Japanese figure skater Mao Asada is now rethinking her initial decision to retire from competitive skating. Mao was an Olympic medal favorite following her silver medal in the 2010 Vancouver Games, but bombed her chances when she dropped to 16th on the short program.
Her devastating short program routine lacked the technicality and excellence people were used to, and as she fell from her trademark triple axel jump twice, her chances of bringing home the medal were very slim. In fact, it was her fall in the short program that prompted former Prime Minister and 2020 Olympics organizing committee head Yoshiro Mori to criticize Mao of “always falling at the most critical time.” The comment sparked the ire, of the public especially when Mao’s stunning free skate performance the following day pushed her to sixth overall. Mao described her feelings on the free skate competition, “Of course I was anxious and scared, but I was able to overcome that to give my best performance ever… I felt so good I should have been smiling, but some of the previous day’s feelings lingered, so I wept,” said the 23-year old. Arriving in Japan, she avoided commenting directly on Mori’s statements, justifying her performance instead with saying that, “Humans fail. Of course it’s not acceptable and nobody who fails wants to.” Adding that “maybe he regrets his comments a bit,” in reference to Mori’s remarks.
While Mao expressed her desire to retire from competition last year, she said that she would be joining the Figure Skating World Cup next month to make up for the loss in Sochi, and show gratitude for the support Japan has given her. “After that, I want to take time out to think about my future,” said Mao, who also mentioned that retiring for her is now “half and half.”
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