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  1. #1

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

    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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    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!

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    Quote Originally Posted by robinhood View Post
    I loove her new Jupiter exhibition already, it's mesmerizing!
    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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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    I really hope Mao has a stellar season!

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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...

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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.

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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...

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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).

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    Quote Originally Posted by kwanatic View Post
    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...
    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!

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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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Belinda View Post
    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.
    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Belinda View Post
    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.

    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.

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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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vash01 View Post
    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. Miki never had a Biellman type flexible body.
    Shizuka essentially lucked into the two big titles she won- worlds 2004 and Oly 2006. I am not saying she is not a great skater, but she was lucky too.
    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Belinda View Post
    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.
    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!

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