Many sees her as the rival of Yuna Kim, but Mao Asada in her own right is one of the most accomplished skaters in the world. But like Michelle Kwan, Asada had no luck with Olympics.
Asada, born in 1990, is the most recognized Japanese skater for the recent decade. Asada is also the only skater who landed three triple axels in one competition.
Asada is an Olympic silver medalist, a three time World champion, a three time Four Continents champion, a four time Grand Prix Final champion and a six time Japanese national champion.
Currently Asada holds the world record for the ladies short program.
When Asada won the Grand Prix Final at 15, she was at the top of the world. Unlike many junior skaters today, Asada’s skating at 15 was already senior level, and many saw her as the best skater in the world.
Asada was indeed of the same caliber as Yuna Kim, and a rare skating prodigy. But as her nemesis Yuna Kim rapidly evolved under the tutorage of Brian Orser, Asada underwent a series of regression in her skating, struggling to catch up with Kim.
While obsessively attached to triple axel, Asada sacrificed a critical balance to her skating. It can’t be more obvious in comparison with Kim’s skating that focused on the overall balance and quality, as Asada single-mindedly invested in triple axel and its competitive merits.
Although her career was far from being unsuccessful, Asada could have been better than what she managed to accomplish.
Asada and Kim took different paths since they had competed each other in junior circle. As a result, Asada, once considered as expressive and light-spirited, was left much room in her skating compared to Kim who comprehensively and broadly mastered many aspects of skating including jump, spin and artistic expression.
Many speculated how Asada could have evolved had she given up triple axel. It is unquestioned that Asada is currently the best skater in the world. And unless the ISU keeps on selling their fraudulent Russian skating, Asada will continue to dominate the sport.