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Shizuka Arakawa - Japan's First Ladies Olympic Figure Skating Champion

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2006 Olympic Figure Skating Champion Shizuka Arakawa

2006 Olympic Figure Skating Champion Shizuka Arakawa

Photo by Al Bello - Getty Images

Japan's First Ladies Olympic Figure Skating Champion:

2006 Olympic Figure Skating Champion Shizuka Arakawa is Japan's first ever ladies figure skating Olympic Champion.

Date of Birth:

December 29, 1981

Place of Birth:

Shinagawa, Tokyo, Japan

Family:

Shizuka Arakawa is the only child of Koichi and Sachi Arakawa. She grew up in Sendai, Miyagi.

Early Skating:

Arakawa began skating when she was five years old. It has been said that she began landing triple jumps when she was eight years old. She began to compete in national Japanese figure skating events in 1994.

Shizuka Arakawa's Olympics:

At the age of sixteen, in 1998, Shizuka Arakawa competed for Japan in the Olympics in Nagano. Japan. She did not qualify for the 2002 Winter Olympics, so she did not participate in the 2002 Olympic Games.

Shizuka Arakawa was not the favorite to win in 2006, but she skated a perfect long program and pulled up from third place to win the Olympic title.

Arakawa was twenty-four years old when she won the Olympic Figure Skating title. That made her the oldest women's Olympic figure skating champion since 1908 Olympic Figure Skating Champion Florence "Madge" Cave Syers. Syers won at the age of twenty-seven.

Education:

Arakawa graduated from Waseda University in 2004. She won the 2004 World Figure Skating Championships at the time she was completing her college education.

Hobbies and Interests:

Shizuka Arakawa enjoys gourmet cooking, swimming and diving, golf, collects beanie babies, and loved animals.

Trademark Moves:

Shizuka Arakawa did a beautiful layback Ina Bauer at the Olympics. In her winning performance, she bent back all the way with her head completely upside down. The Ina Bauer is now considered her trademark move. In Japan, when fans see the move, they don't call it an Ina Bauer; instead they refer to it as the "Arakawa way."

Arakawa is also known for doing beautiful spirals. Her signature spiral is a "Y-spiral." When she does that move, she releases her free leg and completes the spiral with her leg still close to her head. She does not use her hand to assist in holding the leg close to her head.

Professional Skating Career:

Shizuka Arakawa retired from competitve skating after the 2006 Winter Olympics. She has performed in exhibitions and is a figure skating commentator for Japanese television.
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