Akiko came on the scene later in her career but I will say she is definitely one of my all-time favorite performers. There are few skaters who exude as much happiness and joy as she does when she skates. You can actually see how much she loves to skate. She gives her all to her programs and her music and (even now) she's still very underrated.

I know she can't compete forever and at her "advanced age" you can't expect her body to hold up too much longer, though I must say she's done something right. Akiko has been competing as far back as 2002 (if not farther) and seems to have avoided any major injuries. That's a testament to her conditioning and her trainers. Still, with this new wave of skaters we'll experience post-Sochi, I think next season will be a great to make an exit.

I hope she sticks around, maybe as a choreographer. I love her to pieces and I am happy we'll get to see her for another season.