Mao Asada

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Mao Asada
Mao Asada Skate America 2013 SP (2).jpg
Mao Asada at the 2013 Skate America.
Personal information
Native name 浅田 真央
Country represented  Japan
Born (1990-09-25) September 25, 1990 (age 23)
Residence Nagoya, Aichi, Japan
Height 1.63 m (5 ft 4 in)
Coach Nobuo Satō
Kumiko Sato
Former coach Hiroshi Nagakubo
Tatiana Tarasova
Rafael Arutyunyan
Machiko Yamada
Mihoko Higuchi
Yuko Monna
Choreographer Lori Nichol
Tatiana Tarasova
Former choreographer Shanetta Folle
Lea Ann Miller
Machiko Yamada
Mihoko Higuchi
Skating club Chukyo University
Training locations Toyota, Shin-Yokohama
Began skating 1995
World standing 1 (As of 29 March 2014)[1]
Season's bests 4 (2013–2014)[2]
2 (2012–2013)[3]
3 (2011–2012)[4]
2 (2010–2011)[5]
2 (2009–2010)[6]
2 (2008–2009)[7]
ISU personal best scores
Combined total 216.69[8]
2014 World Championships
Short program 78.66 (WR)[9][10]
2014 World Championships
Free skate 142.71[11]
2014 Winter Olympics
Olympic medal record
Women's figure skating
Competitor for  Japan
Silver 2010 Vancouver Singles

Mao Asada (浅田 真央 Asada Mao?, born September 25, 1990) is a Japanese competitive figure skater and an Olympic silver medalist noted for her flexibility, smooth skating skills and triple axel jumps. She is the only female figure skater who has landed three triple axels in one competition, which she achieved at the 2010 Winter Olympics.

She is the 2010 Olympic silver medalist, a three-time World champion (2008, 2010, 2014), a three-time Four Continents champion (2008, 2010, 2013), and a four-time Grand Prix Final champion (2005–06, 2008–09, 2012–13, 2013–14). She is also the 2005 World Junior champion, the 2004–05 Junior Grand Prix Final champion, and a six-time Japanese national champion (2006–2010, 2012–2013).

She currently holds the world record for the ladies' short program score.[10] A former prodigy, Asada is the fifth woman and the first junior girl to land the triple axel, accomplishing this feat at the 2004–2005 Junior Grand Prix Final. She won her first Grand Prix Final at the age of 15. Considered by many to be the best figure skater in the world at that time, Asada was 87 days too young to compete at the 2006 Winter Olympics. She is the first figure skater in a singles discipline from Asia to win multiple world championships. At the 2013 Skate America, she became the first singles skater, male or female, in history, to win all seven of the current events on the Grand Prix circuit.[12] She is one of the most highly recognized athletes in Japan.[13]

Personal life[edit]

Mao Asada was born in Nagoya, Aichi, Japan. She was named after the Japanese actress Mao Daichi. She attended Nagoya International School until the middle of 1st grade.[citation needed] After transferring, she graduated from Takabari Elementary School[citation needed] and Takabaridai Junior High.[14] She received her high school diploma from Chukyo High School on March 15, 2009.[15][16][citation needed] After that, she enrolled in Chukyo University. She paused her studies in March 2013 to focus on training.[17][citation needed] While growing up, she idolized Midori Ito.[18]

Her sister Mai Asada (two years older) is also a figure skater and finished 6th at the 2006 Four Continents Championships.[19] She is now skating in shows.

Asada owns a miniature poodle named Aero, who is named after the chocolate confection made by Nestlé. Asada has used Aero in exhibition programs. In 2008, Asada got two new puppies named Tiara and Komachi.[20]

Career[edit]

Early career[edit]

Mao Asada studied classical ballet from the age of three to nine, but in 1995 switched to figure skating, when her sister, Mai Asada, also switched from ballet to skating.[18]

She won the Japanese novice national championships in the 2002–2003 season, and earned an invitation to compete at the junior championships, where she placed 4th. She also competed in the senior national championships and placed 7th.

In the 2003–2004 season, Asada repeated the same placements at the novice and junior level and placed 8th at the senior nationals. She won the Mladost Trophy, her first international event.

2004–2005 season[edit]

In the 2004–2005 season, Asada was age-eligible for junior international competitions. She competed in the ISU Junior Grand Prix series, winning both of her events. At the Junior Grand Prix Final, she won gold with an overall score 35.08 points ahead of the silver medalist, Kim Yuna. Asada won the Japanese Junior National championships, ahead of her sister who took the silver medal, and qualified for the 2005 Junior Worlds.

Mao Asada's win earned her an invitation to the senior national championships, where she won the silver medal. Asada was not age-eligible for the 2005 World Championships. At the Junior World Championships, she won with a 20.31 lead over the silver medalist Kim Yuna.[21] She also set the junior-level ladies' record for the combined total (179.24 points) and the free skate (119.13 points).[22] Both were broken in 2012 by Yulia Lipnitskaya and 2014 by Elena Radionova.

