Mao Asada, who became world champion at figure skating in 2008 and 2010, said she will retire from competition next year, after Sochi Winter Olympics.
“At the moment, that is what I intend to do,” Asada said. “I began to think about it little by little at the start of this year,” the 22-year-old said as she prepared for an exhibition after the season-closing World Team Trophy competition in Tokyo.
“It is not because of my physical strength but I have considered many things,” she added, according to the international press.
“I want to do my last and my best skating on the big stage in Sochi. I have less than a year to go and I think I can use such a short period of time to get ready and give all I have for the last time,” she said.
“I have been focused only on skating up to now and I will have to think of what I should do afterwards.”
Asada is the only woman who managed regularly to attempt the difficult 3.5-revolution triple axel at world-class events. She amazed the figure skating world when she won the 2005 Grand Prix Final at 15 years of age.
In the past season, she has won her two Grand Prix events — the Cup of China and the NHK Trophy — and the Grand Prix Final without attempting the triple axel.