John Zimmerman loves NASCAR and cheesecake and takes things slow and easy. Kyoko Ina is a woman of the city, fast paced and driven. He learned to skate at a shopping mall and she learned to skate at Rockefeller Center. Since 1998 this odd couple has been preparing for their chance at Olympic glory.
The pair won their third national title in a row the week of January 6-13th, 2002 at the National Championships in Los Angeles. Though they had a few problems, John stumbled and Kyoko put her hand on the ice in the final round, the pair finished first with a program which was both fast and difficult.
In world events, the pair has finished seventh each of the past two years. Since October, the duo's lowest finish has been fourth at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final in Canada. Otherwise, including the Nationals, they have had three firsts and three seconds from October 2001 through January 2002.
The pair are coached by Tamara Moskvina a former 5-time Soviet Ladies Champion who has coached 3 Olympic Gold Medal champions, including 1998 champions Artur Dmitriev and Oksan Kazakova and 4 Silver Medal finishers. Moskvina reportedly once said of Zimmerman, "John is so friendly, dedicated, and enthusiastic, that he is a joy to be around. He is such a nice boy that I cannot state his weak points." Dmitriev and Alexander Zhulin are serving as choreographers for Ina and Zimmerman.
John has been skating with Kyoko since 1998. She was born in Japan and comes from a family of world class athletes including a 1924 Olympic competitor, a Wimbledon tennis player, and an Asian Games swimming champion.
Zimmerman started skating at age 3/4(reports differ) in Montgomery. John told ABC sports in an interview in 2000, "My mother was looking to give me something to do on a Saturday afternoon. Of all the places and things to do, I started in a mall figure skating ring. I did do other things, but figure skating was what I stuck with."
John roots for the University of Alabama, loves the outdoors, rock climbing, rollerblading, mountain biking and of course NASCAR. He has two cats, "Dillon" and a 21-year old named "Howard."