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Thread: What went wrong with Mao Asada?

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    What went wrong with Mao Asada?

    I was just reminiscing and watching Mao's 2008 world free skate performance, and her jumps are just marvelous. The height, speed and landing (although there might have been slight under-rotations and wrong edges).
    People mention so much of Sotnikova's jumps as one of the best currently for her elevation, but I am going to have to say Mao in 2008 would probably have beaten Sotnikova by a great margin.

    I am wondering what happened to her jump qualities - I did notice that her physique now has changed somewhat, but I can't really pinpoint on how. Until this time Yuna and Mao seem to have similar body build, but Yuna grew to be more slender. I don't know if this was part of the reason that Mao suffered problems with her jumps later on, but probably there are Mao experts here who know better?

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    Mao has practically competed without a jump coach in past six years. Tarasova was basically a choreographer and her status as a coach was nominal. Nobuo Sato is a renowned but very few people consider him competent in teaching jumps. It's quite amazing to see how much Asada achieved by training in her own way, she could do better with a reliable technical coach.

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    I think it's a combination on body changes and losing some of the jump technique. She had to substantially change her axel take-off as she grew and hurls herself into the air much more now than in 2008. Trying to fix her lutz was a mistake, as she did all that work and has now completely reverted back to the flawed technique. Working on the lutz probably took away time needed to maintain her 3-3 and the 3S, and without good guidance on the jumps from an appropriate coach her consistency was lost.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NMURA View Post
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    Mao has practically competed without a jump coach in past six years. Tarasova was basically a choreographer and her status as a coach was nominal. Nobuo Sato is a renowned but very few people consider him competent in teaching jumps. It's quite amazing to see how much Asada achieved by training in her own way, she could do better with a reliable technical coach.
    I'm not sure I would agree with your assessment of his competency as a jump teacher. After all he was coaching Ando, when as a junior, she did a quad and she had a difficult 3/3 at that time too. Another student, Nakano also did triple axels, I believe.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Icey View Post
    I'm not sure I would agree with your assessment of his competency as a jump teacher. After all he was coaching Ando, when as a junior, she did a quad and she had a difficult 3/3 at that time too. Another student, Nakano also did triple axels, I believe.
    Ando and Nakano had their jumps before they joined the Sato family. He hasn't done much help for that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by drivingmissdaisy View Post
    I think it's a combination on body changes and losing some of the jump technique. She had to substantially change her axel take-off as she grew and hurls herself into the air much more now than in 2008. Trying to fix her lutz was a mistake, as she did all that work and has now completely reverted back to the flawed technique. Working on the lutz probably took away time needed to maintain her 3-3 and the 3S, and without good guidance on the jumps from an appropriate coach her consistency was lost.
    She hasn't reverted back to the flawed technique. She's changed to a new technique that is just as flawed. Anyway, you forgot the most important item in the combination, which was not learning the triples properly in the beginning. Junior Mao had a toe-axel, an unreliable Salchow (supposedly ruined by trying to attain a 4S), a flutz, and strange flip technique (which is why she lost the 3-3 and nearly lost the flip altogether as it started going to pot in 2009). Literally the only jumps without problems were loop and Axel.

    Quote Originally Posted by NMURA View Post
    Ando and Nakano had their jumps before they joined the Sato family. He hasn't done much help for that.
    Didn't Asada regain her 3A and her 3F-3Lo under Sato? Sato's not the one who oversaw Mao unlearning her jumps, that was Nagakubo.

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    I also noticed that Mao lost a lot of ice coverage and speed on her jumps post 2008 worlds. Her triple axel at 2007 GPF was huge and gorgeous despite being two-footed.
    If I remember correctly, I read that Tarasova often had health problems so Mao had to train herself. I could be wrong, though.

    I can't help but think that her 2008-2011 programs did her no favours with the judges either.

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    I noticed this several yrs ago..She lost her brightness in her eyes and energy in her body she had before.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CarneAsada View Post
    She hasn't reverted back to the flawed technique. She's changed to a new technique that is just as flawed. Anyway, you forgot the most important item in the combination, which was not learning the triples properly in the beginning. Junior Mao had a toe-axel, an unreliable Salchow (supposedly ruined by trying to attain a 4S), a flutz, and strange flip technique (which is why she lost the 3-3 and nearly lost the flip altogether as it started going to pot in 2009). Literally the only jumps without problems were loop and Axel.

    Didn't Asada regain her 3A and her 3F-3Lo under Sato? Sato's not the one who oversaw Mao unlearning her jumps, that was Nagakubo.
    I strongly disagree with the bolded part, I can't count the number of times I have rewatched Mao's performances from the past, and I never noticed any of the issues you mentioned, like a "strange" flip or "unreliable" salcow. Her flip in particular was HUGE, and if anything her jumps usually were beautifully executed without any hesitation, with good height, and ice coverage and with good air position, and fast rotation, I know I have said this before but these qualities will always be something I connect with Mao's jumps, since I am very accustomed seeing these qualities from her. The commentators also never complain about the quality of her jumps or technique for good reason, in fact they usually had nothing but praise, only exception was the edge change on the lutz.

