Figure skater Mao Asada fell during her trademark triple Axel on Wednesday, at the Sochi Winter Games, losing chances to gold medal and sitting in 16th position.
The Olympic silver medalist is the only woman to attempt the difficult 3.5 revolution jump in competition, but it is also her Achilles heal.
It backfired on her in the team event short programme in Sochi when she fell, and despite persevering she once again fell on the jump at the start of her routine to Chopin’s “Nocturne in E flat major” on Wednesday night, according to the international press.
Asada had no combination jump during her 2min 40sec programme. She seemed to be shocked when she saw her score of only 55.51 points – over 20 below her personal best.
“The moment after the Axel, I knew something was not right. I could not do what I visualized,” said Asada.
“My timing was off. I could not move the way I wanted to out there,” she added.
“I did not skate anywhere near as well as I could,” said Asada. “I do not know what to make of this now. All I can do is give it everything I have tomorrow. I could not do any of the things I have been working on in training. Once I started the programme, I could not control my emotions and my body. My only option is to skate the free to the best of my ability.”
Asada became the first woman to land the triple Axel three times at one event in Vancouver.
“There is some risk involved with the Axel but I want to do it. I do not consider the triple Axel to be a burden at all. It actually gives me something to shoot for and it defines me.”