2005–2006 season[edit]

Having won everything on the junior level, Asada moved to the senior level for the 2005–2006 season and competed on the Grand Prix circuit. During the Grand Prix Circuit, Asada defeated future medalists of 2006 Torino Winter Olympics - gold medalist Shizuka Arakawa, silver medalist Sasha Cohen, and bronze medalist Irina Slutskaya. At the 2005 Cup of China, she placed second in the short program and third in the free skate and won the silver medal. Asada won her second event, the 2005 Trophée Eric Bompard, after placing first in both the short and free program. She earned a total score of 182.42 points, 7.30 points ahead over silver medalist Sasha Cohen and 9.12 points ahead of bronze medalist Shizuka Arakawa. Her medals qualified Asada for the 2005–2006 Grand Prix Final. At her first Senior Grand Prix Final appearance, Asada won the event at the age of 15 years. She got a total score of 189.62 points after placing first in both programs, 8.14 points ahead of silver medalist Irina Slutskaya.[23]

At the 2005–2006 Japan Championships, Asada placed third in both programs and won the silver medal behind Fumie Suguri. She was not age-eligible for the Olympics.[24] At the 2006 World Junior Championships, Asada finished 24.19 points behind gold medalist Kim, and 18.21 points ahead of bronze medalist Christine Zukowski. At this competition, Asada became the first lady to land a triple axel in the short program at an ISU championship.[25]

2006–2007 season[edit]

At her first event, the 2006 Skate America, Asada won the bronze medal behind Miki Ando and Kimmie Meissner. Asada had won the short program, but was fourth in the long program, finishing with a total score 171.23 points. She was 21.36 points out of first place. Asada won her second event, the 2006 NHK Trophy with 199.52 points, setting the highest combined score in a Ladies competition under the ISU Judging System and consequently, a world record.[26] Her margin of victory was 20.21 points ahead of silver medalist Fumie Suguri.[27] Asada went into the 2006–2007 Grand Prix Final as the reigning champion. She placed second behind gold medalist Kim Yu-Na with 172.52 points, by a margin of 11.68. Asada had won the short program, but placed fourth in the long program.

Asada won the 2006–2007 Japan Championships by 26.11 points ahead of silver medalist Miki Ando. At the 2007 Worlds, Asada was fifth in the short program, 10.03 points behind Kim Yu-Na, who placed first in that section of the competition. Asada won the free skate with a score of 133.13 points, setting a new world record for the highest free skate score, a record which stood for eight months.[28] During her free skate, she successfully landed a triple axel, a triple flip-triple loop combination, a double axel, a triple lutz, a triple flip, and a triple lutz-double loop-double loop combination but under-rotated the second jump of a double axel-triple toe loop combination. She won the silver medal at her first Senior World Championships appearance, earning an overall of 194.95 points, 0.64 behind gold medalist Miki Ando and 8.31 ahead of Kim Yu-Na, who won the bronze.

2007–2008 season[edit]

Asada does a cross-grab Biellmann spiral during her short program at 2008 Worlds.

At the 2007 Skate Canada International, Asada was third in the short program and first in the long, finishing with the gold medal ahead of silver medalist Yukari Nakano. Asada won her second gold at the 2007 Trophée Eric Bompard with over 21 points ahead of silver medalist Kimmie Meissner.

Asada advanced to the 2007–2008 Grand Prix Final in Turin, Italy. In the short program, Asada did not do the jump out of footwork required element and placed 6th with a score of 59.04 points. But the next day, she rebounded in the free skate to win the free program with 132.55 points. She executed a triple axel, a triple flip-triple toe loop combination, a triple loop, a triple flip-triple loop, a double axel-double loop-double loop combination, and a double axel, but had a change-of-edge error in triple lutz. She won the silver medal with 191.59 points, 5.24 behind gold medalist Kim Yu-Na, who repeated as champion.

As in the previous year, Asada won the 2007–2008 Japan Championships. Her final score was 1.15 points ahead of silver medalist and reigning World champion Miki Ando. Asada was placed on the Japanese team for both the World and Four Continents Championships. Having left her coach, Asada competed at both events without a coach but an official from the Japan Skating Federation accompanied her as needed. Competing for the first time at Four Continents, Asada won both segments and finished 13.71 points ahead of silver medalist Joannie Rochette.

In March 2008, at the 2008 Worlds, Asada won her first World title.[29] She was second in the short program, 0.18 behind Carolina Kostner. In the long program, she was second to bronze medalist Yu-Na Kim by 1.92 points but 0.88 ahead of silver medalist Carolina Kostner.

2008–2009 season[edit]

At the 2008 Trophée Eric Bompard, Asada placed second in both programs and finished second overall with a score of 167.59 points, 12.54 behind Joannie Rochette. Asada won gold at the 2008 NHK Trophy with 191.13 points, 23.49 ahead of the silver medalist Akiko Suzuki. She qualified for the 2008–2009 Grand Prix Final. Asada won the free skate with 123.17 points and the competition overall with a total score of 188.55 points, defeating longtime rival Kim Yuna of South Korea.[30] Asada made history in the free skate by becoming the first woman to land two triple axels in the same program in an ISU competition, one in combination with a double toe loop.[31]

At the 2008–2009 Japan Championship, Asada was second behind Yukari Nakano in the short program. Asada landed three beautiful clean triple jumps in her free skate program, three other triple jumps were downgraded, including two triple axels which were judged to be under-rotated.[32] She received 117.15 points for her free skate for a total of 182.45 points overall. Placing second both in the short program and in the free skate, Asada won her third straight national title.

Entering the 2009 Four Continents in Vancouver, Canada as the defending champion, Asada placed 6th in the short program but won the free skate. Her first axel attempt was popped into a single, but she gracefully executed the second, garnering 8.80 points for the jump. She also completed a triple flip-double loop-double loop, a triple loop, and a triple flip-double loop. Asada placed third overall in the competition behind Joannie Rochette of Canada who won silver and Kim Yu-Na who won the gold.

At the 2009 World Championships, Asada placed third in the short program with 66.06 points and 4th in the free skate, where she scored 122.03 points. She finished in fourth place with a combined total score of 188.09 points.

