Onda reveals retirement plans

Kyodo

Figure skater Yoshie Onda, a member of the Japanese team at the Salt Lake City Olympics, will retire from competition at the end of the season, skating sources said Saturday.

The Japan Skating Federation had already left Onda off the team of athletes currently being trained, and the 24-year-old now plans to continue her figure skating career as a professional in ice shows. Onda, who was renowned for her high jumping ability, improved her skating under the tutelage of Machiko Yamada — the same coach who has trained such skaters as 1989 world champion Midori Ito and 2007 world silver medalist Mao Asada.

Onda became the first Japanese female figure skater to win a Grand Prix series title at the Bofrost Cup on Ice in Germany in 2002 and won the NHK Trophy the same season.