Setting the Ice on Fire

The sticky midsummer heat of a mountain Hamlet wasn't where you would expect to find the future of Japanese figure skating. But the 100 or so kids who gathered in 1994 at the inaugural Japan Skating Federation (JSF) New Talents Scout Camp in Nagano prefecture were the handpicked products of a program that could be dubbed Project Ice Storm. Back then, few Japanese were focused on where these 8- to 12-year-old rink rats might be in 10 years' time. Nevertheless, since 1994, the JSF has quietly poured money into the camp, nurturing promising skaters and helping them find everything from the...

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