At the inaugural 2009 World Team Trophy, she won both programs and finished first overall in the ladies' event, with personal bests in the short program (75.84 points) and combined total (201.87) The Japanese team finished third overall at that event, trailing the United States and Canada.

2009–2010 season[edit]

Asada does a Kerrigan spiral during her free program "Bells of Moscow" at the 2009 Trophée Eric Bompard.

For the 2009–2010 Grand Prix series, Asada placed third in the short program and second in the free skate, finishing with the silver medal at 2009 Trophée Eric Bompard. At the 2009 Rostelecom Cup, she placed 6th in the short and 5th in the free after landing just two triple jumps in her free program. She finished 5th overall, 21.65 points behind gold medalist Miki Ando.

At the 2009–2010 Japan Championships, Asada was first in both programs and won her fourth Japanese national title, 8.72 points ahead of silver medalist Akiko Suzuki.[33]

At the 2010 Four Continents, Asada placed third in the short program with 57.22 points after under-rotating her triple axel, popping a triple flip and receiving a timing deduction of 1.00 point. She was first in the free skate with 126.74 points, 11.9 ahead of Akiko Suzuki, and won the gold medal with a total score of 183.96 points, 10.24 points ahead of Suzuki.[34]

From February 23–25, Asada competed at the 2010 Winter Olympics. In the short program on February 23, she executed a triple axel-double toe loop, a triple flip and a double axel as well as receiving level fours for all her spins and her spiral sequence. She scored 73.78 points to place second in this phase.[35] In her free skate on February 25, she succeeded in landing two triple axels, but under-rotated the first jump of a triple flip-double loop-double loop combination and popped a planned triple toe loop into a single.[36] With 131.72 points from the free skate, Asada won the Olympic silver medal with a combined score of 205.50 points. She earned a Guinness World Record for the most triple axels performed by a female skater in a competition – one in the short program and two in the free skate.[37] Asada was Japan's flag-bearer at the closing ceremonies.

At the 2010 World Championships, Asada placed second in the short program with 68.08 points, 2.32 behind Mirai Nagasu of the United States. In her triple axel-double toe loop combination, the axel was downgraded to a double, but she executed a triple flip and a double axel and received level fours on all her spins and her spiral sequence. Asada reclaimed the world title with an overall score of 197.58 points.[38] She became the first singles figure skater from Asia to win multiple world championship titles.

2010–2011 season[edit]

After Vancouver Olympics, Asada decided to relearn all of her jumps from scratch by getting back to basics.[39] This contributed to her slump in the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 seasons. Under the guidance of her new coach Nobuo Sato, she stripped her triple jumps to their rudimentary parts and relearned each takeoff and landing, beginning with a single rotation. While reworking her jumps, Asada did not skip any competitions in 2010-2011 season.

Asada was assigned to the 2010 NHK Trophy and the 2010 Trophée Eric Bompard ISU Grand Prix events. At the 2010 NHK Trophy, Asada placed 8th in both programs and finished 8th overall with a total of 133.40 points. At the 2010 Trophée Eric Bompard, Asada placed 7th in the short program, 5th in the free skate and 5th overall, scoring a combined 148.02 points.

At the Japan national championships, Asada was first in the short program and second in the free skating. She obtained a total score of 193.69 points and won the silver medal behind Miki Ando. At the 2011 Four Continents Championships, Asada placed second in both programs and won the silver medal with a score of 196.30 points, 5.04 points behind gold medalist Miki Ando. At the 2011 World Championships, Asada placed 7th in the short program, 6th in the free skate, and finished 6th overall with 172.79 points.

2011-2012 season[edit]

Asada does her layback spin during her short program Scheherazade at the 2011 Cup of Russia.

Asada began the 2011–2012 season at the 2011 NHK Trophy. She placed third in the short program with 58.32 points and first in the free skate, garnering a total of 184.45 points and the silver medal, 1.79 behind Akiko Suzuki. At the 2011 Cup of Russia, Asada placed first in the short program with 64.29 points. She earned a level four on her straight line step sequence with +1.30 GOE. She won the event and qualified for the Grand Prix Final. She withdrew from the Final due to her mother's serious illness.[40] Her mother died of liver cirrhosis in Nagoya Hospital while Asada was flying back to Japan.[41][42]

Placing second in both programs at the 2011–2012 Japanese National Championships, Asada secured her fifth national title and a berth to the ISU Championships.[43] First in the short program and second in the free, Asada won the silver medal at the 2012 Four Continents Championships behind gold medalist Ashley Wagner of the United States. At the 2012 Worlds, Asada placed 4th in the short program, 6th in the free skate, and finished 6th overall with 164.52 points.

After a disappointing sixth at the 2012 world championship, her mother's death, and vexation of learning to jump again, Asada was considering not to compete. Upon visiting her choreographer Lori Nichol on May 2012 for an exhibition number, Asada realized that she still liked skating.[44]

2012–2013 season[edit]

Asada performing her free skate to Swan Lake at 2013 World Championships.

Asada began the 2012–2013 season at the Japan Open, performing to Swan Lake. She won gold at her two Grand Prix events, the 2012 Cup of China and the 2012 NHK Trophy, qualifying her to the 2012–2013 Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final. Seven years after her triumph in Torino (Italy), and three years after her victory in Goyang City (Korea), Asada won her third title at the Grand Prix Final in Sochi (Russia),[45][46] placing first in both the short program[47] and long program. Asada won her sixth national title at the Japan Nationals.[48]

At the 2013 Four Continents, Asada placed first in the short program with a score of 74.49 points after landing her first triple axel this season, together with triple flipdouble loop combination and a triple loop.[49] She also won the free skate with a score of 130.96, taking the gold medal with an overall score of 205.45 points, while teammates Akiko Suzuki and Kanako Murakami took the silver and bronze medals respectively.[50]

Asada returned to the World podium with a bronze medal finish at the 2013 World Championships with a personal best free skate score of 134.37. Asada placed fifth at the World Team Trophy and team Japan placed third.

