Shizuka Arakawa, Japan's first Olympic champion in figure skating, was among the latest group elected to the sport's Hall of Fame, nominating chair Lawrence Mondschein said Tuesday.
Arakawa, who won the women's singles title at the 2006 Turin Winter Olympics, is the third Japanese to enter the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame. She joins Midori Ito, a silver medalist at the 1992 Albertville Games, and Nobuo Sato, a former competitive skater and coach.
Also named as Class of 2018 inductees were the 1992 men's singles Olympic champion Viktor Petrenko (Ukraine, Unified Team, Soviet Union), the 1984 pairs Olympic champions Elena Valova and Oleg Vasiliev (Soviet Union) and two-time world champion ice dance team Irina Moiseeva and Andrei Minenkov (Soviet Union).
Arakawa, now 36, became the first skater in Japan to win three consecutive junior national titles. She finished 13th at the 1998 Nagano Olympics when she was 16 years old, but missed out on a berth for the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics.
Two years after being crowned world champion in 2004, Arakawa, third after the short program, scored a personal best 125.32 points in the free skate to win the Olympic gold medal in Italy.
Japan had to wait another eight years until 2014 for another Olympic figure skating gold medal, this time won in the men's competition by Yuzuru Hanyu in Sochi. He repeated in Pyeongchang in February this year, becoming the first men's back-to-back champion in 66 years.
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