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Thread: 2012/13 - A make or break season for Mao Asada?

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    Custom Title Mao88's Avatar
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    2012/13 - A make or break season for Mao Asada?

    Mao has not been at her best since winning the world title in 2010. The 2010/11 season was a complete disaster, as she looked to reconfigure her jumping technique. She had a promising start to the 2011/12 season, but then her mother sadly passed away and not surprisingly, her form dipped thereafter.

    If Mao is going to realise her dream of becoming Olympic champion in 2014, then with just 2 years to go before the Olympics, the 2012/13 season is going to be a make or break season for her. At the very least, she needs to be on he podium at Worlds. Nevertheless, I think she can be a major contender for the world title again. She had an excellent grand prix season during 2011/12, and but for the tragic death of her mother, she probably would have had a much better second half to the season. However, I really do think it is time for the triple axel to go. Her PCS during the grand prix just got better and better. She therefore just doesn't need the triple axel, and she should continue to improve her triple lutz. If she can sort out the lutz without flutzing, then that would completely remove the pressure upon her to keep trying for the triple axel.

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    I think if she's gonna give up the 3a, then she'll need a 3-3 in its place to have a chance to even medal at the Olympics. All the Russian wonderbabies have (most of them multiple) 3-3s, as do most of the other medal contenders. It's been a long time since we saw Mao do 3-3s so I'm skeptical if she can even do them anymore without getting < or << on the second jump.

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    Custom Title Butterscotch17's Avatar
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    I think Mao is going to continue to get better, and that was the point of reworking her technique. Yes, the last few seasons were very rough, but I think 2012/2013 will be better. I do agree that she should probably stop attempting the triple axel, though, and just go for getting the whole package. I think she'll be able to make the World podium, especially because the ladies field isn't that strong right now. She's a beautiful skater, she just needs to get her jumps back consistent.

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    Yes, if her goal is to win the Olympics, the next season is vital. She needs to gain some major momentum.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Butterscotch17 View Post
    I think Mao is going to continue to get better, and that was the point of reworking her technique.
    Unfortunately her jumps have gotten worse across the board, as far as being able to land them consistently in competition. She has problems with every triple except the loop, so I have to disagree that the reworking of the technique has resulted in improvement. She goes for jumps she can't do in practice, still gets edge calls on the lutz as she did before, and now her flip is shakier than ever. Granted, I think some of the changes were necessary due to her growth, but if anything I think she has gotten progressively worse since 2008.

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    Skating is art, if you let it be. Blades of Passion's Avatar
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    Her Loop used to be one of the best in the World. She didn't do a clean one in her Long Program all season long and even when she does do it clean (only in the SP this past season), it's much smaller and barely rotated.

    Also, she won't need a 3-3 OR 3Axel if the Russian girls don't get good programs and skate beautifully and actually hit all of those difficult combinations. Asada can easily beat them on PCS with 3Flip-2Loop, 3Loop, 2Axel SP and a 6-Triple LP without a 3Axel. She can probably even beat them on the technical mark with a clean delivery of that content, because when do these girls ever actually skate perfect LP's with the full 7 Triples + 2 Double Axels? Judges love consistency and if Asada was simply consistent, she would probably always win because her entire package is the best. Just look at her SP scores at Worlds: if she had simply done a good 2Axel in the SP (very easy for her) instead of falling on a badly underrotated 3Axel, she would have won the SP. Then if she just did a nice clean LP, she definitely would have won that segment too.

    Obviously Mao wants to push herself and become the ultimate, perfect skater. She potentially could be THE best female skater ever too. The full range of her abilities is staggering. It's just not likely that she will ever accomplish that level of technical difficulty and perfection in a big competition along with having a great program and skating with inspiration. Nobody ever has, if you really think about it. Even Yagudin scaled his technical difficulty back (planned 3Axel-half loop-3Sal combination became just a 3Sal) in order to be able to deliver a clean, passionate program.

