Thank you for the great article Sylvia! Akiko was marvelous at Skate Canada and brought tears to my eyes. That's hard to come by lately in figure skating.
POTO is really growing on me, but I still think O is her signature piece. On the other hand, I can't think of any better way for Akiko to retire from competitive ice than to skate the last 10 seconds of her Phantom FS and blow a kiss farewell
Hello Akiko fans. I have never been to an Akiko thread before and I thought I should visit and just say that I saw her at Skate Canada a few weeks ago and she was amazing. I cried. I have always loved her but what a privilege to see her live. She skates with pure joy. Thank you
Here is Akiko's exhibition from NHK: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HUWH9BawwlQ
This particular skate is very emotional, her body and especially facial expression in the back half are a very heart-rending but beautiful. After she finishes it is apparent that she was very emotional and gave it her all. This program goes everywhere emotionally, from serene beauty, to uplifting charisma, to gut-wrenching sadness.
She really moved me here, as much as ever. I hope others can see this performance the same way.
I am so happy for Akiko. She is my favorite of all the ladies. She skates with soul and interprets the music with every fiber of her being. That is such a rare thing in today's skating.
Congrats to Akiko on her win at the Japanese nationals. I hope the international judges will now give her the marks she deserves.
I am over the moon for her. She was incredible! Perhaps my favorite lady competitor for Sochi!
Congrats to Akiko! Happy she could win Nationals title!
I've literally been crying all morning, congratulations Akiko! One of the best freeskates of all time! And it appears her mother was watching on from the crowd (I'm assuming from the broadcast). I'm very happy for her.
What an inspiration as a person, skater, and performer.
To say that I'm happy is not even close. I am so over the moon for her.
I really hope she gets a medal in Sochi.
With performances like these, the sky is the limit. The judges sent her the message with her Skate Canada FS scores with a very marred program.
To win so convincingly and with the audience in her hand - what a tribute, and so deserved. Brava, Akiko! You are a great champagne, aged to perfection!
I need to share my Akiko sap story and this seems like the right place to do it.
I'm an adult skater and managed to tear my ACL, MCL and meniscus while skiing on Xmas eve in 2010. It took a while before I came to terms with how long I'd need to be off ice and even that it might never happen again. This made it harder to watch all events that happened in early 2011, even more so since Akiko was one of my favorite skaters and she ended up not making the Worlds team that year. And then, I saw this exhibition she did in Nagoya http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lTJV00JXerI#t=9m56s. Knowing she must have been disappointed not to go to Worlds and not having the best season, she still came out and radiated pure joy. She somehow transcends PCS requirements even in her competitive programs sometimes (not an easy feat), but seeing that happen at a time when I wasn't even sure I could watch skating for a while served as a perfect reminder that the right performance could make you fall in love with skating all over again. And she's been the IT skater in ladies since then as far as I'm concerned.
I didn't know it was this possible to be so happy for someone I don't know and will likely never meet. I'm so proud of Akiko and so thrilled at her National title!!! If this really is her last season competing, what a way to go out! Here's hoping against hope she goes just as clean in Sochi and something even better happens (due to the fickleness of the Skate Gods, I won't say what that is).
I was in tears the last 30 seconds of her program...I don't think that's happened since the Kween.
OMG, I love Akiko! She is so expressive that I get chills when I watch her performances.
I'm sooooo happy for her!!!
Akiko makes COP skating look as if it is not skating-by-the-numbers. That is a feat in itself. She has been one of my favorite ladies skaters since I, like most, saw her burst onto the scene in the Fall of 2009 and knocking down all the barriers by making the Olympic team. She's my sentimental favorite and I would love nothing more than to see an Olympic medal around her neck and more importantly, showing the whole world an even better performance than here so the Olympic audiences (live and through television/internet) can fall in love with her skating.
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Congratulations to win Japan Nationals!! Wheeee
I loved both of the programs.
Akiko is a pure magic.
I'm gutsy enough to expect a medal in Sochi.
Congratulations to Akiko ! Two truly beautiful and gold medal deserving skates.