Thursday, September 25, 2014

Mao Asada: Power and Grace

Happy 24th birthday to Japan's Mao Asada, 3-time World Champion and 2010 Olympic silver medalist. Mao has evolved over the years from a jumping phenom to an elegant artist that shares her heart in each performance. At the Olympics in Sochi, Mao was devastated when she skated a disastrous short program that took her out of medal contention. In the freeskate, she roared back with a vengeance, delivering what may have been the finest, most exciting and poignant freeskate of the night. I will never forget it. She didn't win a medal, but she won everyone's heart with a courageous, stirring performance to Rachmaninoff's "Piano Concerto No.2"--featuring a triple axel. A month later, Mao was back in rare form at the World Championships in her home country, delivering two performances that cemented her place as one of the greatest in her sport. She won her third World title and fifth World medal. Such a beautiful champion. Happy birthday, Mao!

Mao's 2014 Worlds short program:

Mao's 2014 Worlds freeskate:

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