winter olympics

Kim wins women's short program; Asada 16th

57 Comments
By BARRY WILNER

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Whereas other skaters have evolved and introduced new moves, Mao is still stuck in her old routine....all three Japanese skaters looked old fashioned and boring. A foreign coach pushes a skater into trying new things,a Japanese coach well mostly choose the conservative options. I hope she can restore some of her pride tonight..go Mao!

10 ( +12 / -2 )

Poor Mao, cant imagine having the weight of the nation on your shoulders like that. As I type the morning TV is on in the background - a full uninterrupted 30mins dedicated to womans skating.

Kim Yuna - wow what a performer.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

I have to agree with Dutchduck. Mao's performance lacked flair or that "je na sais quoi" that the other top skaters seemed to have. Combine that with a mental frailty and she seemed to lack any overall conviction with her programme. The Olympics are tough and the competition deep with new skaters arriving on the scene all the time. If you don't have your "A" game then it's very difficult to medal. Let's hope she has a more inspired free skate.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Sitting at No. 18, looks like 15 skaters will have to withdraw before the long program if Mao has any chance to be part of the victory parade down the Ginza.

RR

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Dutchduck , I'm pretty sure you have not seen her's. She got many different combos and has eliminated one tripple axle for the long.

The top three will compete for the long with just a small score margin. I was expecting Lipnitskaia to be on top aswell. Kim Yuna's performance was pure confidence compared to Mao. Mao couldn't focus much. What was she thinking? Italy was a surprise. I never thought she'll make it that far.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

The worst part of this for Mao-chan is not that she failed. The problem is that her mistakes will be played over and over ad naseum until we have all memorized her program. Then, on top of all that, she is going to have to answer all the dumb questions from dumb, insensitive reporters like that idiot Shuzo Matsuoka.

12 ( +15 / -4 )

Dutchduck , I'm pretty sure you have not seen her's. She got many different combos and has eliminated one tripple axle for the long.

Watched it of course as I'm quiet the Mao fan,but it pains me to say that her performance looked old and stale in compare to especially the Russians. Pressure is something all athletes have to deal with, so that's not a real excuse...

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Not a fan of Mao but wow, the pressure that she is under and the media. Skating on the morning news has been endless. Why not give Mao a break and start looking at the younger Japanese skaters? They build them up and rip them apart.

And yes about the foreign coach comment. Mind you, I think Mao can't deal with a foreign coach as she can't speak English - most of the Japanese skaters can and Yuna is fluent.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Hurry up and lose. Get off my TV Mao!

-3 ( +8 / -11 )

bububu, is that really necessary?

I like Maochan, but I feel there is too much pressure for her this year. Hope she will come back tonight with a grand finale.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Hurry up and lose. Get off my TV Mao!

She is not there by choice. If it were up to her there would be very little media coverage until the event was over.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

She is not there by choice.

Now I've heard everything!

-5 ( +5 / -10 )

@tmarie,

I think they are all under pressure.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

**She is not there by choice.

Now I've heard everything!

What does this mean? I honestly do not see how you could hate a person you do not even know?

1 ( +6 / -5 )

When did I say I hate her? Over-react much? I don't want to constantly see her on TV. She is not the only Japanese athlete there. Her sponsors are responsible for the massive Mao overload and I'm tired of it.

1 ( +8 / -7 )

When did I say I hate her? Over-react much? I don't want to constantly see her on TV. She is not the only Japanese athlete there. Her sponsors are responsible for the massive Mao overload and I'm tired of it.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

**@tmarie,

I think they are all under pressure.**

But some much more than others. I think Mao and Sara have had the worst of it this year. Two young women - more so in Sara's case - that really could deal with the media and the expectations of the locals to be a lot lower and less focused. Mao got blamed for the team skate not to medal. Why not the weaker girls? Rather unfair to expect her to shoulder so much blame and responsibility by those who sit on their sofas or in the pubs who can't skate. Mao, like Ando, cracks under pressure. Why the media hasn't figured this out yet is beyond me.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Was I right or was I right?

Mao Asada was a complete non factor. She just didn't have it at all mentally even months before this competition.

Yuna is unbeatable in the most important aspect, the mental one. While she made some mistakes, nothing like the others.

