Mao Asada - Here's Hoping She Can Turn Things Around in 2011/12

Discussion in 'The Trash Can' started by Maofan7, Oct 9, 2011.

  1. Maofan7

    Maofan7 Away

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    As my username implies, my favourite skater is Mao Asada. She had an absolutely terrible season last year as she set about rebuilding her jump technique. As many of you will know, over the last few seasons, the fundamental problem has been that she has incorporated 3 triple axels into her programs to compensate for the fact that she has had a problem with her triple lutz (i.e. she flutz's it - turns it into a flip by mistakenly changing to the wrong edge on takeoff), and as you will appreciate, the chances of ever successfully pulling off 3 triple axels in competition consistently are remote.

    The early signs for this season that Mao has sorted out her jumping technique are promising as the following video highlights:-

    Mao Asada's 2011-2012 Jump Collection

    Mao has a new SP this year - Scheherazade (by Rimsky-Korsakov), and her LP is again, Liebesträume (hopefully, remodelled). I really do hope that she has now finally got her Lutz right, makes far more use of it, and that there will be no more than 1 triple axel. In fact, I would prefer it if there was absolutely no triple axel at all, because that ultimately at the end of the day has been her downfall and at the root of all her problems. What should have happened several years ago is that work should have been done to correct the problems with her Lutz, instead of eliminating the jump altogether by using the far more difficult triple axel. Only Midori Ito has consistently got the triple axel right in competition.

    Here's hoping and praying that she has sorted her problems out. She starts her Grand Prix campaign in just a months time at the NHK Trophy on the 11th November 2011. She's failed to qualify for the Grand Prix Final during the last 2 seasons, so simply qualifying for the final would be a step forward. However, if she wishes to achieve her ultimate objective of winning the Gold medal at the 2014 Olympics, then she needs to make the most of this season. That doesn't necessarily mean winning the 2012 World Championships. But at the very least, she needs to get back into the mix by making herself a serious contender again. The most disappointing aspect about her at the 2011 Worlds is that she was nowhere near the medals and nobody was even surprised. That is, her skating was in such a state of disarray that she had been written off. Hence, she needs to make herself competitive again. That will give her a platform from which to build from.
     
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  2. robinhood

    robinhood Active Member

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    Mao is my favourite skater too. I wish her the best this season, of course...
    the most difficult thing for her, apart from delivering clean programs, is regaining the confidence of the judges. She was getting very low PCS for her mediocre skates last season and it's going to be extremely hard to turn that around
    I would like for her to take a Kostner route in the beggining and deliver her best jumps that garner GOE. I'd forget about the 3a, the lutz and the salchow atm...Carolina almost won the GPF without those, and focus on her speed and flow: things that have regressed a lot over the years
    anyway, all the best to her...I loove her new Jupiter exhibition already, it's mesmerizing!
     
  3. Maofan7

    Maofan7 Away

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    Its spellbinding. Here's a recent performance of it:-

    Mao Asada Exhibition - Jupiter (I Vow to Thee My Country) by Libera

    She is definitely going to need the Salchow and the Lutz. But, as I said, I really do think she should dispense with the triple Axel.
     
  4. koatcue

    koatcue New Member

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    I hope Mao and Adelina will be 1-2 in their common competitions)
     
  5. sk8mom1970

    sk8mom1970 New Member

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    I think if Mao can get back to her old self when she was reeling off 3/3's and 3A like it was no big deal, she'll be one of the few to contend with the prowess of the russian wonderbabies.
     
  6. Vash01

    Vash01 Well-Known Member

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    Mao's main problem in recent years has been her jumps. Last year she was not even landing them. Before that, she was landing them, but the judges were not buying them. Even when fully rotated, they held back in giving her marks. In order for her to win, she will need to reestablish herself in the eyes of the judges, and that is never easy. However, if anyone can do it, it's Mao. She has been my most favorite skater ever since she appeared on the scene. I am rooting for her to win the OGM in Sochi, even though I like many of the Russian babies.
     
  7. masofs

    masofs New Member

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    Mao is my favorite too. I love her lines, effortless grace, light skating and the fact that she never gives up. I could watch her skate all day long. And I'm rooting for her to win the Gold in Sochi too.
     
