Career Highlights: 2006 world junior champion, two-time Japanese silver medalist
Short Program: Bold as Love by Jimi Hendrix
Free Skate: Guitar Concerto by Michael Kamen & Tomoyasu Hotei
The third man on the Japanese team, Kozuka has had a solid season so far and may surprise some people in Vancouver.
Looking back: 2009
Takahiko Kozuka made a splash when he won Skate America over Americans Evan Lysacek and Johnny Weir. Of his first Grand Prix title, Kozuka says he was "really surprised, like a dream. I couldn't believe it!" Considered a medal contender at the 2009 Worlds, Kozuka finished a solid sixth.
Old school (figures)
As a young skater Kozuka said that his coaching team made him practice compulsory figures, which has translated into speed and flow throughout his skating today. Kozuka says that he had to skate with his arms out, balancing coins on the tops of his hands while skating figures, and that if he made it through without the coins falling off, he got to keep them. Though he jokes that he didn't get to keep many, he says that he would save them and buy orange juice out of the rink's vending machines.
Tradition or superstition?
Before he takes his opening pose, coach Nobuo Sato rubs Kozuka's back to center his energy. Kozuka says it gives him power for his performance and is something he started when he was a junior skater. The back rub has become a good luck tradition.
Kozuka is studying sports education at Chukyo University, the same university where Mao Asada and Miki Ando are enrolled. Kozuka works for Toyota, one of his sponsors, on occasion and says that he rolls posters and sends postcards.
Kozuka is coached in part by his dad, Tsuguhiko Kozuka, who finished 21st at the 1968 Olympics. His mother was an ice dancer. Kozuka is a big Kurt Browning fan and has videos of the four-time world champion's performances on his cell phone. He loves karaoke and will sing in English or Japanese, even if he doesn't know all of the words. Hehas turned his autograph into a drawing of a monkey, because he says Miki Ando called him a "little monkey" when he was younger.
As the pilot for the USA-1 bobsled, I broke a 62-year gold medal drought when my sled, the 'Night Train" won the Olympic title at the 2010 Vancouver Games. A degenerative eye condition nearly caused me to quit my sport in 2008, but corrective surgery restored my vision to 20-20.