2013–2014 season[edit]

Asada began the 2013–2014 season at the Japan Open, performing to Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 2. She was assigned to the 2013 Skate America and the 2013 NHK Trophy for the 2013–2014 ISU Grand Prix season.

At the 2013 Skate America, Asada received a score of 73.18 in the short program and 131.37 in the free skate, placing first both of them. She won the event with 204.55 points, 10.74 points ahead of silver medalist Ashley Wagner.

Her success continued at the 2013 NHK Trophy. Asada finished first in the short program with a score of 71.26. In the free skate, she earned a personal best score of 136.33. Her total score is 207.59, another personal best and was 15.78 points ahead of silver medalist Elena Radionova.

Winning both her Grand Prix assignments, she was able to advance to the 2013–2014 Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final. With first place finishes in both the short program and the free skate, Asada took her fourth Grand Prix Final title with a total score of 204.02, 11.95 points ahead of silver medalist Yulia Lipnitskaya and 16.41 points ahead of bronze medalist Ashley Wagner.

In late December, Asada competed in the 2013–2014 Japan Figure Skating Championships. She led after a strong short program, but only placed 3rd in the free skate, dropping to 3rd overall, behind champion Akiko Suzuki and Kanako Murakami. Asada, along with Suzuki and Murakami, were selected to be the Japanese ladies singles team to compete at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, as well as the 2014 World Figure Skating Championships in Saitama, Japan.

In the Team Event at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, Asada fell on her triple axel and placed third in the short program overall; Team Japan finished fourth. In the ladies' singles event, she placed 16th in the short program after falling on her triple axel and doubling her triple loop. The next day, she rebounded in the free skate, earning a personal best score of 142.71 and placing third, and placed sixth overall. Asada's free skate was the most technically difficult of all the ladies, landing all eight triple jumps. Asada successfully landed a triple axel, a triple flip-triple loop combination, a triple lutz, a double axeltriple toe loop combination, a triple salchow, a triple flip-double loop-double loop combination and a triple loop. However, two of them were under-rotated (triple loop and triple toe loop, both from combination jumps) and took a triple lutz off the wrong edge. She also excelled in other elements, hitting a maximum level-four in three spins and a step sequence. Among all the competitors in Ladies' Free Skate Event, Asada is the only woman who landed a triple axel and a triple loop jump as her second jump in a combination. Her base score in the free skate was 66.34, much higher than the winners of the gold, silver, and bronze medals, Russia’s Adelina Sotnikova (61.43), South Korea’s Kim Yuna (57.49), and Italy’s Carolina Kostner (58.45).[51][52] Asada continued the legacy of Midori Ito by successfully completing her opening triple axel in Olympics using the same piece, Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 2. Asada's dramatic comeback from devastating short program to an awe-inspiring free skate has touched many fans and celebrity sports figures including Russian legend Evgeni Plushenko who called her a "real fighter" on Twitter.[53][54]

At the 2014 World Figure Skating Championships, she broke the world record for the short program by scoring 78.66, 0.16 points higher than the former record held by Yuna Kim, which was earned at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.[10][55] Asada landed a triple axel, a triple flip and triple loop-double loop combination. She also received level fours for her spins and her step sequence. She then went on to score 138.03 in the free skate, winning her third world title with a total of 216.69, a personal best for her. Her margin of victory was 9.19 points ahead of silver medalist Yulia Lipnitskaya and 12.86 points ahead of bronze medalist Carolina Kostner. With this victory, she became the third woman (after Michelle Kwan and Katarina Witt) in the last 45 years, and only the tenth woman in history, to have won three world championship titles.[56]

After winning her third World Championship title in Japan, Asada stated that there is a 50-50 chance she will continue her career.[57]

Skating technique[edit]

Asada performs a one-handed Biellmann spin at the 2006 Skate America practice.

Asada is known for her flexibility in spins and spirals. During her first two years on the international scene, Asada became known for her signature move, the cross-grab Biellmann position. She is also noted for performing the one-handed Biellmann spin in competition. She has received +2.60 grade of execution for her spiral sequence.[58] Asada is also known for the complexity of her footwork sequence and has earned +2.00 grade of execution.[59][60]

Asada landed her first triple axel jump at the age of 12, and she became the first lady to perform a triple-triple-triple combination in national competition, which was a triple flip-triple loop-triple toe loop combination.[61] At the age of 14, Asada landed a triple axel in her free skating program at the 2004 Junior Grand Prix Final, held in December 2004 at Helsinki, Finland, becoming the first junior girl to do one in an international event. She has since been known for her triple axel jumps.[62]

Starting with the 2007–2008 season, criteria for judging jump take-off and landing technique were made more rigorous, and Asada began to be penalized for under-rotating her jumps and for change-of-edge errors on her Lutz jump, colloquially called a "flutz."[63]

Asada did not include salchow jumps in her junior and senior career programs until 2008. She had stated previously that the triple salchow was the first triple jump she had ever landed and that she did not have a problem landing it cleanly, but she was not comfortable using the jump in competition because it is one of her least favorite jumps.[20] Asada added the triple salchow to her free skate program in the 2008 NHK Trophy[64] and 2008-2009 Grand Prix Final.[65]

Normally, Asada uses a triple loop jump as her second jump in a combination, especially after the triple flip. However, she added the toe loop to her free program as the second jump of her first triple-triple combination during the 2004–2005 season,[66] a triple flip-triple toe loop. In the 2006–2007 season she used the double axel-triple toe, while in the 2007–2008 season she performed the triple flip-triple toe loop again.