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    At the rink. Again. mskater93's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by silverlake22 View Post
    I think if she's gonna give up the 3a, then she'll need a 3-3 in its place to have a chance to even medal at the Olympics. All the Russian wonderbabies have (most of them multiple) 3-3s, as do most of the other medal contenders. It's been a long time since we saw Mao do 3-3s so I'm skeptical if she can even do them anymore without getting < or << on the second jump.
    Sotnikova is getting < and << on her 3+3 now, Lipnitskaia hasn't attempted one in a program yet (and she's the youngest of this bunch), and the Polinas seem to have other issues. Only Tuktamysheva has been getting hers called in 2011-12 season but she hasn't really hit a growth period yet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mao88 View Post
    If Mao is going to realise her dream of becoming Olympic champion in 2014, then with just 2 years to go before the Olympics, the 2012/13 season is going to be a make or break season for her. At the very least, she needs to be on he podium at Worlds.
    I agree next year is very important for Mao. I feel like she's lost a lot of momentum, or pull, with the judges, these past 2 seasons. Although other posters here have mentioned her high PCS, I actually feel like her PCS this past season wasn't as high as it could have been. I feel like she's fallen out of favor a bit with the judges.

    How does Mao turn it around? I think the starting point is, she needs to skate stronger and show some dominance and fearlessness. The last 2 seasons, she has just looked tentative and uncertain. Even in her better competitions, she didn't really skate strongly and confidently. She needs to get that back. That confident attitude and energy can take you pretty far sometimes, even if you're not necessarily the most artistic or refined skater--as witnessed by Leonova's silver medal at Worlds.

    Of course, it's hard for Mao to be confident if the jumps aren't working for her. I think she should consider the Kostner strategy of using a smaller set of more secure jumps. I love Mao's triple Axel so much, but there isn't much point trying it if it's not reasonably consistent. I assume she and Sato have looked at the mathematics of her jumping strategy, and concluded the triple Axel is still worth the risk, but I wonder sometimes if she isn't just being stubborn in her insistence on continuing to attempt it.

    I don't think Mao absolutely *needs* to be on the podium at Worlds next year to win or medal in Sochi. Remember, Arakawa came from 9th at Worlds 2005 to win in Torino 2006. And Lu Chen came from absolutely nowhere to get bronze in Nagano 1998. So, it's possible Mao could win or medal in Sochi even if she doesn't make the World podium next year. She's a big enough name that she'd still be considered a contender even if she didn't come in as world medalist. However, that said, I think it would be *very helpful* for her to get back on the podium next year. If I were Sato, I'd set that as her main goal this season.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mskater93 View Post
    Sotnikova is getting < and << on her 3+3 now, Lipnitskaia hasn't attempted one in a program yet (and she's the youngest of this bunch), and the Polinas seem to have other issues. Only Tuktamysheva has been getting hers called in 2011-12 season but she hasn't really hit a growth period yet.
    Yes but with Julia's layout she's still doing 7 triples a 2 double axels, plus she never makes mistakes and racks up huge points with her jump and spin GOE. Both Shelepen and Korobeynikova are likely done growing and very capable of landing fully rotated 3-3s. Korobeynikova with her 3f-3t and 2a-3t plans 7 triples and 2 double axels in her FS, as does Shelepen, who can actually do 3 different kind of 3-3s (3t-3t, 3s-3t, 3lz-3t), planned two in her FS this past season, and we know from the season before she can also do 2a-3t. She will definitely plan 7 triples and 2 double axels in her FS and 2 of those triples are lutzes taken off the right edge, that's huge. Yes they have other issues (Korobeynikova sometimes inconsistent, Shelepen not the strongest in PCS) but they aren't likely to lose jumps now and the rest of the skating will likely only get stronger. Tuktamysheva's 3lz-3t is a rock for her, she almost always hits it and hits it beautifully. She also has 2a-3t, we saw her do a lovely 3s-3t a couple times this season, and Mishin says it's likely she tries the 3a in competition next season. Liza is not expected to grow much more, already she has filled out since last season and from everyone I hear, they all say she is likely to be very petite even as an adult. Adelina is having issues, yes, but she still does have the huge jumps, but honestly she's not the one I worry about right now, if things continue how they way they were this past season, she likely won't even make the Sochi Olympic team.

