Now, I could understand if Suguri were from a country like Hungary without the depth of skaters like Japan has and continue to skate like Julia Sebestyen did even after she won the European Championships in '04. But do you think, honestly, that Suguri can come back as a relevant skater when you have a Murakami, Suzuki, Asada and possibly Ando and other junior Japanese skaters coming up. It's an uphill battle for her to even make the world team.
You ask about recent Olympic Champs not retiring- let's look at them besides Shen & Zhao who have retired & in their mid 30s: how old were most of them when they won- Tessa & Virtue, Kim, Lysacek? All of them were under 25. and all of them actually have a chance of finishing on the podium consistently even now (sans Lysacek; we'll have to see how he does, but there's still a good chance for him if he's serious about his training). I don't see Kim going for Sochi, but there still a good chance for her to compete longer because really what other prominent Korean skaters are there to secure spots at worlds? And an uninjured Tessa & Virtue are still capable of becoming world champions.
Suguri is a hard-working, grit type of skater. She isn't a naturally talented jumper like Ando and she doesn't have the charm or spins of a Nagasu, the beauty of an Asada or the energy of the Russian babies. She could continue skating all she wants as long as she's determined and has the funds, but she will not be seen as a skater that ended on a high note. Instead, she'll be seen as a skater who declined and that definitely affects how you can market yourself on the pro circuit or even a coach, etc. Why do you think Hughes retired after only doing one world championships after her Olympic win and a world championships that wasn't right after her Olympic win? College is not the only reason. She never won a U.S. Champion on the senior level and never became World Champion. It's all about branding.