- Mar 11, 2016
I feel like i woke up a dragon.Yeah, that's a nice little fantasy, if not entirely supported by the facts.
Yu-Na skated wonderfully at 2006 Junior Worlds, as she did the entire season, with outstanding, mature programs. She was the absolute best at 2006 Junior Worlds.
Your phrasing there is interesting -- yes, Mao "beat the entire Olympic podium"...but let's break that down. Mao beat Shizuka twice, at TEB 2005 and Japanese nationals (but before Shizuka brought back her magical Turandot FS...). Mao lost to Irina at Cup of China 2005 and defeated her at the Grand Prix Final...in Japan. Mao defeated Sasha Cohen at TEB 2005. And Mao lost to Fumie Suguri at Japan Nationals -- Fumie placed 4th at the Olympics with very good performances.
So, Mao was 1-1 against Irina (with the victory on her home field), 2-0 against Shizuka (before she changed her Olympic programs), 0-1 against Fumie, and 1-0 against Sasha Cohen. This is hardly overwhelming evidence that Mao was going to 1) repeat her magical GPF performance that was completed with home field advantage) and 2) repeat her GPF win at the Olympics and defeat all of those skaters again.
Did you know that Mao never defended a single title outside of Japan? That's right, she defended an NHK title, her many Nationals titles, and the 2013 GPF title -- in Japan. Japan is where all three of her world records as a senior were earned as well. She obviously derived a fair amount of comfort and familiarity skating in Japan that resulted in better performances and higher scores. But that wasn't going to apply at the 2006 Olympics.
Finally, 2006 just wasn't a great year for Mao in terms of FS performances overall. She was clearly going through growth spurts and issues with her technique. Her 2006 Junior Worlds performance wasn't just a result of poor motivation, it was really bad -- and it was the first of three disastrous FS (the other two being 2006 Skate America and 2006 GPF) in that calendar year, even though across different seasons. So yeah. Mao lost 2006 Junior Worlds fair and square, and no, don't think the evidence is that clearcut that she was going to dominate the 2006 Olympic podium (I love how you left out Fumie! lol).