    No, Mao doesn't need 3a, but she does need a 3-3 if she's not going to go for a 3a. 6 triples and 1 double axel will not cut it if she wants to win in Sochi, her jumps just aren't strong enough right now, barely picking up any +GOE on them, plus her PCS aren't astronomically high, and she's still flutzing. Yes, Carolina was able to win Worlds this year, BUT she was doing a 3-3 in her SP, and even though she was only doing 5-6 triples and 2 double axels in her FS, the jumps she was landing were consistently huge and lovely, picking up lots of +GOE, plus her PCS were consistently higher than Mao's, and further, the field was pretty weak as none of the young Russians were competing at Worlds (except for Korobeynikova who bombed, but honestly not having a coach for so long was likely to blame for that), and none of the big names (Kim, Ando, Rochette, etc) had made comebacks yet. Starting next season this will all change and I really don't think Mao can get off without a 3-3 or a 3a, she needs one or the other to have a good shot at the podium IMO, and unless she puts on a lot of muscle mass or gains a whole lot of speed, I don't see her jumps getting back to the point where she'll get big +GOE for them.

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    Custom Title Mao88's Avatar
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    Here is a recent article on the subject. Reads:-

    I think a lot of skating fans watching performances of Mao Asada at the World Championships in Nice thought: “Why she is trying again that difficult triple Axel? What is this fight for? She can execute just double Axel and then add a cascade of some triple – triple. With her really high components she could take the gold for sure! And now she finished just sixth!” At first I thought this way too. But I thought so until I saw her confident look in the “kiss and cry” corner. Mao didn’t want to win this championships by using the way, which is usual for the majority of others. She needed her triple Axel. Why? Because she likely thinks other way. She has absolutely different strategy and tactics. The interesting thing is that she no needs to prove anything and to anyone. She is already the 2010 Winter Olympic silver medalist, a two-time (2008 & 2010) World champion.......But there is a big feature of this figure skater – work for the future; for the prospect. She understands that ladies single skating will become more difficult, whether we like it or not. It will be different already in the next season, when at the big stage will appear the stars of junior skating, such as Elizaveta Tuktamisheva, Adelina Sotnikova, Gracie Gold and others. These juniors can’t imagine winning the major competitions without, for example, the cascade of triple-triple jumps. It is also a very difficult element and it’s sad that its base value is lower than that of triple-double-double cascades, which is simpler. They will definitely work on improvements of their programs and Mao perfectly knows it. This is called the work for the future. This Japanese figure skater does not need a simple victory. She needs a convincing victory, which leaves no chance for rivals and no doubts for all others. This season she has done much for this goal. Mao has all the complex technical arsenal of the modern ladies skating. The only element which still remains unstable for her is triple Axel. But there is a progress too. In her free skate program in Nice her triple Axel could be executed but, in my opinion, she went on it with too much power. But nothing is wasted. No doubts that she will take into account all mistakes, will work hard on them on trainings and it’s very likely that she will achieve the desired result. All this can be compared with victories of ancient Rome. Those of you who are familiar with history knows, that the Romans almost always lost every first battle. But they are very well learned the lessons, discovered the rivals, worked on improvements and then achieved tremendous victories and conquests in really big and the most significant fights. Victories of various medieval kingdoms look very modest on this background. All that distinguishes Mao Asada from many others. She can afford to lose the world championships, which takes place every year, but when she wins, her victories are really immense.
    Recent photo of Mao with her sister, Mai
    Last edited by Mao88; 05-19-2012 at 03:44 PM.

