Koshiro Shimada - “I really want to gain more experience this year!“
By Judith Dombrowski
If I wouldn’t just be writing about Figure skating, but be a skater myself, I’d choose Koshiro Shimada from Japan as my ideal training partner. You see him constantly smiling during practices, same times working very hard and concentrated, and motivating and encouraging his teammates. But not only his positive personality, also his two very catching and entertaining new programs stood out for me during the training sessions, that I was able to watch in Champéry. So I was really happy to be able to sit down and talk with him about his plans for the season:
Nice to see you again, how are you doing?
I am doing very good. We are training very hard right now at the Summer Camp to get in shape for this year.
In which way does this camp help you best?
I like this atmosphere that we support and help each other. That’s the biggest specialty of this camp.
You are having additional classes. Ballet, Parkour, Musical, Hip-Hop. What do you enjoy the most?
The Musical classes are really fun for me. Especially because we have a presentation at the end of the two weeks. We have to perform what we’ve learned in front of the parents and the coaches. That’s the most fun moment.
Where would you say you learn the most?
For now I would say I am really focused on the ice. I am looking for my NHK Trophy selection. That’s why I have to focus on my on-ice training a lot. Of the off-ice activities I have to say I really liked the Parkour because it’s something unusual for us, so we learn a lot and it’s really fun.
You said you are going for the NHK Trophy selection. When and where will that be?
It will be in September. 11th of September.
Yes, it’s at my birthday. I will be going to Japan for it. I am not really sure yet how we will do it travel wise, what the regulations for coming into Japan will be then, but I will be leaving here on 24th of August.
All the best and good luck for that.
You created two totally new programs this season, even though you unfortunately didn’t have too many chances to perform your old ones. Why did you decide to do two new programs?
We didn’t even talk about the option of keeping the old programs. I wanted to perform something new and we found new good music. We choreographed both programs with Stéphane in spring.
Your new Short Program is to the song „Giving up“ by Donny Hathaway. It’s a really slow, emotional and bluesy song. Why did you choose it?
It was Stéphane’s idea, he really liked that music and I really like it too. It’s really emotional and very romantic and has some sad moments. It’s a love song. This year I will turn 20 so I want to perform a really adult, mature program.
When I read the title of the song I thought you hopefully didn’t consider giving up during the last, difficult season?
I agree, the title is indeed a bit strange. Especially in the Olympic season. But I am of course not giving up yet. It’s really only about the music. When Stéphane and I listened to the song we thought: Wow, that’s really good music, but then we saw the title we were like: oops! laughs
The Free Program is Charlie Chaplin where you are showing some acting skills.
Yes, I am at some point. I had another Charlie Chaplin program when I was really young, around 14 or 15. So it’s kind of a remake to show how I improved from that age. Stéphane says that when he sees me performing this Free Program it’s like a movie and I really want to bring that feeling to people at competitions.
Is there a specific story that you are telling in your “movie“ then?
You know there are so many Charlie Chaplin movies, I try to combine some ideas of them.
What are your goals, where do you want to improve specifically this season?
I really want to gain more experience this year. That’s why I am trying to get the NHK Trophy spot. Last year I only participated in two competitions, one was a very small local competition - the Swiss Cup in Olten and the other one was very big - Japanese Nationals. I really want to perform more this season. So the plan is right now to first do the selection, after that I will maybe skate at Tokyo Regionals, then Sectionals. Maybe I will stay in Japan during that time but we are not sure yet. We also want to do one Challenger, but I am not sure yet which one.
How was traveling between Switzerland and Japan during the Pandemic? Where you able to see your family at all?
I was able to see my mom around Nationals. But I actually didn’t see my brother because of the situation. It seemed too risky and we decided not to come all together. That was a little bit sad, but we still keep in touch and it’s good for me to know that everyone is healthy so that’s the most important thing for me. And I will see them soon now.
Jump-wise we saw a big Quad Lutz last year from you on Instagram, which was really impressive. Are you planing to put it into the program?
I was a little bit injured and because of that I am mainly doing quad Toeloop and quad Salchow right now, they are going okay. The quad Toe is not as consistent right now as it had been already last year, but I still keep doing it and I hope it will improve. I didn’t try the quad Lutz for quite a while now, but the feeling about it last year was actually quite good. I landed it a few times and I hope I can try it at competition at some point.
So you know you have it within yourself.
As a last question: You started studying psychology last year. How is that going?
It’s going quite well. I am very interested in these human psychological mechanisms. I feel like that it’s very helpful for myself, my mindset and everything in figure skating. So it’s very fun. But now I am on summer holidays, so for now it’s nice and peaceful and I enjoy my time. It will start again in fall.
So everything will be speeding up in your life again pretty soon it seems. All the best for everything, good travels to Japan and I hope to see you smile at a lot of competitions this season.