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  1. #1

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    After three hard years, Mao Asada hopes to shine at Sochi

    Reuters article: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/...9AS02L20131129
    Excerpt:
    "If possible, I wouldn't have wanted to have these tough experiences," the soft-spoken 23-year-old told Reuters in an interview at her home rink just outside the central Japanese city of Nagoya.

    "Over the last three years I've been through a lot of pain and worry. But it's because of that pain that I've gotten to where I am now.

    "If I hadn't gone through these tough times, I don't think I'd have come as far as I have, to being in my current condition."

    ...

    "After Vancouver I started all over again, basically re-doing everything from the fundamentals. Now I feel as if I've really made this my own," said Asada, the only woman to have landed three triple Axel jumps in competition.

    "Right now my goal is to make sure I have the physical strength to skate well until the very end, to be able to skate my programs in a way that satisfies me."
    "Randy [Starkman (1960-April 16, 2012)] lived by the same motto as the rest of us. The Olympics isn’t every four years, it’s every single day. He just got it." --Canadian Olympic kayaker Adam van Koeverden

  2. #2
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    "I feel (my mother's) presence every day, so I'm able to continue on as before."

    Mao's story is so inspiring. She's been able to rise from the darkest moments of her life. Will be rooting for her!

  3. #3
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    "In Sochi, I'd like to erase those memories by doing everything perfectly. That's what I've been working for these last three years."
    I hope she keeps this mindset.

  4. #4

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    Mao is a beautiful skater with beautiful lines and soft movements. I wish her all the best. I think 1-2 may be nail biting.
    Prosperity makes friends, adversity tries them. – Publilius Syrus

  5. #5

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    Thank you Sylvia! Mao has gone through so much these past 3 years. I hope she takes that
    vacation in Bali after here retirement, she deserves it.

    I wish her the best and of course the Gold Medal in Sochi.

  6. #6
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    Thanks Sylvia.
    I'm happy to see finally some attention being given to Mao from English/American media.

    While most figure skating fans won't glean new information about Mao from this article, it is good "intro" for the general public. Saying that I'm kind of sad since Mao is and has been one of fs's greatest stars for the last 7 years or so. Maybe if her top rival were American, we'd see more Mao-related news in American media. Oh well.

  7. #7

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    The interview video:
    http://p.tl/wyzJ

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    Beautiful Mao. I hope her dreams are realized in Sochi! :-)

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by sapphiresky View Post
    "I feel (my mother's) presence every day, so I'm able to continue on as before."

    Mao's story is so inspiring. She's been able to rise from the darkest moments of her life. Will be rooting for her!
    As will I.
    I hope that she has an absolute wonderful experience/competition/performance in Sochi.

  10. #10
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    Great article I hope Mao achieves her dream in Sochi.

  11. #11

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    My rough translation of the interview video with Mao via Reuters. (Now the link to the interview video is available.)

    Mao: Wishing for traveling around the country, somewhere such as Kyoto.

    Mao: In the Vancouver season I was aiming at the gold medal which I had been aiming at all the way since I was very little. After finishing Vancouver Olympics, ...hummm when it finished, I was very regretful about my mistakes there.

    Mao: What I'm aiming at (at this point) is to show my best performances that I couldn't show at Vancouver. This is a return match against myself who gave a flaw performance there.

    Mao: If possible, I wouldn't have wanted to have these tough experiences. I've struggled and also worried a lot over the last three years. However, I think that pain made me get where I am now. If I hadn't gone through these tough times, I don't think I'd have come as far as I have, to being in my current condition.

    Mao: After Vancouver I started all over again, basically re-doing everything from the fundamentals. Now I feel as if I've really made this my own.

    ***In the scene at the Mao's home rink, I recognize Mrs. Sato and Shanetta Folle who worked with Mao under TAT preparing for Vancouver Olympics and is also working with Mao in this season again. Supposedly she's brushing up Mao's Rach2 under TAT. ***

    Mao: (The goal at this point is) To build up the physical strength to skate well until the very end of the programs. And also to give the whole satisfactory performances which I'm aiming at.

    Mao: Now I'm enjoying myself. Now it's the time when I'm expecting a lot from myself. Things are not always enjoyable but I'm expecting.
    Last edited by rosewood; 11-30-2013 at 03:16 AM.

  12. #12

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    This whole thread has been a delight to read, honestly, and I agree with everyone's comments.

    Also, thank you most sincerely rosewood for providing the translation. *hugs*

  13. #13
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    I'm really hoping she does well the rest of the year. Her skating is absolutely beautiful now in basically every way, and she's so light and clean yet powerful and strong on the ice. I really like her tone, it seems like she's genuinely aiming for the best shape of her life. I'm thinking the judges this year won't mind giving her the title with great performances and if she really does get there, she's going to have great momentum from the GP and a lot of desire from being 2nd last time and her whole past quad.. It would be a really fitting end to her career, she deserves an OGM for how amazing she has been the past 10 years IMO.