In the 2008–2009 season she executed the triple axel-double toe loop combination in international competition, first getting full credit for it at the 2008-2009 Grand Prix Final.[65] At that same competition, Asada became the first female skater to land two triple axels in the same program.[31] She is also the only woman to have landed three triple axel jumps in the same competition at an ISU competition. She has a Guinness World Record for the most triple axels performed by a female skater in competition.[37]

After finishing second in 2010 Winter Olympics, Asada decided on the drastic measure of reworking her jumps.[67] The goal was a more fluid jump by adding speed to the approach run, which would increase the height of jumps and the speed of spins. Asada also corrected her habit of moving her shoulders up and down before making a jump. The reworking process set her back for two seasons. Asada found that her jumping began to suffer and she was making mistakes on all her jumps.[68] During the 2012-2013 season, her performance improved and she went on a winning streak. Her component score, which had mostly remained in the 7 range, edged above 8. By the 2013-2014 season, Asada said, "every single one of my skating techniques had been changed."[69] In 2014 Winter Olympics - Ladies Free Skate Event, Asada had executed all six different types of triple jumps.

Asada has been known to practice and land quadruple jumps in training. She credits training alongside Takahiko Kozuka for improving her spins. The number of rotations she is able to achieve with one kick increased from 30 to 104.[39]

Triple axel[edit]

Asada landed triple axels at the following competitions. NOTE: Under-rotated and downgraded triple axels are not included in the list.

Season Age Competition
2013-2014 23
  • 2014 ISU World Championships (SP)[70]
  • 2014 Winter Olympics (FS)[71]
    First woman to land 8 triple jumps in a long program, including triple axel
  • 2013 ISU Grand Prix NHK Trophy (SP)[60]
  • 2013 ISU Grand Prix Skate America (SP)[72]
2012-2013 22
  • 2013 ISU World Championships (SP and FS)[73][74]
  • 2013 ISU Four Continents Championships (SP)[59]
2011-2012 21

none

2010-2011 20
  • 2011 ISU Four Continents Championships (FS)[75]
  • 2010–2011 Japanese National Championships (SP)[76]
2009-2010 19
  • 2010 ISU World Championships (FS)[77]
  • 2010 Winter Olympics (SP & FS)[58][78]
    First woman to land three triple axels in one competition
  • 2010 Four Continents Championships (FS - a triple axel and a combination with double toe loop)[79]
  • 2009–2010 Japanese National Championships (FS)[80]
  • 2009 ISU Grand Prix Trophée Eric Bompard (FS - a combination with double toe loop)[81]
2008-2009 18
  • 2009 ISU World Team Trophy (SP - a combination with double toe loop, and FS)[82][83]
  • 2009 ISU World Championships (FS - a combination with double toe loop)[84]
  • 2009 Four Continents Championships (FS)[85]
  • 2008–2009 ISU Grand Prix Final (FS - a triple axel and a combination with double toe loop)[65]
    First woman to land two triple axel jumps in the same program.
  • 2008 ISU Grand Prix NHK Trophy (FS)[64]
  • 2008 ISU Grand Prix Trophée Eric Bompard (FS)[86]
2007-2008 17
  • 2008 Four Continents Championships (FS)[87]
  • 2007–2008 ISU Grand Prix Final (FS)[88]
2006-2007 16
  • 2007 ISU World Championships (FS)[89]
  • 2006–2007 Japanese National Championships (FS)[90]
  • 2006 ISU Grand Prix NHK Trophy (FS)[91]
2005-2006 15
  • 2006 ISU World Junior Championships (SP)[92]
    First woman to land triple axel in the short program at an ISU championship.
  • 2005–2006 Japanese National Championships (FS - a triple axel and a combination with single toe loop)[93]
    First woman to land two triple axel in one program at a national competition.
  • 2005–2006 ISU Grand Prix Final (FS)[94]
  • 2005 ISU Grand Prix Trophée Eric Bompard (FS)[95]
2004-2005 14
  • 2005 World Junior Championships (FS)
  • 2004–2005 ISU Junior Grand Prix Final (FS)
    First woman to land the triple axel in junior international competition.

Records and achievements[edit]

  • Fifth woman in history to land the triple axel jump in international competition.
  • First woman to land the triple axel in a short program at the Winter Olympics.
  • First woman to land the triple axel at the World Junior Championships.[21]
  • First woman to land the triple axel in junior international competition.
  • First woman to land two triple axel jumps in the same program.
  • First and only woman to land three triple axel jumps in one competition (2010 Winter Olympics).[96]
  • First and only woman to land the triple axel in two Winter Olympic events (2010 Vancouver and 2014 Sochi).
  • First woman to land 8 triple jumps in a free skate, including all six kinds of triple jumps (2014 Winter Olympics).[69]
  • First figure skater in a singles discipline from Asia to win multiple world championships.
  • First figure skater in a singles discipline from Asia to win three world championships.
  • Record holder for most Four Continents Championships titles won by a woman, tied with Fumie Suguri.
  • Record holder for most Grand Prix Final titles won by a woman, tied with Irina Slutskaya.
  • First figure skater in a singles discipline, male or female, to win all 7 of the current events on the Grand Prix circuit.[97]
  • Has the second-most number of victories on the Grand Prix circuit (14) by a woman, behind Irina Slutskaya.
  • Currently holds the world record for the ladies' short program score (78.66).[98]
  • Former world record holder for the ladies' free skate score (133.13), set at the 2007 World Championships. [20][28]
  • Former world record holder for the ladies' combined total score (199.52), set at the 2006 NHK Trophy. [20][26]
  • Former world record holder for the junior ladies' free skate score (119.13), set at the 2005 World Junior Championships.[22]
  • Former world record holder for the junior ladies' combined total score (179.24), set at the 2005 World Junior Championships.[22]
  • Second woman to break the 200-point barrier in international competition (2009 ISU World Team Trophy).
  • Third woman to break the 140-point barrier in the ladies' free skate in international competition (2014 Winter Olympics).
  • First woman to break the 200-point barrier three consecutive times in international competition (2013 Skate America, 2013 NHK Trophy and 2013-2014 Grand Prix Final).
  • Third Japanese female figure skater to win an Olympic medal.
  • Fourth Japanese figure skater to win an Olympic medal.
  • First Japanese figure skater to win three world championship titles.[56]

