I have to admit that I thought I had entered the wrong date on a search engine when I read the title of this thread- perhaps I had mistakenly entered 2011 or maybe 2012 after the NHK trophy when Mao had just a few clean triples, or NHK trophy 2010 with 2 falls and popped singles. But, when I realized it was April 2014, I wondered if the title should have been "What went right with Mao Asada's jumps?, or "Mao Asada has really improved her jumps." especially after she just had the most successful year of her or most anyone else's career: Grand Prix Final and World Champion, and she couldn't have gotten a Gold Medal in Sochi even if she had had a great SP program with the set up that was in position there. Basically, she grabbed all the major Gold that was available. In terms of her jumps, a little anecdotal evidence. My best friend said he liked Mao's program at Sochi the best specifically because of her beautiful jumps compared to all the others. Now, he didn't look at the protocol or carefully observe the rotation. It was just an immediate gut reaction to the power and beauty of the performance before him, and he had never seen her before.
In terms of tech scores at Worlds in the SP, her triple axel, triple flip, triple loop and double loop all received more than +1 GOE overall with the axel and triple loop and double loop receiving more than +1.5. These are very good GOE's. Yet in the spirit of controversy, skating at a similar level overall though admittedly the axel wasn't quite as good in Sochi, the tech panel in Sochi didn't even give her +1 GOE on any jump for what is regarded as her best ever LP performance and the most valuable combo triple flip triple loop was URed, though it looked clean; and at worlds they marked her off 11 points from 76 to 65, with at least the triple axel and the first triple flip triple loop looking clean and rotated to me and many others: Eurosport for one. Because of these highly questionable calls, she lost almost 7 points and she still won by almost 10. I think she should be complimented for having so much hacked away and still prevailing in her third World Championship, instead of being criticized.
She has so many qualities as a skater (especially her beautiful step sequences and her lovely presentation) why focus on only the jumps.
She was so underscored in Sochi it makes me sad. I felt like her beautiful free program was so underscored, in both technical and component marks (i agree some of her jumps were UR, but her 3-3 was clearly rotated). I really loved the way she made her program look so dramatic but so light at the same time. And i don't hate Sotnikova for that, it just makes me sad she didn't get what we know she deserved.
I also was amazed by her short program at worlds. It was a piece of heaven !