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Monday, October 21, 2013

Mao Asada, dream podium candidate

I have already expressed my admiration for Mao Asada's countrywoman Akiko Suzuki, but I shouldn't neglect Mao, who is lovely herself. Mao came into the senior ranks with extremely high expectations, and while she hasn't always lived up to them, she's certainly had her share of of impressive accomplishments. And she really has been a delight to watch. I'll admit I actually didn't pay her much notice for the first couple of years in her career. Since then, however...

I loved her gala performance at 2009 Worlds

 I liked her even she wasn't in great form

 And when she went with a program a bit too dark for her style

 Her very brief pairs career with Daisuke Takahashi was also awesome (starting around 2:40)

A drama queenish pose at the 2010 Trophee Eric Bompard

The Mary Poppins exhibition (in this case, at the 2013 Worlds gala) was adorable

And more recently, she skated a lovely SP at 2013 Skate America

Mao has faced athletic challenges, as the scoring system shifted to emphasize full rotations and correct edges, necessitating a lot of work on her jump technique (which still leaves some things to be desired, but nobody's perfect). She has also dealt with personal challenges, most notably the loss of her mother in the midst of the 2011-12 season, following a long illness. When her mother passed away, Mao said that she would strive to do her best and achieve her dreams as a way of honoring her mother (the phrasing may be off, but I believe this was the sentiment). Mao's accomplishments should make her, and all those who train and support her, very proud. I hope there are good things in store for her this season and beyond.

I'm going to end up with too many skaters for my dream ladies podium. There should at least be a pewter medal like at US Nationals.

Edit: let's pretend I posted all this to mark her becoming the first singles skater to win all six GPs.

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