Coaching changes[edit]

Coach Nobuo Sato (left) and Mao Asada (right) at the 2011 Cup of Russia.

Asada originally trained in Japan, but left for the U.S. in August 2006 to train with Rafael Arutunian in Lake Arrowhead, California. There she was able to escape the overcrowding of Japanese rinks and the pressure of the Japanese media. Before 2008 Four Continents Championships, she split with Arutunian[99] and returned to Japan to practice on the new Aurora Rink at Chukyo University, where she does not have any problems getting ice time. She went to Worlds, and won, without a coach.[100]

During the summer of 2007, Asada received additional training in Russia from Tatiana Tarasova, while Arutunian remained her primary coach. The following summer, after leaving Arutunian, Asada returned to Russia, and formally decided to be coached by Tarasova.[101] However, their cooperation was hampered by Tarasova's health problems and Asada trained mostly in Nagoya, Japan, with her assistant Jeanetta Folle; in February 1, 2010, Asada indicated she had not been coached by Tarasova since the 2009 Cup of Russia in October.[34] Tarasova was present with Asada at the 2010 Olympics but after the event, Asada chose to be based in her hometown Nagoya and parted ways with Tarasova.[102]

On June 17, 2010, Asada announced that her new jump coach was Hiroshi Nagakubo.[103] In September 2010, Nobuo Sato became Asada's new coach and Asada ended her relationship with coach Nagakubo.[104][105]

Public life and endorsements[edit]

Asada is very popular in Japan and is credited with increasing the popularity of figure skating in Japan. She began to draw attention while still on the junior circuit and is a household name in Japan, known by the affectionate nickname "Mao-chan".[106] During the 2014 Winter Olympics, Asada became the most discussed and mentioned athlete of the Olympics on the social networking website Twitter, ahead of Kim Yuna, ice hockey player T. J. Oshie, and snowboarder Shaun White.[107]

Asada headlines her own exhibition show called "The Ice", which began from the summer of 2008, with her sister Mai Asada.[108] Her skating music was compiled on two albums by EMI Music Japan: Mai & Mao Asada Skating Music and Mai & Mao Asada Skating Music 2008–09.[citation needed] The Asada sisters have also been named as goodwill ambassadors to Canada, and have traveled to Canada to serve in that role.[20]

In 2011, Asada launched her own kimono brand named MaoMao.[109][110] In January 2012, Asada cancelled the release of a book on her skating career; she stated, "The way the book was advertised was different from what I had in mind."[111]

Asada has appeared in many variety television shows as well as in commercials. She and her dog Aero, named after Aero chocolates, have been featured in chocolate commercials in Japan.[20] Asada's sponsors include Coca Cola, Itoham Foods, Kao, Lotte, Nestlé, Oji Paper Company, Olympus Corporation, Omron, Sato Pharmaceutical, United Airlines, and Weider.[112][113] Other sponsors include Weider In Jelly, Nippon Life Insurance Company, and Weavajapan.[citation needed] On 25 December 2013, Japan Airlines unveiled a new Boeing 777–300 (JA8942) with a special Mao Asada livery to promote Japan's participation in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.[114]

During the 2010 Winter Olympics, a popular Vancouver Japanese street food vendor, Japadog, named a hot dog after Asada called the Mao Dog. Similarly, a local sushi store created a sushi roll and named it the Mao Roll after Asada.[115] After Asada's silver medal win, Japanese dollmaker Kyugetsu created a Mao Asada hina doll in celebration of her efforts.[116] In December 2013, chrysanthemum farmers in the Ryukyu Islands named a new crop of chrysanthemums "Mao Orange" after the colour of Asada's short program dress from the 2012–2013 season.[117]

On April 8, 2014, Asada's exhibition named "Smile" opened at Takashimaya department store in Tokyo's Nihonbashi district. This drew more than 10,000 visitors on its first day, outperforming every other event opening at the establishment for the past 10 years.[118] In just nine days, it hit more than 100,000 visitors, the shortest period to reach the milestone in Takashimaya's history.[119] The exhibition includes a collection of 30 costumes that were worn by Asada and a display of medals she has won over the years, among them the silver she scooped up at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics.

