Figure skater

Mao Asada retires

© The Yomiuri Shimbun

Women’s figure skater
Mao Asada retires

We look back on the career of
Mao Asada,
who fascinated Japan
with her beautiful performances
and cheerful smile.

Asada gives a sparkling performance in the women’s singles at the 71st All-Japan Figure Skating Championships in December 2002.

Asada, right, stands on the podium at the national junior championships, sharing her happiness with her older sister Mai, who came in second, in November 2004.

Asada skates her free program on the last day of the Grand Prix Final, where she won the women’s title in December 2005.

Asada poses with her graduation certificate at the entrance to her junior high school after attending a graduation ceremony just for her in March 2006.

Asada wins the All-Japan Figure Skating Championships for the first time in December 2006.

Asada looks surprised when she hears about her victory at the World Figure Skating Championships in March 2008.

At the Vancouver Olympics, Asada skates in the short program where she came in second in February 2010.

 

Asada, left, holds her medal as she responds to cheers from the audience at the Vancouver Olympics in February 2010.

Asada holds her silver medal after the figure skating awards ceremony at the Vancouver Olympics in February 2010.

Asada looks at her silver medal on the podium at the Vancouver Olympics in February 2010, where she became the first female figure skater to land two triple axels in the women’s free program at the Games.

Asada wears a long-sleeved furisode kimono for her coming of age ceremony in January 2011.

Asada, left, looks at the scoreboard at the world championships with her coach Nobuo Sato in April 2011.

Asada waves to the audience at the All-Japan Figure Skating Championships after winning the title in December 2011.

Asada starts the Grand Prix Final in the top spot in December 2012, aiming for her first victory in four years.

Asada responds to cheers from the audience in December 2013 after being chosen as a national team member for the Sochi Olympics.

Asada performs at the Sochi Olympics in Februrary 2014, scoring a personal-best 142.71 points in the free program for a total of 198.22 to finish in sixth place. She botched all her jumps in the short program the day before, but completed the free program nearly perfectly the following day, including a triple axel.

Asada has an almost faultless performance in her free program at the Sochi Olympics in Februrary 2014, although her short program ranked 16th.

Asada clasps her hands together after finishing her free program at the Sochi Olympics in February 2014.

Asada cries after an almost faultless free program following her disappointing short program the previous day at the Sochi Olympics in February 2014.

Asada waves to the audience after finishing sixth at the Sochi Olympics after landing a triple axel in her free program in February 2014.

Asada holds a press conference after coming back from the Sochi Olympics in February 2014. Asked whether she would continue to compete, she replied, “[It’s] 50/50.”

Asada performs in the free program at the world championships in March 2014, where she won the gold medal.

Asada smiles after winning the world championships in March 2014.

Asada announces she will continue her career as a figure skater in May 2015, saying, “Naturally, I started missing competing and wanted to feel the sense of achievement of a good performance.” Previously, she announced that she would take a year off after the Sochi Olympics.

Asada attends her graduation ceremony in a pink long-sleeved furisode kimono and purple hakama skirt in March 2015.

Asada, left, skates with her older sister Mai at a show in Kitakyushu.

Asada competes in Skate America, the first stop on the Grand Prix circuit. She ranked fifth in the women’s short program.

Asada performs in the free program at the All-Japan Figure Skating Championships in December 2016, her last official competition.

 

Asada reacts during the All-Japan Figure Skating Championships in December 2016, which became her last official competition. She finished in 12th place, her lowest since competing in the event in 2002.

Asada attends a press conference to officially announce her retirement in Minato Ward, Tokyo, on April 12.

 

Asada wipes away tears at a press conference in Minato Ward, Tokyo, on April 12.

Asada waves as she leaves a press conference in Minato Ward, Tokyo, on April 12.

The Japan News
© The Yomiuri Shimbun
Some of the pictures in this series can be purchased at Yomiuri Hochi Shashinkan photo archive (Japanese only).