    I also think it's plain wrong to call her new technique on the lutz flawed, since her new technique is probably not the problem but rather it's old habits on the lutz. if the technique on the lutz was wrong then even her 2lz would also have received an edge call, but she doesn't receive the "e" when doubling that jump, which makes me think that the edge issue with the 3lz is mainly due to habit.

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    Mao was developing quite a bit of a hammer toe on her 3F in the past. Under Nobuo Sato, she's corrected that flaw and her 3F has greatly improved as a result.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mary01 View Post
    I strongly disagree with the bolded part, I can't count the number of times I have rewatched Mao's performances from the past, and I never noticed any of the issues you mentioned, like a "strange" flip or "unreliable" salcow. Her flip in particular was HUGE, and if anything her jumps usually were beautifully executed without any hesitation, with good height, and ice coverage and with good air position, and fast rotation, I know I have said this before but these qualities will always be something I connect with Mao's jumps, since I am very accustomed seeing these qualities from her. The commentators also never complain about the quality of her jumps or technique for good reason, in fact they usually had nothing but praise, only exception was the edge change on the lutz.

    I also think it's plain wrong to call her new technique on the lutz flawed, since her new technique is probably not the problem but rather it's old habits on the lutz. if the technique on the lutz was wrong then even her 2lz would also have received an edge call, but she doesn't receive the "e" when doubling that jump, which makes me think that the edge issue with the 3lz is mainly habit.
    Her technique on the 3F was terrible in past - toe hammering, leaning the upper boddy to much towards the ice and changing the edge before the take off. In fact it led to the inconsistency on this jump too and her salchow was unreliable indeed. Tarasova planned to brought back the salchow but Mao landed it only once I think at the GPF. Bad technique is tantamount to problems with maintaining the jump and inconsistency at some point which is exactly what happend to Mao. The previous poster with whom you disagree is absolutely right on the bolded part.

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    I recall that when she was working with Mr. Sato during the 2011 season she underwent a very major deconstruction and reconstruction of her jumping technique. It made for a very difficult year for her competitively but seemed to pay off by the 2012 season. It would seem unsurprising that elements of her technique which worked for her when she was pre-normal body changes would need some adapting.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bartek View Post
    Her technique on the 3F was terrible in past - toe hammering, leaning the upper boddy to much towards the ice and changing the edge before the take off. In fact it led to the inconsistency on this jump too and her salchow was unreliable indeed. Tarasova planned to brought back the salchow but Mao landed it only once I think at the GPF. Bad technique is tantamount to problems with maintaining the jump and inconsistency at some point which is exactly what happend to Mao. The previous poster with whom you disagree is absolutely right on the bolded part.
    I think I had the exact discussion with you some time ago, but who cares, I will just repeat myself again, even with the toe-hammering her flip was Huge and consistent and shortly after it became inconsistent she changed her technique, so problem solved shortly after it appeared. I also think it's misleading to call 3S unreliable when she rarely included the jump in her layouts, out of all the jumps why fill your layouts with the easier ones when she knew she could include the more difficult ones, and that's exactly what she did. it's called making a wise choice. Also she can't be equally consistent on all jumps all the time, some jumps will always be more consistent then others and that's the case for all skaters.
    I also disagree with your bolded part inconsistencies can happen due to nerves, pressure, the skaters body changes, technique is not always the answer. I know many like to think so, because it's the easiest explanation, but figure skating is just much more complicated then that, just look at Mao at the Olympics she landed a dosin 3A in practice right after each other and then look at what happened in the sp's just hours after, are you going to say her technique suddenly deteriorated and then miraculously came back the next day.

    I respect your opinion (even through it greatly differs from mine ) in not liking her precious technique on the flip, and in fact clearly hated it since you call it "terrible", but that's your view, according the protocols it was consistent jump during most of her career that earned her good goe. I challenge you to find any commentator or expert who would call it terrible or even bad, because I personally don't remember the commentators complaining about it in fact they usually had nothing but praise, the judges clearly didn't think there was anything wrong with it either since she got positive goe, nor did the Techpanel. But like I said i respect if the previous flip technique wasn't to your liking.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tompson View Post
    I noticed this several yrs ago..She lost her brightness in her eyes and energy in her body she had before.
    Also, aside from all of the technical issues, her mother died several years ago while Mao was away at a competition. This has to really take a lot out of a person.

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    Mao is a nature jumper. However, unlike most other jumpers, she is elegant and beautiful. I agree with most of the posters, she didn't develop proper techniques at her early career. When her body changed, those bad techniques took over. Plus, she doesn't have nerves of steel.

    I am always wondering, were Tat and Sato really good choices for her? It is so frustrating!

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