landing seven clean triple jumps. She was the third Japanese woman to win this title after Midori Ito who won in 1989 and Yuka Sato in 1994. Arakawa had planned to retire after the 2004 World Championships, but her victory there convinced her to change her plans.

At the 2005 World Championships, Arakawa finished 9th, a disappointment which she later credited as a motivation to stay in the sport and regain top form. She felt she could not quit on such a down note. In November 2005, Arakawa changed coaches to Nikolai Morozov.

2006 Winter Olympics edit

Arakawa performs a Kerrigan spiral in her exhibition to "Memory" from Cats at the 2004 NHK Trophy.

At the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy, Arakawa skated in the short program to Fantaisie-Impromptu by Chopin. She went into the long program in third place, behind pre-event favorites Sasha Cohen and Irina Slutskaya. Less than a point separated the top three skaters. In the long program, Cohen was the first of the three leaders to skate, followed by Arakawa and Slutskaya. Cohen fell twice during her long program, leaving the door open to the other leaders.

Arakawa won the free program, skating to Vanessa Mae's Violin Fantasy on Puccini's Turandot by Giacomo Puccini. She performed an Ina Bauer and then did a three jump combination. "Ina Bauer" became a household word in Japan as a result.[13][14] Although she had planned two triple-triple combinations for the free skate, she did not perform them, doing instead a triple Lutz-double loop and a triple Salchow-double toe loop combinations. Arakawa earned a total combined score of 191.34 points, almost eight points ahead of the second-place Cohen (183.36). Like Cohen, Slutskaya made mistakes in her long program, and ended up taking bronze, leaving Arakawa as the gold medal winner, which was also Japan's only medal of the 2006 games.[15][16][17] Slutskaya was third at 181.44. At age 24, Arakawa became the oldest women's Olympic skating champion in more than 80 years.[18] Florence "Madge" Cave Syers from the United Kingdom was the oldest when she won the Olympic title at age 27 at the 1908 Summer Olympics, which featured the first Olympic figure skating events.[19]

After winning her Olympic title, Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi called Arakawa in Turin, Italy to congratulate her. Koizumi said, "I cheered for you with excitement while I watched television. All the Japanese people are rejoicing. I give a perfect score to every bit of your performance."[20]

Professional career edit

Arakawa retired after her Olympic victory. She continued to skate in ice shows and is a regular skating commentator on Japanese television.[21] She competed at the 2006 Ice Wars on the World team. She also produces her own show, Friends on Ice,[22] and is a recurring cast member at Fantasy on Ice, where she performed with Mai Kuraki to the charity song "Anata ga Irukara" in 2011 amongst others.[23] Arakawa also does choreography.[24]

In 2006, Arakawa appeared in a Japanese TV drama, Shichinin no onna bengoshi (7 female lawyers), presented by Asahi TV. She played the role of a cool public prosecutor, Yayoi Shimasaki, in the 8th episode.

She competed in an ABC skating series "Thin Ice," aired on March 19, 2010, paired with 2006 Olympic men's silver medallist Stéphane Lambiel. They came first in the viewer's votes, and ended the series in third place, winning a total of $45,000. They skated to the songs "Get Me Bodied" by Beyoncé and "Magic" by Robin Thicke.

On April 18, 2018, it was announced Arakawa was elected to the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame.[25]

Signature moves edit

Arakawa performs her signature layback Ina Bauer in her exhibition to You Raise Me Up by Celtic Woman at the 2006 Olympics.

Arakawa is known for her jumping ability, particularly her difficult triple-triple combinations, like the triple Salchow-triple toe and the triple Lutz-triple toe, sometimes combined with a double loop. She has executed triple-triple-triple combinations in practice, the most of which have been the triple Salchow-triple toe-triple loop combination. She has also executed the triple Lutz-triple loop combination in practice.[26]

Arakawa is known for the quietness of her blades.[17] She is also a strong spinner. She has an excellent donut spin, a difficult variation of the Camel spin, that requires great flexibility. In 2004, she added a Biellmann spin to her repertoire. Arakawa's signature spiral is a Y-spiral where she releases her free leg and completes the spiral with her leg still close to her head, without the hand assist.[27]

Her trademark move is the Ina Bauer with a full backbend. Due to Arakawa's use of this move during her free skate at the 2006 Olympics, the term "Ina Bauer" became very popular in Japan, and Arakawa's performance of it became iconic. The Ina Bauer move is often referred to in Japan by Arakawa's name.[14]

Awards and honors edit

Japan Medals of Honor

Japanese Olympic Committee

  • JOC Sports Award- Special Achievement Award (2002), Best Award (2005)[29]


World Figure Skating Hall of Fame

  • Class of 2018 inductee[25]

Programs edit

Season Short program Free skating Exhibition



  • Tempest
    by Fritz Kreisler
  • Giselle

Competitive highlights edit

Arakawa on the podium at the 2004 NHK Trophy.