  8. Nekatiivi

    Nekatiivi Well-Known Member

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    I love Mao and I hope she redeems herself this season. She has looked so lost for a couple of years and my heart has been breaking for her.

    Her Junpiter program from The Ice gives me hope since I don't think I have ever seen her skate with so deep edges, great speed and glide. Even her jumps looked easier. If she can bring those and the emotion she showed to her competition programs I don't think she should have any difficulties winning back judges respect.
     
  9. MikiAndoFan#1

    MikiAndoFan#1 Well-Known Member

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    I really hope Mao has a stellar season! :cheer2:
     
  10. Amy03

    Amy03 Member

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    i loooove mao more then any other skater, and i also would love to see her back in form and ready for competition... mao is a exceptionary beautiful skater who has so many beatiful traits like her beautiful line, posture, lightness, flexibility, gracefulness.... i just hope that the judges begin to give her the marks she really deserves... since even when she does have mistakes she's still better then most off the field...
    but i think the only way to make them notice how special she is, is by beeing more consistent, and looking at her practice clips i have absolutely no doubt that she is back on track when the season begiins...
     
  11. arakwafan2006

    arakwafan2006 Active Member

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    Mao is my favorite by far. well dressed and great style. I mean, how many other people could go through all that she has and still come back fighting? mao however in her own eyes is first and foremost a great jumper and i think that until she is doing that well and the judges are recognizing her efforts, there wont be much by way of confidence going on with her.
     
  12. kwanatic

    kwanatic Well-Known Member

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    Mao was my first favorite of the wave of skaters under the IJS.

    There are qualities about her skating that no one in the world has. I love her gracefulness and elegance, her lines are perfection...she just seems to float across the ice. I also respect her grit and her gutsy nature. Mao is most definitely a fighter and I love that.

    Mao had a tough season but I wouldn't call it a failure. She regained some of her confidence which is a huge step in getting back to where she needs to be. I hope she continues to work on her jumps, especially in terms of speed, transitions and technique. She used to carry so much speed into and out of her jumps. I'd love to see her regain some of that.

    I also hope she works on her artistry. Mao exhibitions are, hands down, the best of all of the ladies. I'd love to see that side of Mao in competition. I loved her Libestraum LP from last season and I'm glad she's bringing it back. Gorgeous music, wonderful full choreography (unlike Masquerade or Bells which were empty programs), and Mao just looks happy when she skates it. I'm really looking forward to her having a clean performance of that one. I don't know what's going on with her Scheherazade SP, but I hope it's better than her SP from last season (again, rather empty compared to SPs like Nocturne or Claire de Lune).

    My fingers are crossed for Mao. She's such a special skater and I really want to see her do well this year...
     
  13. Bournekraatzfan

    Bournekraatzfan New Member

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    excellent analysis, Maofan7. I also hope she abandons the triple axel as I agree with you, it seems to come at the expense of everything else. I remeber being captivated by Mao when I first saw her...that lightness, those beautiful positions, that grace...and those fine qualities seem to be obscured by programs designed around the triple axel. I used to enjoy Tarasova's choreography for Yags, but I really felt her programs did Mao a disservice. (I still think Tarasova is a genius, but I have not been a fan of her more recent work).
     
  14. Bournekraatzfan

    Bournekraatzfan New Member

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    ITA--this is everything I wanted to say, but you said it so much better than I ever could. I am just so inspired by Mao's determination--I cannot even imagine what last season must have been like for her. But she is persistent, and continues to address her problem areas. I have nothing but respect for her, and have faith that she will make it back onto those world and Olympic podiums. Go get em, Mao!
     
