Often called an actress on ice for her expressive performances, former Olympic figure skater Fumie Suguri is fulfilling her second dream of working as a choreographer.

Choreographer and former Olympic figure skater Fumie Suguri is pictured in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Nov. 28, 2022. (Kyodo)

The 42-year-old, who now lives in Las Vegas, Nevada, hopes to see her students compete at the Olympics someday, saying "I believe my work will be recognized when I develop skaters whose abilities surpass my own."

Suguri was inspired to follow in the footsteps of renowned Canadian choreographer Lori Nichol, with whom she worked during her skating career.


"(Before meeting her) I only knew jumps and spins," Suguri said. "I didn't know this element of skating -- (choreography) to deliver messages that fit into music. It was an eye-opener for me."

"This is the job I like the most. It's been my dream to be a choreographer."

In her two Olympic appearances, Suguri fell just short of a medal, finishing fifth in Salt Lake City in 2002 and fourth in Turin four years later.

In 2003, she became the first Japanese skater to win a title at the Grand Prix Final. At the world championships, she took bronze in 2002 and 2003, and earned silver in 2006.

After Suguri retired from competitive figure skating in 2014, she spent time in China and Canada.

In 2016, the Vegas Golden Knights of the National Hockey League were formed, and their practice rink became available for figure skating as well.

Upon the recommendation of her acquaintance, Suguri decided in the spring of 2018 to move to Las Vegas after finding it "a comfortable place to live without heavy traffic."

Suguri is also active outside the rink and is a stakeholder in a video production company.

"I've always wanted to produce an ice show," Suguri said. "To do so, I need to know about video shooting. As a choreographer, I want to study by watching world-class entertainment."

Japanese figure skater Fumie Suguri performs in the women's free skate at the Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy, in February 2006. (Kyodo)

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