She is also a big fan of Japanese pop star Ayumi Hamasaki, and was seen congratulating her on her 10th Anniversary.[citation needed] Asada is frequently referred to in French media as the 'goddaughter' of figure skater Philippe Candeloro, who has called himself her 'godfather'.[citation needed]

Programs[edit]

Asada does an arabesque spiral during her exhibition program Smile at the 2013-2014 Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final.
Asada does an inside spread eagle in her exhibition program at the 2012-2013 Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final.
Asada does a Y-spiral during her exhibition program "Capriccio Number 24" at the 2010 World Figure Skating Championships.
Season Short program Free skating Exhibition
2013–2014
[120]
2012–2013
[109][121]
2011–2012
[122]

2010–2011
[123]
  • Liebesträume
    by Franz Liszt
    choreo. by Lori Nichol
  • Ballade No. 1 in G minor, Op. 23, CT. 2
    by Frédéric Chopin
    choreo. by Tatiana Tarasova
2009–2010
[124]
2008–2009
[125]
  • Waltz from Masquerade Suite
    by Aram Khachaturian
    choreo. by Tatiana Tarasova

2007–2008
[126]
2006–2007
[127]
  • Nocturne No.2 Op. 9–2
    in E flat major
    by Frédéric Chopin
    choreo. by Lori Nichol
2005–2006
[128]
2004–2005
[129]
2003–2004
2002–2003

Competitive highlights[edit]

Asada (right) on the podium at the 2013 World Championships
Asada (center) on the podium at the 2010 World Championships.
Asada (center) on the podium at the 2008 World Championships.
Results[130]
International
Event 2002–03 2003–04 2004–05 2005–06 2006–07 2007–08 2008–09 2009–10 2010–11 2011–12 2012–13 2013–14
Olympics 2nd 6th
Worlds 2nd 1st 4th 1st 6th 6th 3rd 1st
Four Continents 1st 3rd 1st 2nd 2nd 1st
Grand Prix Final 1st 2nd 2nd 1st WD 1st 1st
GP Bompard 1st 1st 2nd 2nd 5th
GP Cup of China 2nd 1st
GP NHK Trophy 1st 1st 8th 2nd 1st 1st
GP Rostelecom 5th 1st
GP Skate Canada 1st
GP Skate America 3rd 1st
International: Junior, Novice
Junior Worlds 1st 2nd
JGP Final 1st
JGP Ukraine 1st
JGP USA 1st
Mladost Trophy 1st N.
Helena Pajovic 1st N.
National
Event 2002–03 2003–04 2004–05 2005–06 2006–07 2007–08 2008–09 2009–10 2010–11 2011–12 2012–13 2013–14
Japan Champ. 7th 8th 2nd 2nd 1st 1st 1st 1st 2nd 1st 1st 3rd
Japan Junior 4th 4th 1st
Japan Novice 1st 1st
Team events
Olympics 5th
World Team 3T / 1P 3T / 5P
Japan Open 1T / 1P 1T / 4P 1T / 1P 3T / 3P 1T / 5P 1T / 2P 1T / 1P
GP = Grand Prix; JGP = Junior Grand Prix; N. = Novice level; WD = Withdrew
T = Team result; P = Personal result; Medals awarded for team result only.

Detailed results[edit]

Asada at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics medal ceremony.
Asada with her gold medal at the 2010 World Championships medal ceremony
Asada with her gold medal at the 2008 World Championships

(Small medals for short and free programs awarded only at ISU Championships. At team events, medals awarded for team results only.)

2006–present[edit]

2013–2014 season
Date Event SP FS Total
March 24–30, 2014 2014 ISU World Championships 1
78.66
1
138.03
1
216.69
February 20–21, 2014 2014 Winter Olympic Games 16
55.51
3
142.71
6
198.22
December 20–23, 2013 2013–2014 Japanese National Championships 1
73.01
3
126.49
3
199.50
December 5–8, 2013 2013–2014 ISU Grand Prix Final 1
72.36
1
131.66
1
204.02
November 8–10, 2013 2013 ISU Grand Prix NHK Trophy 1
71.26
1
136.33
1
207.59
October 18–20, 2013 2013 ISU Grand Prix Skate America 1
73.18
1
131.37
1
204.55
October 5, 2013 2013 Japan Open (individual)
1
135.16