  14. #14
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    Absolutely rooting for her !!

    And to think 8 years ago when she was a month too young to be eligible for Olympics, She beat everyone at the GPF just before :\

  15. #15

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    It may have been the best time for Asada to win the gold medal - the age rules seem unfortunate in one respect but I also think these rules are good for the long term future of ladies skating by keeping the skating to ladies and not little girls.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by skatingguy View Post
    It may have been the best time for Asada to win the gold medal - the age rules seem unfortunate in one respect but I also think these rules are good for the long term future of ladies skating by keeping the skating to ladies and not little girls.
    I disagree. If the little girls can compete with ladies in terms of their jumps, footwork, PCS, maturity, etc. physical age alone should not hold them back from winning medals. Imagine if Michelle Kwan had not been allowed to skate in 1996 (she was 15) worlds, or Tara Lipinski at the 1997 worlds (at age 14)? I don't see it helps the long term future of ladies skating, or mens for that matter. Mao was robbed of a chance to win the OGM when she was dominating the skating scene at the senior level.

  17. #17

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    But I think Asada would have stopped skating competitively - wouldn't have tried to fix her technical issues - and we wouldn't have been able to see her all these years if she had won the Olympics in '06 - and maybe the Olympic Champion in 2010 would have been Lipnitskaya - she won Russian Nationals four years ago didn't she - if the rules didn't exist the reality is that the Olympics would be filled with skaters under the age of 15 - and skaters who were older wouldn't be able to do the technical content and we see that time and again where young skaters have all the jumps and then lose them as they hit 16 or 17. I really don't want skating to become like gymnastics where in order to be Olympic Champion you need to be turning 16 or 17 that year or else you won't have the ability - next year is the middle year between Summer Olympics and I think if you were to follow the world gymnastics champions you would find that most (in the ladies event) don't make their respective Olympic teams two years later.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by skatingguy View Post
    But I think Asada would have stopped skating competitively - wouldn't have tried to fix her technical issues - and we wouldn't have been able to see her all these years if she had won the Olympics in '06 - and maybe the Olympic Champion in 2010 would have been Lipnitskaya - she won Russian Nationals four years ago didn't she - if the rules didn't exist the reality is that the Olympics would be filled with skaters under the age of 15 - and skaters who were older wouldn't be able to do the technical content and we see that time and again where young skaters have all the jumps and then lose them as they hit 16 or 17. I really don't want skating to become like gymnastics where in order to be Olympic Champion you need to be turning 16 or 17 that year or else you won't have the ability - next year is the middle year between Summer Olympics and I think if you were to follow the world gymnastics champions you would find that most (in the ladies event) don't make their respective Olympic teams two years later.
    I believe Sotnikova won the Russian nationals at age 12 (not Lip) and she is still going through her development as a skater. I doubt that Asada would have stopped skating competitively if she had won the 2010 Olympics. She clearly loves skating. I don't care how young a skater is; if she is good enough to beat the older skaters, so be it.

    Gymnastics is a whole different sport and I would not compare it with FS.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vash01 View Post

    Gymnastics is a whole different sport and I would not compare it with FS.
    At least in the US, gymnastics is a hell of a lot more popular than figure skating too. Makes you wonder if the ISU might rethink the age rule in an effort to draw new fans to the sport. I prefer figure skating but the high turnover rate in gymnastics keeps it fresh for the fans and forces its athletes to keep increasing their technical skills. This will tick off some people but my friend writes for gymnastics for a living. He once made a crack to me about how conservative and stuck in the past figure skating was. He said he could walk away from the sport for a while, turn on the TV 8 years later and Michelle Kwan would still be winning nationals with the same content from 8 years earlier. It was said with complete disgust and disdain but I understand the gist of his point and I do think skaters not retiring for nearly a decade cost the sport some fans, but it also kept some fans in the seat too I guess. Having a higher turnover rate very well may increase skating's popularity.

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vash01 View Post
    I believe Sotnikova won the Russian nationals at age 12 (not Lip) and she is still going through her development as a skater. I doubt that Asada would have stopped skating competitively if she had won the 2010 Olympics. She clearly loves skating. I don't care how young a skater is; if she is good enough to beat the older skaters, so be it.

    Gymnastics is a whole different sport and I would not compare it with FS.
    You're right, Sotnikova was who I was thinking of - I don't know whether Asada would have continued or not but I could see the motivation being lower especially with the reworking of her jump technique if she already had the Olympic gold medal at home.

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