  15. Belinda

    Belinda Member

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    I agree with everything said already. I only want to add:
    Mao is a classic example of how difficult it is to manage a career, any career, in any discipline. There are many questions one would want to ask, eg change of coaches (why did she leave Yamada so early [cf. Kanao, who is still with Yamada], Tarasova question [i.Mao didn't have a jump coach; ii. suitability of Tarasova choreo]); failure to "correct" her jumps (as long ago as 2008 she was saying she needed to fix her jumps), etc. But, above all, the limiting factor so far in her career has been a certain blinkeredness on Mao's part. She is stubborn and one dimensional in her pursuit of perfection. Her attachment to 3A is an example. Further, I see her limited by her lack of life skills. Compare Mao with Miki, or Shizuka. Miki has stuck with Morozov, gave up quads and managed to win GM without 3A, 3x3, nor Biellman. She travelled all over the world to train where Morozov was, picking up fluency in the English language on the way. Shizuka was as one dimensional as Mao in her pursuit of OGM, but she took decisions and put them into effect by herself, particularly towards the end (changing from Tarasova to Morozov, changing music etc). So far Mao has not shown the kind of initiative I see in Miki and Shizuka.
    Don't get me wrong - I love Mao, and unlike a lot of you, I think her Bells of Moscow is a masterpiece, and that just for that reason it was worth Mao's while working with Tarasova.
     
  16. krenseby

    krenseby New Member

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    I think Mao's Bells of Moscow was exquisite, haunting, and memorable. I am glad that you think of it as highly as I do. But apparently we are in the minority.
     
  17. Vash01

    Vash01 Well-Known Member

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    I think you are contradicting yourself- praising Miki for sticking with one coach (Morozov) and praising Shizuka for changing coaches. I also have to disagree with you about Miki abandoning the quad, the 3-3 and the Biellman. She never consistently landed the quad. The only time it was ratified- as a junior- was ur and COP would never have given her credit for that. She also had injuries from training that jump, so it was wise to drop it. She dropped the 3L-3R because the judges would not give her credit for the second 3, no matter what. It was not worth the effort. Miki never had a Biellman type flexible body.

    Shizuka essentially lucked into the two big titles she won- worlds 2004 and Oly 2006. IN 2004, Michelle did not do well in the QR, and Sasha crumbled in the LP, which opened the door for Shizuka. I give her credit for going to Tarasova, but without those things happening, she would not have won the gold. It was even more obvious in the Olympics. Shizuka did not even do her most difficult content- no 3-3 combinations. Again, Michelle was out, Irina and Sasha both crumbled under the Olympic pressure and the gold fell into Shizuka's lap. Again, I give her credit for going to Morozov at the right time. She seemed to have a knack for making the right switch at the right time, but without lady luck smiling on her, I doubt that she would have won the championships. I am not saying she is not a great skater, but she was lucky too.

    Now look at Mao. She is naturally flexible, has wonderful lines, posture, and she does a beautiful +GOE type Biellman spin. She has landed the 3A numerous times in competitions. At times it was downgraded, but many times she got full credit for it. It was not enough to overcome the huge marks the judges were giving Yu na Kim (she was overmarked, IMO in 2010, though she deserved the win). If she can land the 3A, I see no reason for her to abandon what sets her apart from other skaters. She does need to bring back the 3f-3R or 3f-3t back in addition. It seems she has taken the necessary steps to improve herself, after Vancouver. She went to a coach who would help fix her jump technique. So I don't understand your criticism of Mao at all. I admire her desire to improve, even after 2 world titles and an Olympic silver. Whether she wins the OGM or not, she will always remain a skater I admire for her technical and artistic skills, but most of all for her fighting spirit.
     
  18. Jammers

    Jammers Well-Known Member

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    Shizuka skated out of her head at Worlds in 2004. Sasha would had a hard time beating her even if she didn't crumble.
     
  19. Belinda

    Belinda Member

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    I am only talking about conscious decision making, planning & self management, not the rights/wrongs of their decisions, or whether they had no choice but make those decisions or whether they are good or not so good skaters as a result of those decisions. Miki made a conscious decision to stick with Morozov despite pressure from the Japanese Federation. Shizuka changed coaches of her own volition. Miki could have lost to Kim last season and Shizuka might have ended with a bronze in Turin but my view of their intentionality in career management would not change.
     
  20. Vash01

    Vash01 Well-Known Member

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    We will just have to agree to disagree on this one since you are so convinced that Mao did nothing to further her career, and Shizuka and Miki were the smart ones.

    Go MaO! Prove this poster wrong!
     
  21. miki88

    miki88 New Member

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    She chose Sato as her coach. That counts as a initiative and a smart one. :)
     
  22. Vash01

    Vash01 Well-Known Member

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    Sasha was in first place. All she had to do was skate clean, and the judge would have given her 6.0's based on her beauty alone. Shizuka's tech marks were high, but presentation marks were beatable.
     