2012–2013 season
Date Event SP FS Total
April 11–14, 2013 2013 ISU World Team Trophy 5
59.39
5
117.97
5
177.36
March 10–17, 2013 2013 ISU World Championships 6
62.10
2
134.37
3
196.47
February 6–11, 2013 2013 ISU Four Continents Championships 1
74.49
1
130.96
1
205.45
December 20–24, 2012 2012–2013 Japanese National Championships 2
62.81
1
130.75
1
193.56
December 6–9, 2012 2012–2013 ISU Grand Prix Final 1
66.96
1
129.84
1
196.80
November 23 – 25, 2012 2012 ISU Grand Prix NHK Trophy 1
67.95
2
117.32
1
185.27
November 2–4, 2012 2012 ISU Grand Prix Cup of China 2
62.89
1
118.87
1
181.76
October 6, 2012 2012 Japan Open (individual) 2
122.04
2011–2012 season
Date Event SP FS Total
March 26–31, 2012 2012 ISU World Championships 4
59.49
6
105.03
6
164.52
February 7–12, 2012 2012 ISU Four Continents Championships 1
64.25
2
124.37
2
188.62
December 22–26, 2011 2011–2012 Japanese National Championships 2
65.40
2
118.67
1
184.07
November 24–27, 2011 2011 ISU Grand Prix Rostelecom Cup 1
64.29
1
118.96
1
183.25
November 11–13, 2011 2011 ISU Grand Prix NHK Trophy 3
58.42
1
125.77
2
184.19
2010–2011 season
Date Event SP FS Total
April 24 – May 1, 2011 2011 ISU World Championships 7
58.66
6
114.13
6
172.79
February 15–20, 2011 2011 ISU Four Continents Championships 2
63.41
2
132.89
2
196.30
December 23–26, 2010 2010–2011 Japanese National Championships 1
66.22
2
127.47
2
193.69
November 26–28, 2010 2010 ISU Grand Prix Trophée Eric Bompard 7
50.10
5
97.92
5
148.02
October 22–24, 2010 2010 ISU Grand Prix NHK Trophy 8
47.95
8
85.45
8
133.40
October 2, 2010 2010 Japan Open (individual) 5
92.44
2009–2010 season
Date Event SP FS Total
March 22–28, 2010 2010 ISU World Championships 2
68.08
2
129.50
1
197.58
February 14–27, 2010 2010 Winter Olympic Games 2
73.78
2
131.72
2
205.50
January 25–31, 2010 2010 ISU Four Continents Championships 3
57.22
1
126.74
1
183.96
December 25–27, 2009 2009–2010 Japanese National Championships 1
69.12
1
135.50
1
204.62
October 22–25, 2009 2009 ISU Grand Prix Rostelecom Cup 6
51.94
5
98.34
5
150.28
October 15–18, 2009 2009 ISU Grand Prix Trophée Eric Bompard 3
58.96
2
115.03
2
173.99
October 3, 2009 2009 Japan Open (individual) 3
102.94
2008–2009 season
Date Event SP FS Total
April 15–19, 2009 2009 ISU World Team Trophy 1
75.84
1
126.03
1
201.87
March 23–29, 2009 2009 ISU World Championships 3
66.06
4
122.03
4
188.09
February 4–8, 2009 2009 ISU Four Continents Championships 6
57.86
1
118.66
3
176.52
December 25–27, 2008 2008–2009 Japanese National Championships 2
65.30
2
117.15
1
182.45
December 11–14, 2008 2008–2009 ISU Grand Prix Final 2
65.38
1
123.17
1
188.55
November 27–30, 2008 2008 ISU Grand Prix NHK Trophy 1
64.64
1
126.49
1
191.13
November 13–16, 2008 2008 ISU Grand Prix Trophée Eric Bompard 2
58.12
2
109.47
2
167.59
2007–2008 season
Date Event SP FS Total
March 17–23, 2008 2008 ISU World Championships 2
64.10
2
121.46
1
185.56
February 13–17, 2008 2008 ISU Four Continents Championships 1
60.94
1
132.31
1
193.25
December 26–28, 2007 2007–2008 Japanese National Championships 1
72.92
2
132.41
1
205.33
December 13–16, 2007 2007–2008 ISU Grand Prix Final 6
59.04
1
132.55
2
191.59
November 15 – 18, 2007 2007 ISU Grand Prix Trophée Eric Bompard 1
56.90
1
122.90
1
179.80
November 1 – 4, 2007 2007 ISU Grand Prix Skate Canada 3
58.08
1
119.58
1
177.66
2006–2007 season
Date Event SP FS Total
March 19–25, 2007 2007 ISU World Championships 5
61.32
1
133.13
2
194.45
December 27–29, 2006. 2006–2007 Japanese National Championships 1
71.14
1
140.62
1
211.76
December 14–17, 2006 2006–2007 ISU Grand Prix Final 1
69.34
4
103.18
2
172.52
November 30 – December 3,
2006
2006 ISU Grand Prix NHK Trophy 1
69.50
1
130.02
1
199.52
October 26 – 29, 2006 2006 ISU Grand Prix Skate America 1
68.84
4
102.39
3
171.23
  • World records highlighted in bold and Italic
  • Personal bests highlighted in bold
  • ISU seasons' bests highlighted in Italic.

2003–2006[edit]

2005–2006 season
Date Event Level QR SP FS Total
March 6–12, 2006 2006 ISU World Junior Championships Junior 1
113.58
2
56.10
2
97.25
2
153.35
December 23–25, 2005 2005–2006 Japanese National Championships Senior 3
66.64
3
121.46
2
188.10
December 16 – 18, 2005 2005–2006 ISU Grand Prix Final Senior 1
64.38
1
125.24
1
189.62
November 17–20, 2005 2005 ISU Grand Prix Trophée Eric Bompard Senior 1
63.96
1
118.46
1
182.42
November 2–6, 2005 2005 ISU Grand Prix Cup of China Senior 2
62.92
3
113.68
2
176.60
2004–2005 season
Date Event Level QR SP FS Total
February 26 – March 3,
2005
2005 World Junior Championships Junior 1
112.32
1
60.11
1
119.13
1
179.24
December 24–26, 2004. 2004–2005 Japanese National Championships Senior 4
60.46
2
106.36
2
166.82
December 2–5, 2004 2004–2005 ISU Junior Grand Prix Final Junior 1
57.91
1
114.92
1
172.83
September 29 – October 3,
2004
2004 ISU Junior Grand Prix, Ukraine Junior 1
56.24
1
86.75
1
142.99
September 9–12, 2004 2004 ISU Junior Grand Prix, USA Junior 1
50.14
1
87.88
1
138.02
2003–2004 season
Date Event Level TFP SP FS Total
March 10–13, 2004 2004 Mladost Trophy Novice 1.5 1 1 1
December 2–5, 2003 2003 Helena Pajovic Cup Novice 2.0 2 1 1
  • QR = Qualifying round

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External links[edit]

World Records Holder
Preceded by
South Korea Kim Yuna
Ladies' Short Program
27 March 2014 – present
Succeeded by
Incumbent
Preceded by
United States Sasha Cohen
Ladies' Free Skating
24 March 2007 – 24 November 2007
Succeeded by
South Korea Kim Yuna
Preceded by
Russia Irina Slutskaya
Ladies' Total Score
2 December 2006 – 28 March 2009
Succeeded by
South Korea Kim Yuna