Not hating at all, but the honest truth.

At least the Korean nationalists can gloat again this time, but won't have any Japanese competitors to gloat over since none of them will medal.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Japan will be better of with Mao retiring. I think people get too stressed out about it, because its all over the media and yet everyone knows deep inside that she is going to screw up. The result was even worse than I thought, but only someone delusional would have predicted Mao to be near the top. I just wonder who is next though, with Suzuki and Mao retiring and Murakami not living up to her (seeming) potential. I think the Japanese skaters need to hire a foreign coach that will push them and instill confidence while they are still young. Look how confident Hanyu is now.

Italy was a surprise. I never thought she'll make it that far.

She did well considering she fell though the ice :-p

http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/518118-olympic-figure-skater-who-fell-through-ice-is-satire-carolina-kostner-is-fine-no-emergency-rescue-crews/

No, seriously, Kostner has been good for years and was 2nd at the world championship so not sure why you are surprised. She was expected to fight for gold.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Japan will be better of with Mao retiring.

Nah, people would just be better off not stressing so much and just enjoying the entertainment of the Olympics.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

And, as predicted, unfortunately Mao has once again succumbed to pressure when facing Yu-Na. Interesting that this article starts by saying Kim 'almost let her nerves get the better of her', but nothing of the like is suggested when it comes to Mao.

Anyway, I know a whole lot of people who planned to wake up early to watch this event, talking about how much they loved figure skating. So far this morning it has been complete silence, with one man I met (who loved it last week) saying he hates figure skating (except for Hanyu).

Best of luck to all of them tomorrow. And good on Kim for being consistant.

8 ( +13 / -5 )

I don't get why they are talking about Mao who ended up 16th, 19.41 points behind the leader. What about Kanako Murakami who finished 0.09 better and Akiko Suzuki at 8th. Suzuki has a dark horse chance at a metal. To be honest, I don't think anyone but the top 3 have a shot a gold. Also no one under Ashley Wagner has a shot a bronze. Yuna and Adelina are skating to well. Carolina and Ashley are inconsistent so there is a change for Yulia or Gracie to get the bronze. But the way the skating been going, there is a very good change that the standing will not change.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

What was that sound? Oh! It's all of her advertising and publicity contracts being torn up!

3 ( +5 / -2 )

I think the kind of media attention that Mao and Sara have gotten really hasn't done them any favors. By contrast, for the men, the media focused mainly on Takahashi and Hanyu only really came under pressure after the team skate. Obviously Mao's people have sought this out and she must be making a bundle from all her endorsements, but it's a two-edged sword for sure.

Most Japanese skaters don't seem to have the same kind of grace that the foreign skaters do, but I'm not sure it can necessarily be put down only to Japanese coaches - Mao was being coached by a Russian when she appeared in Vancouver and her choreographer is Canadian. The big problem really does seem to be mental, and I think many Japanese Olympians would be very well served by working with a sports psychologist, if somebody like that even exists here. The ones who win are strong mentally, like Shizuka Arakawa and Hanyu. Hanyu has said that he thinks one reason his coach, Brian Orser, has produced two gold medalists is "that he's good at making you feel confident."

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Korean media is just as xenophobic and self-centered as Japan's. Yuna did just fine. Stop making excuses. There si a first place and last place for a reason. Good skater get first, bad skater gets last and everyone else falls in between. It is not about media pressure.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

Mao and Kim are close competitors. They may be same age too. Back in Vancouver winter Olympic, Mao won Silver and Kim won Gold. Unlikely Mao will win Bronze that time.

It is sad for Mao who is gifted and talented have to retire like that. It is the fault of J media which is exaggerating her as Queen of Ice. She may perform will her triple axel- a three and a half rotation jump during the training. Not in the most of the real tournament. It is the Russian Roulette for her.

The Queen of Ice will belong to the land of touch girls known as ROK. Japan is the land of setting Sun for Ice.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Way to go Yu'na, Murakami, and Suzuki!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

To be honest, Kim and the Russian skaters have just as much pressure as Asada. Home crowds can be put too much pressure on the Russians. And Kim has said before that she receives hateful emails from some Koreans whenever she gets a mere silver. I watched most of the competition on a Korean channel, and they too were showing Kim's performance over and over again (just as Japanese TV do with Asada), even ignoring the German skater after Kim. She also said she felt incredibly nervous during warm-up and her legs felt weak. But the difference is that she was able to pull it off when it mattered. There has been talk of Kim's low PC's. I'm just wondering whether the second-placed Russian skater had inflated marks. Surprised Kostner is also so close, but this will make it interesting.

