The Comeback Kid
Japan's most searched sport star
I note Takahashi is 8th too... and Miki Ando 5th (although I suppose she will have been "boosted" by giving birth unmarried, and refusing to name the father - considered scandalous by many in Japan...).
So it's not just Mao that JSF needs to replace. Not to mention Suzuki, Oda, and possibly Murakami. Hanyu is very popular now, but will he be able to fill seats the way Takahashi currently can?
It's interesting that Mao is the only woman to top a list.
Some of the athletes for on their for their controversies than their athleticism. For example, Li Yi of China isn't all that popular for his play. He's more of an internet meme in China than a top performing athlete.
Originally Posted by YesWay
After the retirements this year,I think the void left in the Japanese Ladies is going to be difficult to repair. They haven't been able to produce a young star that is able to consistently perform at an international level. While men's skating is popular, a lot of Japanese skating fans follow the ladies competition.