GP: Grand Prix / Champions Series

Event 93–94 94–95 95–96 96–97 97–98 98–99 99–00 00–01 01–02 02–03 03–04 04–05 05–06
Olympics 13th 1st
Worlds 22nd 8th 1st 9th
Four Continents 6th 6th 2nd 2nd
GP Final 4th 3rd 2nd
GP Cup of China 3rd
GP Cup of Russia 7th 5th 2nd
GP Lalique/Bompard 9th 6th 2nd 3rd
GP Nations/Spark. 7th 5th
GP NHK Trophy 7th 6th 8th 5th 3rd 1st
GP Skate America 9th 4th 3rd
GP Skate Canada 2nd
Nebelhorn Trophy 2nd 1st
St. Gervais 2nd
Asian Games 2nd 1st
Universiade 1st
International: Junior[38]
Junior Worlds 8th 7th 8th
Japan Champ. 2nd 1st 1st 5th 2nd 2nd 3rd 3rd WD 3rd
Japan Jr. Champ. 7th 1st 1st 1st

Media appearances edit

DVD edit

Book edit

  • Tira mi su―だから私はがんばれる! (2006)- ISBN 978-4-04-883963-1
  • 金メダルへの道(2006)- ISBN 978-4-14-081126-9
  • LEGEND OF THE ATHLETE荒川静香物語 (2007) – ISBN 978-4-08-874369-1

References edit

  1. ^ "Shizuka Arakawa". International Skating Union. Retrieved 31 August 2017.
  2. ^ にじいろジーン
  3. ^ a b Shizuka Arakawa Official Web Site Profile
  4. ^ Check out Kuraki Mai on ‘Music Lovers’
  5. ^ Music Lovers (January 22, 2012)[permanent dead link]. Nippon Television.
  6. ^ Asahi Shimbun Digital
  7. ^ Sanspo (December 29, 2013) Shizuka Arakawa marries on her 32nd birthday! Partner was not announced Archived February 2, 2014, at the Wayback Machine. Sankei Digital Inc.
  8. ^ (April 17, 2014) Turin gold medalist Arakawa pregnant. The Japan Times.
  9. ^ (November 12, 2014) Arakawa Shizuka gives birth to her first child. Tokyo Hive.
  10. ^ (May 24, 2018) 荒川静香さん、第2子男児出産「何事にも精一杯力を注いで参りたい
  11. ^ Mittan, Barry (August 30, 2003). "Japan's Arakawa Finishes Long Season". GoldenSkate. Archived from the original on May 12, 2008. Retrieved April 13, 2011.
  12. ^ 全日本フィギュアスケートジュニア選手権大会 女子シングル
  13. ^ THE ARAKAWA EFFECT Skater's Gold Medal Inspires Young Japanese (April 21, 2006) web-japan, April 21, 2006, accessed 2011/12/02
  14. ^ a b Trendy Japanese #12:Ina Bauer (a figure skating technique) Archived 2011-12-11 at the Wayback Machine ALC, 2006/4/5, accessed 2011/12/02
  15. ^ Knapp, Gwen (February 24, 2006). "Heartbreak again dominant theme on the ice". San Francisco Chronicle. Hearst Communications Inc.
  16. ^ Zinser, Lynn (February 24, 2006). "A Night of Nerves Is Settled on a Turn of Elegance". The New York Times. Retrieved August 21, 2010.
  17. ^ a b Zeigler, Mark (February 24, 2006). "Losing her feat". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved August 21, 2010.
  18. ^ Knapp, Gwen (February 25, 2006). "A golden princess: Quiet deserving winner". San Francisco Chronicle. Hearst Communications Inc. Archived from the original on June 4, 2011. Retrieved August 21, 2010.
  19. ^ "Content Management System". Archived from the original on 2011-07-11. Retrieved 2008-12-30.
  20. ^ "Archived copy" (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 2008-01-06. Retrieved 2008-01-03.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  21. ^ Remmel, Ia (August 8, 2011). "Shizuka Arakawa enjoys show skating". Absolute Skating. Retrieved August 21, 2010.
  22. ^ Friends on Ice 2009
  23. ^ 荒川静香×倉木麻衣、チャリティー動画を配信 [Shizuka Arakawa × Mai Kuraki, charity video distribution]. (in Japanese). Minato, Tokyo: Japan Music Network Inc. September 1, 2011. Archived from the original on February 12, 2018.
  24. ^ Wakamizu, Hiroshi (November 9, 2011). "Arakawa lends touch of grace to young hopeful". Yomiuri Shimbun. Retrieved November 9, 2011.
  25. ^ a b "Figure Skating: Turin Olympic champion Shizuka Arakawa elected to Hall of Fame". Kyodo News+. Retrieved 2018-04-18.
  26. ^ Shizuka Arakawa Triple-Triple-Triple Combo
  27. ^ "image".
  28. ^ "平成18年度第1回理事会議事録" (PDF). Retrieved 2015-12-13.
  29. ^ "JOCスポーツ賞 年度賞・特別栄誉賞". Retrieved 2015-12-13.
  30. ^ "名誉県民・県民栄誉賞 - 宮城県公式ウェブサイト". Retrieved 2015-12-13.
  31. ^ "Shizuka ARAKAWA: 2005/2006". International Skating Union. Archived from the original on July 2, 2006.
  32. ^ "Shizuka ARAKAWA: 2005/2006". International Skating Union. Archived from the original on November 1, 2005.
  33. ^ "Shizuka ARAKAWA: 2004/2005". International Skating Union. Archived from the original on April 3, 2005.
  34. ^ "Shizuka ARAKAWA: 2003/2004". International Skating Union. Archived from the original on June 3, 2004.
  35. ^ "Shizuka ARAKAWA: 2002/2003". International Skating Union. Archived from the original on June 8, 2003.
  36. ^ "Shizuka ARAKAWA: 2001/2002". International Skating Union. Archived from the original on June 2, 2002.
  37. ^ a b "Shizuka ARAKAWA: 2000/2001". International Skating Union. Archived from the original on July 17, 2001.
  38. ^ a b "Competition Results: Shizuka ARAKAWA". International Skating Union. Archived from the original on December 3, 2013.

External links edit