Well, I finally got around to reading Mao Rashiku
[Mao-like] and Mao Asada, 15 years old
, so I thought I'd share some interesting stuff I learned!
Mao Rashiku has a collection of articles written in the Asahi newspaper - it's a column by Takeshi Sakagami. I've translated at least one of the full articles (the one on Mao's off-ice training).
On pg 54, in an article about Mao's jumps, Coach Yamada said this:
"Mao is good at forming the axle for her jumps. They're not gorgeous jumps like Midori's where you jump in the air full of power, but her mistakes are few. In Mao's case, you are like, 'Eh? Was that a triple?' since her timing is so quick and she lifts into the air, forms an axel and jumps. She's a genius."
On pg 58-60 they talk about some tests that the biomechanic profressors have conducted at Chuukyou University. According to their tests, while Miki Ando can rotate in the air 6 times in 1 second, Mao can rotate *6.5* times per second. In the world, she is the best at forming the smallest moment of inertia (ie, she can pack her body into the tightest circle of all the skaters currently), and this helps her rotate the fastest.
Also, they say that Mao does not fall often because she stays almost perpendicular to the ice - she normally keeps an 80~85 degree angle with respect to the ice when she is in the air, while Miki Ando keeps a 65 degree angle, and most skaters keep a 60-70 degree angle with the ice.
For her first skating competition, the first song that Mao ever skated to was "Dumbo" (the Disney movie). [pg 68]
On page 70, Mao reveals that she was thinking about using 'Czardas' again in the 07-08 season because she thought the program was still not perfect and there was still more she could do. But then she decided that she should go with a song she liked.
On page 76, it says that TAT met Mao after she received her score after the SP at Worlds 2008. TAT said, "Thank you for skating that extremely well," and gave her a big hug.
I'm glad TAT got to see that wonderful performance!
Starting on page 114, there's a section about Mao and how she was good at sports as a kid. She reveals that from 1st to 6th grade in elementary school, she was always first in the races. She also thinks that she could compete with the long distance runners at her school (ie, she wouldn't lose to them in a race).
[Whoa, maybe if Mao ever gives up skating, she can be a track runner or a marathoner - a real marathon Mao!
On page 121, Mao says, "In the past, I was the youngest, and I was chasing the others. But, now I have been able to stand at the top at Japan Nationals, so I want to promote Japanese skating even more. Not just me, but also Ando-senshu, Nakano-senshu, and Suguri-senshu - we all feel the same way. Now [skating] is becoming a boom/fad, but I want people to become even more excited about it. So that it doesn't just end like a fad, so that the popularity of figure skating continues. I want to work harder, give good performances, and try my best so that I can promote the figure skating world."
I love this quote.
TAT is right, for Mao, skating is life. She's not skating to win for winning's sake; no, she's skating to win because she wants to share her love of skating with everyone else! [Searching for a "tears of joy" smiley - we need one of those!]
On page 138, Mao says, "Sometimes we talk about this, with everyone. What we're going to be doing in the future. I think it would be good to be in ice shows, but more than ice shows, I think I want to teach kids. I have learned from all kinds of teachers, and I've really gone to all kinds of countries. That sort of thing - I think I want to try teaching the next set of little kids more and more about it. But that's something for far, far in the future. After all, I think teaching is something you can do no matter how old you are, and I think I still have to keep working hard. I'm still 18 years old, after all. I'm young."