  23. Mayra

    Mayra Well-Known Member

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    You know you've heard it all when someone thinks Miki sticking with Morozov somehow demonstrates her superior life skills over Mao. :rofl:
     
  24. Belinda

    Belinda Member

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    Dear Vash01 and Mayra

    I hope as much as you do that you are right and I am wrong!! As I really want Mao to realise her potential. Thanks for your responses to my comments.
     
  25. Roxanne

    Roxanne New Member

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    Here is a recent Mao interview translated by linglang from Mao's fan forum

    Mao Asada “I want to become a beautiful skater this season”

    Mao Asada turned 21 years old on Sept. 25. Over the last two seasons, she struggled in the early stages of the season and often put uneasy look on her face. However, this is the second year since she went to her new coach and her cheerfulness has come back.

    Spent good time-off; Kyoto trip and driving license

    When season is over, I always feel that I really want to “take a rest.” Immediately after the last season ended, I strongly felt so. Feeling pressure from the attention? Yes I do. I know I have to achieve a good result (this season) for people who support me. I love figure skating. The harder the practice become before the start of competition, the lesser I feel like taking a rest. “I will make a good start this season”: That’s what I have in my mind now. I think I spent a good time-off. I did a lot of things other than those related to figure skating. I went to Kyoto for sightseeing. I got a driving license which was my main objective (in off-season). I took lessons (at driving school) for a month and was able to obtain the license without failing at all.
    (Note: it takes time and costs a lot to get a driving license in Japan. Minimum 26 hours of lecture and 34 hours of driving lessons with multiple tests in different stages.)

    A little fun break is good for a change

    I’m happy my living area has expanded (since I got my driving license). I used to use subway. I was rarely spotted. But, it took long time to move around. Wake up and skate, eat and skate, sleep and skate … my life was like that. Recently, however, I got to know “there is another way to spend time.” After practice, I eat out or go shopping. I realized that a little fun break is good for a change. I act fairly freely on holidays. I go out alone, often in Tokyo. I enjoyed Yoyogi Uehara the other day. I enjoyed strolling back street of the shopping area. Sugamo and Asakusa are also interesting. But, because the season will start soon, I have to give it up for a while.

    This season’s agenda is speed

    Do I look radiant? Because Tatiana-sensei is in Russia, I couldn’t be with her so much. So, I often practiced alone and I was tense all the time. I suppose because it’s gone now (I look radiant). Since last year, I have Sato-sensei and Kumiko-sensei (Sato’s wife). Since I have someone looking after me every day, I feel comfortable. First thing I learned from Sato-sensei was skating. Shoulders should not move up and down, and it’s important because it affects everything including jumps. Sato-sensei has given me an agenda for this season, which is speed. He says “nothing could give more fascination than speed.”

    Keeping in mind lessons learnt last season

    I bear in mind lessons I learnt last season that is to “remember achievements and failures.” It’s of course about failed jumps and also about the way of doing practices … I repeated the same mistakes (last season) several times. Making mistakes and failing can also be “the way for success,” but you shouldn’t make same mistakes over and over again. To avoid it, we will decide on the program layout at the beginning of this season. Last season, we decided whether I would jump 3A or not on the day of competition. But this season, Sato-sensei and I will discuss thoroughly and decide and stick to the layout from practices to competition.

    I turned 21 years old and I feel “the age.” Hardest part of practices is run-through to the music and also repeating same parts over and over again. It uses a lot of energy. I like practices but I got tired. I wasn’t like that some years ago. I was totally fine even after doing multiple run-throughs …

    Love dancing as much as skating

    I try to remember the joy of dancing (when I skate). I bear an image in mind that I’m dancing to the music. Then, I don’t get exhausted so much. Trying to find good positions while I’m dancing, I realize that figure skating is very deep. Kumiko-sensei says “Skate like when you skated at THE ICE.” I love dancing as much as I love skating. But, when it comes to competition, I become conscious more about win or lose. I myself enjoyed very much at THE ICE and I was able to see the smiles of people in the audience. I think it’s a good idea to skate at competitions with willingness to entertain the audience like ice shows. It’s a “new finding” for me.