I know that Mao is nowhere near as consistent as Kim, but even I was shocked at her score. Went to bed just after Suzuki's program, but having just watched her program now on the internet, I was a bit surprised her score was that low. I'm assuming she was going to do her combination jump last and that didn't even materialize. Not sure, but I think this was her worst ever placement.

Can anyone tell me whether they've changed the ordering system of the skaters for the free program? It seems to roughly follow how the skaters did in the short - with Kim skating last and Asada early on. In Vancouver, I don't remember these two skaters skating their free anywhere near the end, despite them being the top two skaters in the short.

Dutchduck:

Whereas other skaters have evolved and introduced new moves, Mao is still stuck in her old routine....all three Japanese skaters looked old fashioned and boring

After this competition, Asada and Suzuki won't be around anymore, so I'm not sure whether there'll be a Japanese female skater capable of winning gold at international competitions for quite some time. I'm quite surpised that Murakami is already looking like an obachan and she's only 19!

And I thought Asada wasn't going to concentrate on the 3A. She didn't learn, did she? The silver lining is, now that she won't be in contention of any sort of medal, she can relax in the free program and just enjoy herself. Take it easy, that's all I can say.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

What? Asada Mao got only 55.51 on Women's Short? It's okay, there's always the next Olympi.... ohhhh wait

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It's a shame that most Japanese will not be able to fully appreciate the once-in-a-lifetime talent that is Kim Yu-na. Kim's performance was flawless grace in motion and her expression a thing of rare beauty.

With Japan and Korea being from the same East Asian part of the world, you'd think that Japanese would appreciate another phenomenal skater representing for the millions upon millions of East Asian girls who see a woman looking very much like themselves holding the world enthralled. Sadly, national rivalry will not allow it.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

I respect how much Mao-chan practices and I like her as a person, but that was a choke job. I hate to say it, but she needs to live overseas by herself and train in conditions she has never put herself in. That's the only way she'll be able to become mentally tougher. That said, hope she gets it together in the free skate.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Mao and Kim are close competitors.

Huh? Not any more they aren't. First and sixteenth are hardly "close". Not a Mao-hater, but for Kim to perform the way she did, given that she has only competed a very limited number of times the past few years (like 5 I believe), shows she truly is in another class from Mao.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Mao and Kim are close competitors

what? 1st place and 16th place are close?

2 ( +6 / -4 )

As somebody said earlier, what about the two other Japanese skaters?

NHK basically buried their performances on the morning news, despite the fact that both ended up higher in the rankings than the nation's sweetheart. Same could be said about the blokes as well. The younger chap got all the press for winning, and poor old Takahashi has become an instant non-entity.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Exactly dutchduck....I can't believe the bias of this article...lipnitskaya may have fallen but she's still in 5th place and in contention for a medal. Mao is not...she did the same boring old routine with no feeling and emotion like a robot. She fell over and over and was just not as good as the Russians and Koreans. Simple facts. I realize losing is a sore subject for Japan but one needs to remain objective and fair.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

The Japanese skaters didn't have to deal so much with J media paparazzi. I think that distracted their concentrations. Habu, Shogi master, does not have interviews before big games.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Unfortunately that triple axel has always given Mao problems, and this time was no exception. She was landing it fine in the warm-up practice before the short program. It's just too bad she succumbs to the pressure when it's time to perform. I was really hoping she'd pull it off. Here's wishing she skates an inspired free program.

Anyhow, impressive skating from the top three girls. Since they're less than a point apart this should be an exciting long program. I was expecting that young Russian girl to be a medal contender as she was fantastic in the team event, but unfortunately she fell as well. Gracie is several points from third place, so her only chance at a medal is if one of the top three messes up. Anything can happen, so this should be interesting to watch. Best of luck to all of them.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Too bad but it was a classic J-media build up & then the always higher chance of the choke.