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    At the rink. Again. mskater93's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by silverlake22 View Post
    Yes but with Julia's layout she's still doing 7 triples a 2 double axels, plus she never makes mistakes and racks up huge points with her jump and spin GOE. Both Shelepen and Korobeynikova are likely done growing and very capable of landing fully rotated 3-3s. Korobeynikova with her 3f-3t and 2a-3t plans 7 triples and 2 double axels in her FS, as does Shelepen, who can actually do 3 different kind of 3-3s (3t-3t, 3s-3t, 3lz-3t), planned two in her FS this past season, and we know from the season before she can also do 2a-3t. She will definitely plan 7 triples and 2 double axels in her FS and 2 of those triples are lutzes taken off the right edge, that's huge. Yes they have other issues (Korobeynikova sometimes inconsistent, Shelepen not the strongest in PCS) but they aren't likely to lose jumps now and the rest of the skating will likely only get stronger. Tuktamysheva's 3lz-3t is a rock for her, she almost always hits it and hits it beautifully. She also has 2a-3t, we saw her do a lovely 3s-3t a couple times this season, and Mishin says it's likely she tries the 3a in competition next season. Liza is not expected to grow much more, already she has filled out since last season and from everyone I hear, they all say she is likely to be very petite even as an adult. Adelina is having issues, yes, but she still does have the huge jumps, but honestly she's not the one I worry about right now, if things continue how they way they were this past season, she likely won't even make the Sochi Olympic team.
    None of the Polinas have been consistent. If Polina S was so awesome, she would have knocked Sotnikova off the podium at JWs and skated a better SP than she did (and would have pushed onto the Senior World team). Polina K would have finished way higher at Worlds. Polina A would get internationals. Sotnikova's jumps have been less than rock-steady this season. Lipnitskaia is due to grow and gain a level of "self awareness" which will likely play havoc with her jumps and nerves (I think the latter is a bigger deal in general). Tuktamysheva has had crappily constructed programs, which may change if David W's programs don't get deconstructed by Mishin afterward returning to his camp...

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    Custom Title DianaSelene's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mskater93 View Post
    None of the Polinas have been consistent. If Polina S was so awesome, she would have knocked Sotnikova off the podium at JWs and skated a better SP than she did (and would have pushed onto the Senior World team). Polina K would have finished way higher at Worlds. Polina A would get internationals. Sotnikova's jumps have been less than rock-steady this season. Lipnitskaia is due to grow and gain a level of "self awareness" which will likely play havoc with her jumps and nerves (I think the latter is a bigger deal in general). Tuktamysheva has had crappily constructed programs, which may change if David W's programs don't get deconstructed by Mishin afterward returning to his camp...
    As you could see this season, though, Tuktamysheva still won with her crappily constructed programs. While that is important, nothing racks up more points than 3lz-3t combos. If she can sustain her jumps, her programs won't matter even if they are bad. Still, I do agree that Tukt needs to get better programs.

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    Mao88, thanks for posting that article. I really question her strategy. Yes, it's true the technical level will rise before Sochi (I can't imagine Caro's technical content this year winning an OGM) but really there is no point in doing the 3A when you can't do it in practice. This isn't preparing for the future; it's making a bad decision now.

    I completely disagree with her statement that she has every jump except the 3A; every jump in her arsenal is unstable. Maybe she can land them in practice but she isn't consistently in her competitive programs.

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    At the rink. Again. mskater93's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DianaSelene View Post
    As you could see this season, though, Tuktamysheva still won with her crappily constructed programs. While that is important, nothing racks up more points than 3lz-3t combos. If she can sustain her jumps, her programs won't matter even if they are bad. Still, I do agree that Tukt needs to get better programs.
    She didn't win the GP Final, though, and that was against a skater that didn't even make an attempt at a 3Lz because HER programs were much better constructed (as were Suzuki's and even Leonova's).

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    Custom Title DianaSelene's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mskater93 View Post
    She didn't win the GP Final, though, and that was against a skater that didn't even make an attempt at a 3Lz because HER programs were much better constructed (as were Suzuki's and even Leonova's).
    But does that discount her? She had a few bad skates just as anyone. So did Suzuki and Leonova and Kostner and Czisny and Nagasu and Sotnikova. It's difficult for a skater to ALWAYS deliver. When she does, though, she gets high scores. In the gpf she made a few mistakes. That is why she got low scores, not because of her poorly constructed program.

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