    “Princess“ who is also lovely

    This season’s free program “Liebestraume” is the same program I skated last season. So, I feel very “comfortable” with it already. I think when I skate to it now, my feeling and expressions are all heart.” My new short program “Scheherazade” is the music I'd listen to whenever I visited Tatiana-sensei for choreography in the past. I wanted to skate to this music someday. There are many skaters who used this music. But, my tune is arranged in different taste. It’s the music of a princess who is not only strong but also lovely. I think Tatiana-sensei has brought out different sides of me. When you watch my old video footages, I think you notice that they were all about cute and cute stuff. I think she has raised me up about three levels higher to take a first step of adulthood.

    Ms. Lori Nichol who has choreographed free program knows me since I was a child. It is Lori who taught me a lot of steps and made programs that suite me very well.

    Lori & Tatiana-sensei is the best combination

    Tatiana-sensei’s movements are unique while Lori’s choreography is not too difficult because programs are choreographed in the way that matches my tendency “I want to move like this” and thus I can move smoothly. More than anything, Lori is wonderful. Her skating is strong and graceful at the same time. I like watching her. I sense love from her. She loves skating very much. I think the combination of Lori and Tatiana-sensei is the best for me now. My first competition for this season will be in Nov. at NHK cup. It’s about one month later than the past two years. So I can practice thoroughly.

    How well I can do while I enjoy it

    I made people worried last season. I had messages from people saying “I’m very much worried about you.” So, I want to show them good performances this season. Instead of taking on new challenges, I want to concentrate on things I can do now to master them. It is the trend of the times that new skaters emerge one after another including those teenage Russian skaters. I was one of them back then. But, each athlete is unique. I want to become a “beautiful skater.” Because it is competition, there will be times I will show a strong attitude and become conscious about win or lose. While allowing it, how well I can go and I enjoy it? I want to pursue it. I think it may be my challenge for this year.
     
  26. robinhood

    robinhood Active Member

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    the thing is sasha never managed to skate clean in her entire career and even as inconsistent as Shizuka was as an amateur she managed to peak in the most prestigious competitions

    this is subjective I guess, but as beautiful as Sasha was, for me Arakawa was even more beautiful and could skate circles around her, btw...By Torino, I think it was clear cut who was the best skater in the competition. Lady Luck didn't have to do anything in Shizuka's career...if anything she's a huge underachiever!
     
  27. jjane45

    jjane45 New Member

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    Beautiful interview, thank you for sharing
     
  28. Vash01

    Vash01 Well-Known Member

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    Shizuka is/was the better overall skater, with much better basic skating skills. However, she had been inconsistent her entire career. She skated clean in TWO big competitions, that's all. One worlds and one Olympics (OK, those only come once every 4 years). World championship is every year. The year after winning worlds, Shizuka dropped to 9th in the world. That's hardly called consistency.

    I like Shizuka much better than Sasha, but I wouldn't say consistency was a strong suit of either one. Morozov recognized her problems and took the pressure off her in the 2006 Olys by asking her to not try the 3-3. She was really skating for a medal of any color, at that point, I think (probably silver), with Irina to follow her. Irina had one of the worst skates of her life, and who would have predicted that after 2005 worlds and the entire 2006 season? Shizuka did get lucky there. Otherwise a 5 triple program without a 3-3 or a 3A is not likely to win.

    I love watching Shizuka's skating now. She has really come into her own, and I miss watching Sasha as a pro. As an eligible skater, I was never her fan.
     
  29. bartek

    bartek New Member

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    Sasha did skate a clean long program in her career. Watch Marshall's 2004 which is one of the best ladies' FS in history but also Worlds 2003 and 2004 QR's. In fact, Sasha skated more clean FS's in her career than Shizuka who it did only two times. As much as I love Shizuka, consistency wasn't her strong pont, I'm sorry. She was even MORE inconsistent than Sasha. 2004-2005 season was a total failure for her.
     
  30. Proustable

    Proustable New Member

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    I will say that skating her peak at the most important competition of her life gives her the edge over Sasha, who could never match that kind of fortitude.

    Also, I love Mao and believe she'll do well this upcoming season.