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Former Olympic figure skater Midori Ito, 54, captures hearts as she wins international title 32 years after she retired from the sport


Former Olympic figure skater Midori Ito captured hearts as she hit the ice and won an international title 32 years after she retired from the sport.

Ito, 54, won her 20th international medal at the 2024 ISU International Adult Championship Masters Elite Women III in Oberstdorf, Germany on Tuesday. 

The Japanese born figure skater successfully landed a triple Axel jump combination in 1988 and was the first woman to do so, ESPN reported. 

She is also the 1989 world champion and a 1992 Olympic silver medalist, recognized as one of the best figure skaters of all time. 

On Wednesday, the iconic athlete posted a picture of her on top of the first place podium with other skaters and said: ‘Memorial pic with my crew…’ 

Olympic figure skating legend Midori Ito, 54, hit the ice 32 years after she retired from the sport

Olympic figure skating legend Midori Ito, 54, hit the ice 32 years after she retired from the sport 

The Japanese born figure skater successfully landed a triple Axel jump combination in 1988 and was the first woman to do so. (pictured: Ito during the Calgary Olympics in February 1988)

The Japanese born figure skater successfully landed a triple Axel jump combination in 1988 and was the first woman to do so. (pictured: Ito during the Calgary Olympics in February 1988)

‘And, make me an adult figure skater today. You have guided me through,’ Ito added. 

Video of her recent performance has since gone viral online as she stunned in a light blue flowy dress with flower decals along the front and the sleeves. 

Her smile lit up the ice rink as she moved gracefully in tan skates and tights, with a silver headband in her short black hair. 

As she skated to the piano version of the song ‘Aqua,’ she captivated the audience with her jumps, spins and heartwarming moves. 

Though she did not hit a triple Axel, she still amazed the crowd by jumping off of one foot and landing into a continuous spin before she bowed and ended her awe-inspiring performance. 

Ito started skating when she was just four-years-old, when she met Machiko Yamada, a former Japanese competitive figure skater and coach. 

Yamada soon became Ito’s coach, and at the age of eight, she landed her very first triple jump. 

During her first appearance at an international competition at the 1981 World Junior Championships, she placed 20th in the compulsory figures, or circle patterns that skaters ‘trace’ on the ice. 

She went on to win the free skating section with a triple loop, two triple toe loop combinations, and a triple shadow.

On Wednesday, the iconic athlete posted a picture of her on top of the first place podium with other skaters and said: 'Memorial pic with my crew...'

On Wednesday, the iconic athlete posted a picture of her on top of the first place podium with other skaters and said: ‘Memorial pic with my crew…’

Ito started skating when she was just four-years-old where she introduced herself to Machiko Yamada, a former Japanese competitive figure skater and coach

Ito started skating when she was just four-years-old where she introduced herself to Machiko Yamada, a former Japanese competitive figure skater and coach

Ito completed that event as an 11-year-old girl, weighing just 53lbs and measuring three feet-11 inches tall. 

During the 1982 World Junior event, Ito won the short program and free skating category, for an overall sixth place rating. 

The following year, she did not compete after she broke her ankle, but by the fall of 1983, she got back on the ice at the Ennia Challenge Cup hosted in the Netherlands, and finished second to Katarina Witt, a former German figure skater. 

In 1984, she finished in seventh place, and the following year, she won her very first national championship. 

She would have competed in the world championship that season, but she suffered another broken ankle. 

Every time she stepped onto the ice Ito strived to reach for something greater than what she did before she stepped off. 

In the 1988 Winter Olympics, held in Canada, she successfully performed seven triples, a double loop-triple loop, a double Axel-half loop-triple Salchow combination and a triple toe loop. 

During that time, she perfected her renowned triple Axel jump that she had been working on since she was a teenager. 

By 1989, she continued to excel at the complicated stunt and became the first woman to complete all six possible figure skating jumps. 

In 1991, her hard work caught up to her as she suffered from chronically sore knees, and was even admitted to the hospital for over two weeks to remove two cysts from her throat. 

Just a month after that, she injured herself again when she and Laetitia Hubert, a French skater, collided. Ito was left with a bruised foot and hip. 

The 54-year-old took to her Instagram and memorialized her big moment as she posed next to a picture of her on the ice, with a shocked look on her face.'The official photo.. I cried...,' she said

The 54-year-old took to her Instagram and memorialized her big moment as she posed next to a picture of her on the ice, with a shocked look on her face.’The official photo.. I cried…,’ she said

She lit the Olympic Cauldron at the 1998 Winter Olympics opening ceremony of the Nagano Games

She lit the Olympic Cauldron at the 1998 Winter Olympics opening ceremony of the Nagano Games

She went on to light the Olympic Cauldron at the 1998 Winter Olympics opening ceremony of the Nagano Games. 

Her recent performance wasn’t the first time she got back on the ice, as she returned to the competitive figure skating scene in 2011 and 2013. 

The 54-year-old took to her Instagram and memorialized her big moment as she posed next to a picture of her on the ice, with a shocked look on her face. 

‘The official photo.. I cried…,’ she said. 

In her most recent post, Ito posted a picture of her cut up legs with her bright white ice skates beside them. 

‘Midori photosynthesis… Foot, knee… I tried my best skateboarding too…,’ she jokingly said in the caption. 

Fans flocked to her posts and praised the retired professional athlete. 

‘Shining alive and beautiful. You gave me energy,’ one wrote. 

Another said: ‘Imagining the road to this podium warms my heart, Congratulations!’

‘Midori Ito winning her 20th international medal almost 30 years after her retirement truly is a reminder of everything that is good and beautiful about figure skating,’ a commenter said. 

‘I have such fond memories of her athletic routines and the joy she skated with,’ said another. 





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