Despite her heartbreaking loss at the recently concluded Winter Olympics in Sochi, Japanese figure skater Mao Asada continues to set world records, this time at the World Figure Skating Championships. She placed first in the short program, finishing with 78.66 points, a new record, topping the previous 78.50 set by Yuna Kim at the Vancouver Winter Olympics four years ago.
Opening with her trademark triple axel and skating to Chopin’s Nocturne, the 23-year-old managed to complete all her jumps and ended up in first place after the short program. She is determined to win the title for the third time, as it is the last competition for this season. The defending champion, Kim, has already retired from competitive skating and the controversial Olympic gold medalist, Russia’s Adelina Sotnikova, isn’t competing in this tournament. “My mission here is to perform both programs perfect so already half is done and tomorrow I want to focus on showing everything I have practiced,” Mao said.
It was just last month when she was under so much pressure to win the gold at the Olympics, particularly since it was going to be her last. The stress probably got to her and she fell during her triple axel, placing sixteenth after the short program. But she was able to redeem herself by performing a flawless routine the day after, openly weeping after what she calls her “best performance ever.” Even though she was only able to finish in sixth place, the social media world was talking about her performance rather than the podium placers. She is also now rethinking her initial decision to retire from competitive skating and will be assessing her future after the world championships.