Does Mao Asada have the mental goods to compete?
Clearly Mao has some mental toughness, otherwise she wouldn't have won Worlds twice along with a lot of other important international competitions over the years (4CC, GPrix Final, etc.). However, it seems like whenever she is legitimately threatened by someone (i.e. Kim Yuna), she just loses her head and double-foots, pops or flat out falls on at least half her jumps. I think when she knows she is the best in the competition, she does fine...but if there is someone competing against her who she feels is more "solid," she seems to fall apart. Her SP here at Worlds is really a great program..fun, lively, technically sophisticated and full of personality...yet she goes and pops her 3Loop. I just get the sense that she gets uber nervous if she knows there's a 50% chance she may not win and has a hard time letting the music help her along...it sort of becomes a "let's just get through this thing, whew!" sort of thing.
I don't think Mao feels legitimately threatened by anyone except Yu-Na, and I think Yu-Na might always have a certain effect on her that no one else does. I don't think you can say Mao isn't mentally tough (for the reasons you mentioned), but I guess Yu-Na will always be that one person for Mao... I guess in time Mao will get used to having her back in competition.
Six Point Zero
Her training/conditioning seems to be mis-timed. She's been peaking at 4CC in the last two to three years consistently, then bombing at Worlds even when Yuna was on break.
In 2011 she got silver at 4CC then was 6th at Worlds.
In 2012 she got silver at 4CC and then was 6th at Worlds.
In 2013 she got gold at 4CC...and now even a podium finish at Worlds is in doubt.
I'd also like to point out that in the 2010 Olympics, when YuNa was at her peak, Mao toughed it out magnificently, giving it everything she had. So whatever is going on now, she certainly has the ability to barrel ahead on sheer will. Still, it is distressing when something simple goes wrong for her. Maybe you're right, Krislite, that she just peaks at the wrong time.
Not that I'm any expert, but I've noticed through the years that Mao often pulls it together for the long program after some disaster or near-miss in the short: kind of the opposite of people like Sasha Cohen or Mirai Nagasu. Here's hoping that's what happens here.
If she's peaking at the wrong time AGAIN, then I honestly wonder what her team's been doing. Is Mao still with Weider? After the 2011 Worlds, I remember some articles about how Mao peaked at the wrong time and lost too much weight to jump properly. It's less than a year till the Olympics, there's no time for silly mistakes like that again.
Olympia, I was delighted when Mao hit her 3A in the Olympics short program, but that was the only time all season that she got it ratified. I'm worried she might not be as lucky this time around.
In the Olympic season she actually got her 3A ratified once on the GP curcuit, twice at 4cc, 3 times at the Olympics, and once at Worlds.
Originally Posted by Colanboy
And Olympia, Mao hasn't managed to pull herself up after a bad short in years. I don't know if the 2007 Worlds or the 2007 GPF Mao is still in her. I'm hoping it still is, because it would be a very boring Olympics (can Carolina make enough mistakes for Yu-na to win?) otherwise.
I was talking about her success rate in the short program.
Originally Posted by CarneAsada
I absolutely adore Mao, but sometimes she seems to just shoot herself in the foot.
Mao doesn't exactly has a good track in SP.
Originally Posted by Colanboy
2007 - popped the combo costing her the gold
2008 - clean but, dinged by the judges on spiral level
2009 - double the Lutz
2010 Olym - clean
2010 W - clean
2011 - < and twofooted
2012 - < and twofooted
2013 - < jump, twofooted and a pop
So 8 major competitions and only three clean SP... but thats pretty much the same % and no better or worse than someone like Kim, Caro or Miki.
In other words, everyone who's posting here right now will probably lose some amount of sleep in the next day or two. Oh, man, I'm on pins and needles. I want her to just wow everyone, wherever she ends up in the standings.
I really hope she does. Actually, I still half-hope that she'll skate lights-out and win this, even though it's almost impossible at this point - a bit delusional, I know, but stranger things have happened. No matter what happens, I look forward to watching her skate her lovely FS one more time.
Originally Posted by Olympia
As to the subject of this thread - I don't think it's necessarily a problem of losing focus with her; on the contrary, she has a tendency to worry too much about the jumps and to overthink them, especially when she's going for 3A. I wish she would just let go and skate for herself, but with the added pressure of needing to prove herself before the Olympics, that's easier said than done.
I think she is very strong mentally. Her problem is confidence with her jumps and changes in her technique. Both Caro and Yuna have great jumps, usually nu UR problems which must be encouraging for them. That's why I think it was harder for her to compete in the last couple of years. She seems to be getting more consistent though and only the fact that she tries the 3A gives her an air of confidence which is missing otherwise. She had some pretty low moments and many thought she was done, when she couldn't land a single jump cleanly and look where she is now. I will never doubt her sheer determination and passion for the sport or the mental strength. After all, she laded 3 clean triple axels at the Olympics
(I do miss sometimes the 16 year old Mao Asada who said after 2007 Worlds SP, when she was far behind Yuna after a mistake on the combo, that she's gonna land a 3A in the LP and she's gonna take the title. And she skated one of her best LP in her career. The same Mao who answered that she is gonna win the Vancouver Olympics - she was young at that time, sweet, lovely and feisty )
So to answer to the thread, yes, she has the mental goods to compete. I think she is a good very good competitor and whatever issues she had recently came from working on her jumps. She never bombed before Vancouver with a single exception ( 2009 Rostelecom Cup). She proved here at Worlds she is not going down and she's gonna fight for the Olympic gold. She didn't challenge Kim here, it's true, but when you look at where she is now and where she was last year, things are looking bright for next year IMO
I dont think she has mental problems, its just her being technically inconsistent with UR calls and double footed jumps. Unless you're perfectly ready you'll suffer from various technical issues.
Whew! She pulled herself up. It wasn't her most brilliant performance, but it was pretty good considering where she's been. The sky's the limit! What a great top 3 we had this weekend.