Meet U.S. Figure Skating’s New High Performance Director, Kyoko Ina

Get to know three-time Olympian and World bronze medalist Kyoko Ina as she begins her new role as U.S. Figure Skating’s director of high performance.

Above: Kyoko Ina performs in the pairs short program at the Winter Olympic Games Salt Lake City 2002

Headshot of Kyoko Ina. She is an Asian woman with long brown hair. She is wearing a black shirt Last month, U.S. Figure Skating welcomed Kyoko Ina to the headquarters staff as the director of high performance.

No stranger to the sport, Ina has a long history with Team USA, competing in pairs at the 1994, 1998 and 2002 Olympic Winter Games. Ina also earned bronze at the 2002 World Championships and skated in eight World Championships over the course of her career.

Nationally, Ina is a five-time U.S. pairs champion and was inducted into the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame alongside her pairs partner John Zimmerman in 2018.

Following her skating career, Ina has served as the high performance pairs coordinator for U.S. Figure Skating since 2017. As she transitions into her new role, we asked her a few questions about her time as a Team USA athlete as well as what she is most looking forward to about the job.

Why are you most excited to be taking on this new role as high performance director?
I am most excited to take on this new role to better serve our athletes so they can achieve the highest level of success in this sport.

What impact do you hope to make in this position?
The biggest impact I hope to have in my new position is to give as much support to our elite athletes and coaches. The resources we have available today are vastly different from what was available when I was on Team USA. I am excited to share the vast wealth of knowledge we have collected over the years.

Looking back, what is your favorite memory from competing for Team USA and why?
I have so many wonderful memories from competing for Team USA that it is hard to mention one. The two standouts would be representing Team USA at the Nagano, Japan Olympic Games (my birth country) and the Salt Lake City Olympic Games (my home country). Though they are worlds apart, I received the most amazing home support at both Games.

If you could offer advice to your younger self, what would it be and why?
This is a very good question. I have so many things I wish I could advise to my younger self. I was so stubborn at the time and wish I knew what I know today. I always refer to the fact that talent can only take you so far and hard work will always prevail. I had heard that many times, but I always thought my talent would take care of so much. I was wrong! I now make sure I spend a little more time working rather than relying on talent and instinct.

What is one fun fact about you that people may not know about you?
I am asked this question many times and though I’m not sure it is a fun fact, I think those who don’t know me may be surprised that I am a video game addict. I have played video games for as long as I can remember and am often told to stop playing. Chances are, if I am not working and you catch me on my phone, I am playing a game