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Mao Asada's slump in skating affects businesses

26 Comments

The Grand Prix figure skating finals are currently under way in Tokyo for the first time in four years without the participation of Mao Asada, two-time champion in the past. Asada is under immense pressure to secure her place in the Vancouver Olympics.

However, plenty of others suffered the consequences of her slump, including TV Asahi, which had secured broadcasting rights to the Grand Prix series. According to a source, all posters promoting Asada had to be replaced by that of Miki Ando, and a TV program that was to cover Asada and her training for the finals had to be canceled.

Additionally, Asada had been elected in May as a “symbol athlete” by the Japanese Olympic Committee to cooperate in fund-raising activities. The seven corporations, including Asahi Beer and Nippon Life Insurance, that are JOC partners, have the right to use Asada in their TV commercials, in return for contributing up to 8 million yen per ad to the sports association.

If Asada fails to qualify for the Olympics, she’ll lose her appointment as symbol athlete, and thereby incur a substantial loss from the perspective of the Japan Skating Federation.

Even a Japanese restaurant manager in Vancouver, where Asada has visited a number of times in the past, expresses concern. The restaurant serves a sushi roll, popular among the locals, named “Mao Dynamite” and hopes that her performance in the Olympics will attract more customers.

© Japan Today

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26 Comments
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How typical here. No wonder she is not performing with all of this pressure hanging over her.

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I just love this Olympic spirit. The Olymopics originated in ancient Greece, the cradle of Western civilization, and the Japanese clearly don't understand its spirit. For them, it's all about winning and nationalism.

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Switch to Mikitty quickly!!

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JeffLee: "the Japanese clearly don't understand its spirit. For them, it's all about winning and nationalism." a bit silly to throw the book at them, don't you think?

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"the Japanese... For them, it's all about winning and nationalism"

You could say that about virtually every country participating in the Olympics. Be sure to add "business and profits."

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The restaurant serves a sushi roll, popular among the locals, named “Mao Dynamite” and hopes that her performance in the Olympics will attract more customers.

a bit of a stretch, no ?

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a good lesson for all those sponsors for putting so much pressure on athletes, not just Asada Mao but previous ones including Kousuke Kitajima. Several years ago, they placed so much pressure on Ando Miki that she failed to perform well at the Olympics.

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I agree and have sympathy for Mao-chan - just turned eighteen and has all this pressure on her to succeed - much more than any Western athlete. Unfortunately, I see this same pressure being exerted on Ishikawa Ryo - a very talented young golfer who is being drained of his youth by all the constant monitoring and pressure.

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These TV companies and Big companies are not interested in the person involved,and this is worldwide.The TV companies are only looking for viewer ratings,big companies sales of their products.The advertising budgets are all set against tax.So the only people who lose and get damaged in the process are the talented people that these vultures exploit.

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Athlete Rule# If you are gonna slump, do it before the Olympics and not at the Olympics, but you must first make it into the Olympics.

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Jeff Lee wrote:

"The Olymopics originated in ancient Greece, the cradle of Western civilization, and the Japanese clearly don't understand its spirit. For them, it's all about winning and nationalism."

sarge responded:

"You could say that about virtually every country participating in the Olympics. Be sure to add business and profits."

You got that right.

Mao Asada is becoming an attractive young woman. I don't think it's so unusual for female figure skaters to go through a period of adjustment in their skating as their bodies change.

If she can back on top of her game, fine, if not she'll have plenty of other things to do with her life in a few years.

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i am kind of OK that we won't be able to see Mao's annoying smiling face all the time on tv... She was overexposed on tv and in other mass media, if she is away from the spotlight and regains some modesty, she would be able to come back like Miki.

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Any female, male or couples that are competiting in the World Championship to the Olympic winter games are under a maze of pressure. My heart goes out to any of the competitors to also summer or winter championships for it takes a lot of training to guts & perfection to become a winner of one of the three medals.

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Pathat said, "If she can back on top of her game, fine, if not she'll have plenty of other things to do with her life in a few years."

I agree, but these are going to be some long years for Mao. She has been completely involved and very competitive in skating since she was 14. Nothing else she does for a while will be nearly as fulfilling.

