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 Asada prepares to defend title in Moscow

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PostSubject: Asada prepares to defend title in Moscow    Sat Apr 23, 2011 9:58 am

Asada prepares to defend title in Moscow

- by Takeshi Sakagami, Asahi.com

When 2010 world champion figure skater Mao Asada saw TV images of the devastation caused by the magnitude-9 earthquake and tsunami in eastern Japan on March 11, she found herself at a loss for words.

"I was at home in Nagoya when the quake hit. I felt the shaking and then I saw the images on TV," she said. "Honestly, I'm still not sure if I should go to the world championships at a time like this."

The World Figure Skating Championships were rescheduled to start April 25 in Moscow, after the initial plan to host it in Tokyo on March 25 was cancelled due radiation fears and a power shortage in eastern Japan.

Asada has mixed feelings, but said if the Japan Skating Federation decides to send her to Moscow she will have to no choice but to go. And if she goes, she wants to give it everything she's got.

"What I can do now is to do my best ... I think there are many fans among the people who were affected by the disaster. I don't think the victims have the composure to (enjoy watching figure skating) right now, but I hope that I can cheer them up through my efforts. That's all I can do."

Asada says she will compete with a different outlook, basically forgetting about her title as the defending world champion.

It is uncertain how the monthlong delay will affect her performance, especially after Asada's rough start this season caused apparently by time spent readjusting her jumps.

"After the Four Continents Figure Skating Championships (held in Taiwan) in February, I pushed myself too hard for the world championships ... in Tokyo," Asada said. "So when the Tokyo event was cancelled, my coach (Nobuo) Sato told me to get some rest first. I took a week off right after the quake. I was able to switch mental gears and work toward the competition which was then a month ahead."

Asada has been practicing a lot with Takahiko Kozuka, Japan's 2010 men's champion who trains under the same coach. She has been polishing her craft while experiencing the speed and powerful jumping ability of the male skaters first hand.

"While practice was cancelled temporarily due to the quake, during my daily four-hour training sessions on the ice, I skated my entire short program and free program at least once a day," Asada said. "My coach told me the weakness that surfaced at the Four Continents was that I needed to skate with more speed and energy. So I have been focusing on that," she said.

Moscow is like Asada's second home base. It's where Tatiana Tarasova, who coached Asada for two seasons up to last season, lives.

"I don't have a good or bad image of Russia. Tarasova, who choreographed my short program this season, is there. So I may ask her to touch up my costume," Asada said. "I was disappointed when the world championships (in Tokyo) were cancelled, but I got to rest for a week, and was able to practice more. Now, all I can do is compete with a positive attitude."

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PostSubject: Re: Asada prepares to defend title in Moscow    Sat Apr 23, 2011 9:35 pm

Great article as Mao talks about the quake etc. She looks beautiful in that pic. Despite the tragedy in Japan, I look for great things from Team Japan at Worlds. They will lift up the spirits of the Japanese people and do their best. Hope to see Miki, Mao & Kanako on the podium (YuNa not withstanding).
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PostSubject: Re: Asada prepares to defend title in Moscow   Thu Apr 28, 2011 11:04 am

i am proud of Mao that she is very compassionate about her fellowmen. She is more concerned of those people who were devastated rather than defending her title. A true hero indeed. Best of luck in the worlds, Mao!! Hoping you'd do great and bring home gold!
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