Wonderful article from Nikkan Sports: http://www.nikkansports.com/sochi201...2-1261037.html
And translation posted in tumblr here: Mao: “Mama, How’d I Do?”
Lovely article! Thank you for sharing.
I am sure we will see her at her best at Worlds. I will be rooting for her!
Mao Asada's Olympic performance was magnanimous and full of epic grandeur like a Shakespearean tragedy with a silver lining- only the medium of transmission was not words but a multitude of lithe and exquisite body positions punctuated with dashing runs to a myriad of quick whipsaw jumps, drilling into the very depths of our souls.
I found her to be by far the most expressive and graceful with her upper body gestures, as when she would exit jumps with a tender flow of her hands, arms, head, neck and back to where the jump had been, as if waving a final farewell to a forgotten friend or loved one that she would never see again. Only Mao had the infinite subtlety, complexity and grace of the Japanese tea ceremony at her fingertips.
Vulnerable yet Defiant Mao was the infinitely tender spinning princess whose exquisite agility and phenomenal flexibility were mingled with the fire of a burning sorrow and hopefulness that are the very essence of redemption and spine tingling beauty.
I also found that this was also the best program I have ever seen in terms of pacing and building to a climax and release to final resolution that mirrored the structure of the music. This is evidenced by her slow beginning that gradually accelerated from jumping pass to jumping pass, before the entrance to the final pass where the subtle wave-like gestures of the arms became an abrupt downward thrust as if pounding a massive chord on the piano. Then, when exiting the last pass the gentle, wave-like flow morphs into a final abrupt fling of her arms back as if to be rid once and for all of the ghosts that haunt her soul in preparation for full liberation. She hangs suspended in the revolutions of her Biellman spin.
Then, in the step sequence, where the tears begin to rush as a flooded river, she enters a transcendent dimension that exorcises all her Olympic heart aches, near misses and humiliations and rejoices in a peak performance that surmounts Everest- missing out on Torino while watching Shizuka Arakawa, who she had a great shot of beating, take the gold, silver in Vancouver with a score that would have beat Arakawa by 15 points, and the short program disaster at Sochi. It is the most cathartic, frantic yet nimble and ethereal step sequence I have ever seen. The flying spins at the end are her final descent back to earth after carrying us through her flight to visit the ghosts that haunted her soul.
In a parting gesture, I imagine her looking heavenward to say farewell to the divine spirit of her mother as she whispers, "I did this all, including the triple axel, just for you. Mom, How did I do?" Ultimately, her monumental achievement cannot be quantified because it is too holy to be evaluated in any rational way. I just wanted to thank you, Mao Asada, for digging deep to reveal to us the full beauty and purity of your brave spirit. You have left us with the most precious gift anyone could ever give. I wish you the best at worlds and in whatever you decide to do after that.
Welcome to GS gotoschool! I enjoyed your description of Mao's skate!
Thank you for the videos. Bringing back the memories..
A few random questions:
- Who is the (Russian, I presume) lady that has stood by Mao all along? Not Tarasova, but the classy one.
- Did anyone do better fan spiral (i.e. forward spiral) than Mao? Even among lower-level skaters who can't jump?
- Can Mao keep Biellmann for another 4 years? Her Biellman today reminds me of Yuna's 4 years ago. (I wish they remove Biellman as a level feature and reward it in GOE instead)
P.S. @gotoschool: I really like to read your tributes to Mao. I would enjoy even more if you paragraph them for some breathing room!
I hope she wins the World title! She deserves it so much!
Here's a few photos of Mao, that I took at Skate America near the beginning of the season.
Note the free skate costume! I loved that costume, and I was disappointed that she changed to a different one after Skate America. I thought she was never going to wear it again... but she brought it back (slightly modified) for the Olympics! For THAT free skate! As if that performance wasn't already memorable enough!
Anyway, I'll be cheering for many of the ladies at World's - but most of all Mao.
Hoping she will enjoy herself and skate her best! Ganbatte, Mao-chan!
Don't worry about the judges, the medals or what any newspapers or prime ministers say, just focus and go out and give the performances you and you alone can give. Get tough and deliver because you are the best, most beautiful and soulful skater!
I found this site for live streaming: http://hotbladeshotpassion.blogspot....n-saitama.html