Skating Hall of Fame set to welcome Sato

by Jack Gallagher

Veteran coach Nobuo Sato, a 10-time Japan champion who competed in two Olympics and six world championships, has been elected to the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame, the organization announced on Wednesday.

The 68-year-old Sato was elected in the “Outstanding Contributor with a Creative Impact” category.

Sato, who will coach Takahiko Kozuka in the men’s singles at the upcoming Vancouver Olympics, has been associated with the sport for more than 50 years.

The Osaka native began skating at the age of 11 and went on to represent Japan in the 1960 and ’64 Olympics. He finished eighth at the Innsbruck Games and fourth at the ’65 worlds.

“I am pleased by Mr. Sato’s election,” WHOF chair Dr. Lawrence Mondschein said in a statement Wednesday. “He continues to make significant contributions to figure skating in Japan and around the world as an Olympic and world coach.”

Among Sato’s many students over the years have been his daughter, Yuka, the 1994 world champion, Miki Ando and Fumie Suguri.

Yuka Sato, the coach of U.S. champion Jeremy Abbott, will face off against her father in Vancouver.

Sato’s formal induction is expected to take place at the 2011 world championships in Japan.

The World Figure Skating Hall of Fame is located in Colorado Springs, Colo.