05-31-2012, 12:58 AM
I agree with you.
Originally Posted by Olympia
And to the contrary, I have a mixed feeling concerning Mao.
Mao at age 15, she was a made-in-heaven like skater; floating on the ice effortlessly, airy jumps, popping energy which is typical of the youth and that angelic smile!...she was like a cotton candy on the blades, and her love and joy for skating clearly showed in her skating and on her face.
But once she was old enough to officially compete on the senior level, she appreared less enjoying of her skating, more tense, afraid of making any mistakes even before the actual competitions got started... It seemed to me that figure skating became more of the profession, the obligation, the burden sort of thing to Mao. (I feel the same way concerning YuNa. They were too young to shoulder these responsibilities, weren't they?) We got to see her smiles less and less.
It's been 6 seasons since then. While I appreciate Artunian and Tarasova for helping Mao technically, mentally and artistically to go up to the top, (the fact that she is already a 2-time world champion proves so ), I am not sure if they were the ideal or adequate coaches. Mao has been always ready to meet ideal coaches since then, she hasn't met her any yet.
Mao has been adored so much by everyone around her since she was a small kid. But she was, and still is very shy in front of strangers, tending to shelter herself from th outside world. It takes time for her to understand people who were unknown to her before, get along well with them, and start trusting them. Mao resembles Daisuke for that matter.
It was good for Dai he met Mrs. Nagamitsu when he was very young, though. To the eye of Mrs. Nagamitsu, Dai was a nice kid from the beginning to behave well, respect elder people, and do whatever was told to do. But he sheltered himself in his own world and never revealed her his true feelings for a long time, Nagamitsu once said. They had no fights in those days, because they were still reserved with each other, you know. It took 3-4 years for him to start fully trusting his coach (and start fighting! ).
I sincerely hope The Satos are finally her ideal coaches whom Mao can trust, rely upon, and open her heart to, no matter what.
Last edited by deedee1; 05-31-2012 at 01:02 AM.
05-31-2012, 04:01 AM
In February 2002, Takahashi at age 15 won the very first Mens world junior title by a Japanese male single skater. Nagamitsu decided to take him abroad and journeyed around the world together to learn from the great mastery coaches. Because she knew he was so talented, probably too talented that she could not handle it by her own. She believed that, in order to fullfil his potential, it would be much better to leave him with the hands of world's top coaches who are experienced with deeper knowledge and more appropriate skills for training than herself.
"What is the most remarkable with Utako sensei is once she decides to leave something to someone, she leaves it to that person till the end. She never have a say, never interrupt and never take it back!", Takahashi agrees.
"Well, I won't leave anything to anybody just rondumly or blinldy, of course! But my policy is 'better leave it to its specialist.', you know." If she saw her boy was the least flexible so that he might risk getting injured himself, she instructed his conditioning trainer to do something to prevent that. As for harder jumps such as quads, which is the unknown area to her as she never tried those jumps herself, she contacted Takeshi Honda, who placed 4th at the Salt Lake City Olympics in 2002, and invietd him to join her team in Kansai University to help Takahashi. If she doubts whether she herslef fully understands all changes on rules, she right away calls Makoto Okazaki, who is one of the licensed ISU's technical specialists, and entrusts him to check levels for spins and steps.
"I thought it would be beneficial for Dai, too, if there are a couple of older guys (than him) around him, he can talk to one of them and get some advice, on and off ice, as needed." She is such kind of person who is the least conceited, knowing her own limitations as a coach, and who can properly deal with things depending on the circumstances.
As a result, she got to spend more time to observe her skater objectively; out of the rink and from the viewpoints of audience.
Another remarkable episode about her is she never visited Takahashi in the hospital who had surgery in his injured knee and was undergoing its rehab trainings for months. Takahashi once called her from the hospital, telling in a pessimistic tone of voice thru his cell phone, "I am not sure how much longer I can hold out with this...". She ignored his sentiment and replied with a small laugh, "Hum? you are not sure??" At the point when Takahashi actually did run away from the hospital and disappeared for days, she of course panicked. But she was so convinced that he would come back. 'Dai is such a boy with great sensitiveness. He senses it. He already knows what we want to tell him, without hearing any words from us...' She decided to wait for him, instead of searching for him everywhere.
"Utako sensei never scolded me, not once, even at times I did not get good results all these years. She always stayed by my side and encouraged me to do my best. My coach is the absolute being for me; I trust her more than I trust myself."
Takahashi also won the gold medal at the Worlds the next month (March 2010). The season has turned out to be the most successful for both of them.
The night before when they were ready to go back home finally, Nagamitsu slipped and fell in the bathroom at a hotel in Torino and broke her right arm. "I met with my misfortune here. Should be a sign of good fortunes in the future!", says with a laugh. Nagamitsu rather regards her injury as blessings from the God on the new chapter of her and her boy's long journey.
Last edited by deedee1; 05-31-2012 at 08:28 PM.
05-31-2012, 06:28 AM
Deedee - I have enjoyed reading and learning about this remarkable woman and coach, I am sorry it is the end.
I appreciate and thank you for taking the time to translate and share with us.
05-31-2012, 06:42 AM
The last installment is just about the best, because it brings out both their personalities! I'm sorry it's the end of the article, but I'm sure I'll be going back and rereading, so the enjoyment will last. Thanks so much for all your work on this.
I agree with you about Mao, and like you I desperately hope that the Satos are her perfect coaches, as Nagamitsu is for Daisuke and Orser seems to have been for YuNa. Mao is such a treasure and a gift to skating, and I'd love to know that she's getting the most out of her experience as a skater. I love your description of her as cotton candy on the ice. It's true that lightness is one of her greatest characteristics. It's a trait that, even though I also love YuNa, I don't think YuNa has. Kim is smooth and powerful, but Mao seems to be in flight. Both of those ladies have faced unbelievable pressure in their skating careers, and they've done it with grace and effectiveness.
05-31-2012, 12:01 PM
There was a preamble before the interview that didn't enter the translation. There the author admires Dai's performanace at Worlds, how the audience cheered him and goes with the title in English "Heart and mind of gold." That was really something to see Dai not in just some sport magazine but in Numero. Among Cartier, LV, Dior, Gucci, Tasaki, etc., ads, as well as Kitano exhibition, Botanical sculpture, Chanel Classic revisited, Mizuma Art Gallery stuff and others. Dai there, in that avant-garde worlds of fashion, art and luxury, as a brand of fineness and sophistication. The Wiki claims that when they asked Elisabeth Djian why she created Numero, she commented, "I was bored with magazines that told me how to seduce a man. I wanted to create this magazine for an intelligent, smart woman who wants to read about art, design, music: not about stupidity – creams that take away wrinkles, you know, which is stupid." They chose Dai for a reason.
Originally Posted by SkateFiguring
05-31-2012, 12:23 PM
Wicked Yankee Girl