Akiko's style is subtle so I think that makes people, including judges, take less notice of her. She's a little weak on spins and has limited back flexibility. She has inconsistency and flutz issues. As far as I've heard the Japanese federation doesn't support her but so far she's been too good for them to pass over. Her body line does make it harder to look elegant and gives off less wow factor but for the most part I thinks she does okay with it.
With that said, I love Akiko and really do hope she finishes up her career with a great Olympic run. I don't really care for Miki Ando's comeback. I consider her a complete skater, that is she does most everything competently although maybe not the best. But what I really love about her is her expression and performance quality. The choreographic segment of her O program just makes feel like I'm flying across the ice with her. The fact that's she's 28 and has overcome an eating disorder makes me want her to succeed even more.
Are you implying Akiko would get dropped so she won't "dare" to beat Mao at Sochi? If Mao misses her 3A she can be out of the final group with or without Akiko skating better. I think things are more simple. In every country there is a slight disadvantage for the skater number 2. As long as Akiko beat Mao several times this last couple of seasons, I don't buy this hole conspiracy theory. And for the love of God, she is not a top skater only in Japan. She won medals in almost all the competitions out there, including Worlds, GPF and 4Continents.
Originally Posted by NMURA
If the world didn't collapse when Mao missed top 5 at worlds twice in a row, it won't collapse if she misses the podium at Sochi. She is already an accomplished skaters with a huge arsenal of medals.
People seem to forget that while she lost 2012 NHK trophy to a very flawed Mao, 2011 NHK trophy was the other way around: a flawed Akiko won in front of an almost clean Mao in the LP because Akiko recently had won Skate Canada and Mao was coming from a disastrous season. This shows that J. Federation is willing to support whatever skater which shows good, consistent skating
Akiko doesn't lacks in anything IMO. The problem is that she doesn't have something which stands out. Her musicality maybe, but this doesn't seem to be getting many points with COP. Consistency is another issue for her.
I believe the 3rd skater should be selected on the basis of "usefulness for Japan", not current scoring abilities. Miyahara is expected to make contributions (along with Murakami) at least until Marin moves up to the senior rank. It probably means that Miyahara is responsible for obtaining the spots for 2018. They shouldn't waste a valuable Olympic spot to a veteran who has no chance of a medal and future expectations.
I think that Jenny Kirk nailed it on the head with Akiko when she said, "Her biggest strength is her lack of weakness."
Akiko does not have problems with under rotations.
She does not have wonky spins, shakey spirals, or horrendous costumes.
She does not flutz or lip.
However, she does not have the base value or components to regularly surpass Kostner, Asada, or Kim.
I would hate to be insulted in such a 100% sarcastic manner (except the costume bit, I generally like hers). Poor Akiko.
Originally Posted by Reginald
I feel like the two biggest things Akiko lacks are 1) consistency and 2) political support/reputation.
The consistency problem hurts her the most, I think. Whenever she starts building momentum, in results and reputation, she then has one or more competitions where she just doesn't land enough jumps. And then her momentum disappears, and she's back to fighting for recognition. She tends to back off her jumps in the exact situations when she needs to go for everything (like in the 2012 Worlds LP). The lack of consistency gives the judges an easy out to mark her down, which then hurts her overall reputation.
She lacks political/judging support. In Japan, it feels like she's seen as behind Mao and Kanako, and this despite the fact that she's beaten both of them several times. For some reason, she never seems to get full credit for her victories over Mao. It's like, instead of saying, "Akiko won that competition," people are thinking, "Well, Akiko did win, but only because Mao didn't do this, or that."
Personally I love her expressiveness and exuberance and wonderful performance quality. I just think she's such a pleasure to watch. And I find the debate about her looks rather odd. Facially, I think she's a very pretty girl, with a most charming smile. It's true she doesn't have the current most-favored skating physique--long-legged, reed-thin, and slightly taller. But so what? I have no personal preference for that kind of physique, nor is there much historical precedent in skating to overtly favor that type of physique. As others have pointed out, some of the greatest skaters in history have also been short and long-torsoed. Among this group: Michelle Kwan, Sasha Cohen, Kristi Yamaguchi, Katarina Witt!! And many others, I'm sure. Personally I find the current leggy, hyperextended look unattractive and a bit awkward at times. Just my opinion.
Miyahara's jumps are tiny and drastically underrotated, much worse than Murakami's---at JW 2013, Miyahara landed exactly one triple, and that was her opening flutz; all of her other triples were UR. JSF can push Miyahara, but they can't get the technical panel to validate her jumps. Because Satoko was beaten at JW by 3 Russians, 2 US skaters and 1 Canadian skater, Japan doesn't get two ladies per JGP event this season.
Originally Posted by NMURA
I agree with all of the above. She may have no obvious weaknesses, but she has nothing that truly stands out, either (including her occasional Level-4 step sequences.) Also, I find her choreography simpler in a way that would be better if made more complex. "O" was beautiful and very well skated by her several times the past season, but I felt it was too empty in places where more intricacy would have added to its beauty (unlike the standard CoP-overload.) She does sometimes have issues with consistency, and, I don't find her repertoire to be all that diverse, either.
Originally Posted by Moment
She is musical, charming, and lovely. I don't think a Top-8 contendership is anything to be disappointed about. I do believe she should have won NHK 2012.
For the people saying poor Akiko, or feeling sorry for her wonder why
The woman has accomplished things in the sport most ladies will die for
World Championship podium
Grand Prix Finals
And she is an Olympian
How many people can say that
And the most important, she has persevere in a sport that values youth and new things. She survived a horrible disease and came back better than ever. There is no poor Akiko.
Sometimes I wonder, if the fans of the sport who don't visit the message boards and are not as vocal are as harsh and unforgiving as the vocal ones, because some people are discussing this woman as if she has not accomplished anything.
Gotta Have Music
I admire your perspective on Akiko. I'm no "techie," but I suspect she doesn't get the support of her federation partly due to her age & that she'll retire after this season. At any rate, I hope she does make Japan's Olympic/World team, that she skates lights out & gets credit for what she does beautifully. She's a joy to watch, & I'm certainly pulling for her.
Originally Posted by Minze2001
I agree with you with everything. Almost. Katarina Witt was very very pretty!!! very shapely legs and a nice and later sexy body, with beautiful face..
Originally Posted by eyria
Akiko Suzuki for me is one of the greatest skaters of all-time! She has the complete package.
She is the most musical among all the skaters in the world. Her artistry and soulful skating is beyond words.
As one of her biggest fans,
She does need to improve some of the spins.
Have a more solid technique with the jumps (she is sometimes inconsistent).
She needs more mental strength in terms of handling stress and competition.
More political support from Japan.
Her clout is growing and she has more support now and recognition from judges. Her political clout is not in the level of the top 3 but she is getting there.
Nonetheless, she is one of the most beautiful skaters of all-time! She is a treat to watch! A goddess on the ice!
She is so wonderfully joyous and I agree, the most musical skater for a few years now. Only Osmond rivals her musical ability. No weaknesses, imo very complete.
I have to agree with you she is very musical. But in all fairness the top three are as musical as her JMO
Originally Posted by skateluvr
This is pretty much spot on. If she skates a perfect and inspired program, she truly deserves 200++. She is simply phenomenal! A mind boggling artistic soul on ice!
Originally Posted by deedee1