Many see her decision to go pro as a boon for Japanese figure skating. Sadly, experts say that's unlikely to be the case, with Asia's first figure skating gold medallist likely to head to greener pastures paying greenbacks.
"Unfortunately, she'll probably go over to the U.S.," skating journalist Toshimi Oriyama tells Weekly Playboy. "Arakawa now has the technique to make it in the States. Her graceful skating is highly regarded over there. And she's always like the real ice shows they put on and sees them as giving her a chance to really test her abilities."
Oriyama says Arakawa is motivated as much by the desire to be the best possible skater as she is by how much she can make out of the rink.
"Arakawa is a skater to her core. But she doesn't want to be bound by rules and point scoring. She wants to be free to skate as well as she can, without any restrictions," Oriyama says. "She's not going to stay around in Japan, where there aren't many ice shows, the level of professionalism is poor and the pay is bad. She's got to go to the States, where the performance money is totally out of the ballpark in comparison."