Japan’s skating star Mao Asada, who will compete at the Sochi Winter Olympics in February, is hoping to end her amateur career with a golden medal and a set of complex jumps that created her trademark.
At the Japan Nationals at the end of December, she could not perform correctly a triple Axel and ended up on the third place. Some of the critics said she might simply skip the jump from her program and that is an advice that Asada could listen to, as in Sochi she will face long-time rival Kim Yuna of South Korea, the reigning Olympic champion.
Competing for a long time against Kim has left some unpleasant memories for Asada, including the loss in Vancouver.
“There have been some very tough times, but if she was not there I wouldn’t have made the progress I have,” Asada said in November, according to the international press.
“In Vancouver, I had the gold medal as my goal. I had worked for it since I was a child, and afterwards I really regretted my mistakes. In Sochi, I would like to erase those memories by doing everything perfectly. That is what I’ve been working for these last three years,” she added.
Performing an impeccable triple Axel could help her win this quest for perfection. Triple Axel is a complicated jump with 3.5 rotations that became Asada’s trademark. She still is the only woman in world to have landed three of them in competition.
After the Winter Olympics will be over, Asada will give up competition. She would like to on vacation – preferably to “some place like Bali, where I can really relax”.
“Now, it is really fun. I am expecting a lot of myself, but I am hopeful. It is not the kind of fun you have while shopping, but doing everything I can every day and finishing the day with a sense of satisfaction. I am doing what I must right now, and in the end I think I will be pleased,” she said.