Personally, I hope she does come out of her slump. I have enjoyed watching Mao do her thing, for years. Besides, she is the only one who really seems to hold a candle to Kim Yuna and it is not the same without her.

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wow, pressure much?

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Wahahaha! Tough luck Mao(se)-chan! Never liked than over rated munchkin anyway.

Now we can see talent and beauty in the form of Miki Ando. The hottest thing on ice in Japan. Certainly better than the skating chin: Shizuka Arakawa

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The main thing J-skaters lack is the ability to jump like Irina of Russia a couple years ago. She was vivaciousness on ice. What a charmer. All these wanna-bes get to show their stuff to the world, but alot of hungry spirited Europeans are waiting to take the crown, I imagine. Concerning the age and overexposure thing, Japan ALWAYS does this to their darling stars. They can't wait for them to have normal careers, they have to be pushed through the washing machine, swallowed by oodles of sponsors, face is everywhere to be seen.......and then dropped for the next new face. Its ironic because the talents on TV stay and stay and stay for 20-30 years like Sanma and Shinsuke nada nado....

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Mao is a very talented and beautiful skater. As is Miki Ando. Good luck to both of them. In my opinion, Mao could use a new choreographer and maybe a new coach. She has just as much talent as Kym Yona, but Kym has an amazing coach and choreographer. Otherwise the two are equally matched in terms of talent. It is very usual for skaters to fall apart at this stage of their career. It's easy to shine when you're working your way to the top and even when you're on the top with no one at your heals, but when someone starts to beet you, you have a long way to fall.

I hope she can find her confidence again. It wouldn't hurt to have a more interesting program, though...

Good luck, Mao!!!! Like someone said above, you do have to get to the olympics, but you really don't want to reach your peak at this time of year. Better to fall now than at the olympics!

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Mao has a very good program, I think Tarasova made a very good program for her, but the problem is that Mao cannot perform it. tarasova cannot work on Mao's jumps and they became worse.

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LIke I said before, J-skaters can't jump! (Except for the midgit Ito-san who became the first Jpn to land triple axel, but was soon plagued by injuries, destined to become part of the rocket scene of the Nagano Olympics (trying to imitate Mohammed Ali's presence in Atlanta? Beautiful Miki Ando, but the home crowd doesn't love her like they do Mao. I'm afraid Mao was just a budding 15-16-17 year old that's peaked prematurely, as sometimes/often happens when pushed too quickly too aggressively.

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She's just a young girl. Give her a break. She is doing her best and I cheer her for it. She can't be expected to be perfect all the time.

Greedy corporate types just want to use her. She's a human being and most of all a very young person. If she doesn't make it this time, so what, she will have another shot in four years. And she may be even better then.

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I'm sure Mao skates for herself, her family, and her fans. If she doesn't live up to corporate interests' expectations well that just too bad, isn't it?

I really dislike this monetisation of all things athletic. Doesn't this young woman have enough competition pressure on her without someone crying because she's not making them enough money?

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The U.S. had the same dilemma back for one of the summer games. Some company hyped up a decathlon showdown between two Americans, Dave Johnson and Dan O'Brien - Dan vs. Dave, as it was billed. Problem was, Dan failed to qualify because of some brain fart by his coach. Then there was that Shunsuke Nakamura snubbing by Troussier, which made the soccer officials here scramble for a new poster boy.

Mao, good luck, but the two J-gals that skated this past weekend are mentally ready for the Olympics, although it seems foregone that Kim Yu Na will take the title. Cool Cali, I agree that Mao is a munchkin, but Ando's teeth protrude a bit too much for my taste. Kim's sex appeal will be enough for her to take the gold.

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Business and TV ratings are two different things, boohoo to the TV station no one cares.

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Tarento. I would not write off Ando. She is a mature and elegant skater and that goes a long way with judges. Sex appeal won't win Kim the award. She has to mix her power with elegance to take the gold. Something she has but not always does well.

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I remember (correct me if im wrong folks) Nike did the same with the US decathlete Dan O'Brian. They plastered him everywhere and they had different types of commercials building up to the Olympics featuring him......but he failed to qualify.

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