Mao Asada

dhjh811

On the Ice
Joined
Apr 23, 2014

A lot of what she said was surprising because it must be hard for athletes to say these things about their biggest competitor. I'm guessing that retirement and time has helped Mao open up on her true thoughts towards Yuna and their bitter rivalry. Huge respect to Mao for being so honest - not all athletes could do that, no matter how long they've been retired.
 

Ballade88

On the Ice
Joined
Apr 19, 2017
A lot of what she said was surprising because it must be hard for athletes to say these things about their biggest competitor. I'm guessing that retirement and time has helped Mao open up on her true thoughts towards Yuna and their bitter rivalry. Huge respect to Mao for being so honest - not all athletes could do that, no matter how long they've been retired.

I don't sense any bitterness from Mao's end based on this article or anything she has said about the matter from previous interviews. On the other hand, she has always looked at the rivalry from a positive perspective and as something that had motivated her. Even though she says that she was conscious of Kim, I still don't think she was "fixated" per se like all those old media articles liked to describe it at the time. It is only natural to be aware of one's main competition, but in the end, she still focused mainly on improving her own strengths and performance. Of course, she needed the axels to have a chance to win, but that has been her strategy whether she competed against Slutskaya, Kim, or the Russians later in her career.

The most surprising thing from this article was Mao's wish to repair the friendship she had with Yuna during their junior years. It was sad to have her confirm that the friendship faded due to outside factors like the intense media scrutiny. Considering how much criticism Mao got during those years from both Korean and Japanese media at times and her name was at times even dragged into situations related to Yuna, for her to speak so candidly and positively about the experience really showscases her strong and honest character.
 

Skatesocs

Final Flight
Joined
May 16, 2020
^I really hate to read that their junior friendship ended due to nationalism. A friend who used to follow them closely during that period told me about it, it sounded awful :eek:hwell:
 

dhjh811

On the Ice
Joined
Apr 23, 2014
I don't sense any bitterness from Mao's end based on this article or anything she has said about the matter from previous interviews. On the other hand, she has always looked at the rivalry from a positive perspective and as something that had motivated her. Even though she says that she was conscious of Kim, I still don't think she was "fixated" per se like all those old media articles liked to describe it at the time. It is only natural to be aware of one's main competition, but in the end, she still focused mainly on improving her own strengths and performance. Of course, she needed the axels to have a chance to win, but that has been her strategy whether she competed against Slutskaya, Kim, or the Russians later in her career.

The most surprising thing from this article was Mao's wish to repair the friendship she had with Yuna during their junior years. It was sad to have her confirm that the friendship faded due to outside factors like the intense media scrutiny. Considering how much criticism Mao got during those years from both Korean and Japanese media at times and her name was at times even dragged into situations related to Yuna, for her to speak so candidly and positively about the experience really showscases her strong and honest character.

Yes, I was characterizing the rivalry (the media, the fans, etc.) itself as bitter, not her feelings toward it. I thought that Mao's admitting that although she often gave interviews saying she only had to focus on herself, she actually thought of Yuna as the one to beat was very brave. Both Yuna and Mao were abused by the media in both countries, and it feels refreshing to see that Mao has most likely moved on from that period of intense stress in her life. Only someone who has moved on can be that honest.

I also find her willingness to improve her Korean and English to be friends with Yuna if they should ever meet again very surprising and endearing. I've always found Mao to be a sweet person, and it shows. Their friendship was ruined by the media and the hype surrounding them. It can't be easy for two girls of the same age at the top of their sport with such a highly publicized rivalry to remain friends.
 

gotoschool

Medalist
Joined
Mar 5, 2014
One of the hardest elements to deal with in my opinion is the way Mao was forced to be quiet despite the poor treatment of her federation especially at Sochi and the way in which she was low balled in the scoring, despite admitted mistakes, with so few calling it out and so many of her videos being removed when the view counts got too high along with the removal of so many marvelous comments when one of her life long goals was to be a figure skater that would be remembered and an inspiration for children to see. But I think it is wonderful that Mao wants to befriend Yuna Kim again. I admit as a big Mao fan I felt and sometimes still feel tense when I think of their competitions and Mao is still my favorite skater. However, the turning current in the tide of events often has a way of making people see the other side so just as Mao has inspired two of my current favorite skaters, Rika Kihira and Mai Mihara, Yuna Kim has inspired two of my other favorite skaters, Young You and Haein Lee with Young You also combining Mao's qualities of the triple axel, so through them I can begin to appreciate the great qualities they both had more, instead of only Mao, and a new unique expression that is still reminiscent of their great skating lives on in the next generation of competitive skaters.

This wasn't even my intended post but I thought of it when I saw the comments and Mao's remarks. I wanted to post this video of Mao giving a recent interview about her ice show posted on August 8. It is really compelling especially at about 7:30 where Mao gets really emotionally talking to the other skaters in her show. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FUUmyE7CHCk
 
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gotoschool

Medalist
Joined
Mar 5, 2014
Evgenia has an instagram displaying her artwork. She did a wonderful portrait of Mao in her blue Sochi dress. :) https://www.instagram.com/medoart2020/?igshid=67ucvow0b36b

That's really impressive. I especially like how Evgenia stresses the beautiful fighter element in Mao in the painting. I remember Evgenia expressing such great admiration for Mao's Sochi LP and giving her such wonderfully warm words of gratitude as an honorable tribute for her achievements when Mao retired.
 

Jeanie19

Record Breaker
Joined
Oct 20, 2017
Country
United-States
That's really impressive. I especially like how Evgenia stresses the beautiful fighter element in Mao in the painting. I remember Evgenia expressing such great admiration for Mao's Sochi LP and giving her such wonderfully warm words of gratitude as an honorable tribute for her achievements when Mao retired.

The only international competition I attended in person was the ladies short program at Worlds in Boston. I still get goosebumps that I got to see my two favorite skaters live, Evgenia and Mao. :)
 

cohkaix

FS data keeper
Medalist
Joined
Mar 9, 2013
Country
Taiwan

gotoschool

Medalist
Joined
Mar 5, 2014
Happy 30th birthday to marvelous Mao. Thanks for bringing such beautiful and soulful expression and athleticism to the world through your skating.
 
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