I hope she has a great skate in the next round & then can enjoy the Olympics without all the stupid media

And yes I feel for the J-athletes who don't rate so don't get hardly any coverage, even if they do better, J-media at its worst!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

el: "Most Japanese skaters don't seem to have the same kind of grace that the foreign skaters do..."

Not criticizing your post, but just as a point of order wanted to remind you that the only non-foreign skaters in Sochi are Russian, with Japan falling into the 'foreigner' category. Nit-picky, I know, but hey. Agree with you on pretty much all points though.

I also agree with posters who point out that the media in South Korea is just as bad (often worse) when putting pressure on individual athletes, but is not nearly as bad as the people putting pressure on the group as a whole, or suggesting they are entitled to a record haul of medals, etc. I don't see too many fanatics on South Korean blogs saying that the athletes should have to pay back tax money and screaming Japan lost gold because of certain athletes, etc. So while said posters are correct, in my opinion, to state that you can't use the media as an excuse since Kim is under a lot of pressure but pulls it off, you can still say that some, like Mao, are unable to overcome it and suffer a massive amount of criticism that follows. In any case, the media both here and in other nations can be completely disgusting at times.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Two-time world champion, world record holder on many axles and a silver Olympic medal. Not bad to end her career this way.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Kim Yu-na is better looking and therefore should win.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

sorry Mao doesnt have the mental toughness to win Gold, Kim is a much better overall skater and she proved it.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

@titaniumoxide Yup, and a Guinness book world record holder to boot. Clearly not a bad way to cap her career.

Otsukare, Mao-chan. Enjoy and have a great free skate.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I think some of the posters on this website are as prone to hyperbole and broad generalizations as the Japanese media. The Japanese media is hardly alone in hyping its athletes for potential gold. They are also not alone in forgetting the people who fail (do not medal). The Japanese media is pretty much the same as media from most other countries in this regard and will continue like this, because people like to watch winners.

Also I am not sure people understand the difference between "hoping somebody wins" and "expecting somebody to win". I think most people in Japan - regarding Asada - hoped she won, but realistically knew it was not going to happen. I am not talking about nutjobs on the internet, but normal people who you talk to. I do not know, maybe I only know sensible people.

Well done to Yuna Kim who once again skated brilliantly and looks set to win back-to-back golds. How cool is that!

Though I daresay if she does win the Korean media will start talking about the possibility of winning a third gold.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

As a person who can't skate, I think they're all amazing.

Love MaoChan because she's so cute, but yeah, I can't imagine the pressure on her.

Couldn't stand the female reporter who interviewed her right after. Sounded like she was asking why a kid didn't do her homework.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

As a person who can't skate, I think they're all amazing.

Ditto. To my untrained eye, I can't tell the difference in quality between many of the skaters in the top 5 or 6.

However, various media outlets have suggested that the Russian skater received an inflated score. Hope the judges will remain for for tonight's competition, and may the BEST skater win!

http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/columnist/brennan/2014/02/19/winter-olympic-games-sochi-figure-skating-yuna-kim-russian-mao-asada/5610245/

How in the world Sotnikova ended up ahead of Kostner, whose poise and lyricism is light years ahead of the Russian's, is anyone's guess.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/olympics/chi-sochi-figure-skating-women-20140219,0,7994308.story

Sotnikova, appreciative recipient of some home-cooked judging that provided her the highest technical score of the night?

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Kim's performance was flawless grace in motion and her expression a thing of rare beauty.

That's the thing most Japanese don't like. That she gets points for "expression". And probably a plastic one at that. Her technical ability is not that high, and she doesn't have those delicate movements that they prefer I guess. Of course, once you bring out the weaknesses, its easy to criticize. Honestly I think Hanyu skates more smoothly than any of the female skaters.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Mao's short program was disastrous. In the short program, ladies are allowed up to 4 jumps with 2 must be in combination. All the leaders did those. Mao did only 3 jumps with none in combination.

Might as well do all triple axels in her free skate - that's her only chance to catch up.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yuna is compelling to watch. Smokin'.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

tiredofiron:

If you ask them what Japan's favorite sport is, they almost always say, "Whatever sport Japan is winning at."

The good thing is, these people who have no genuine interest in sports can go to sleep early tonight. Very early!

Therougou:

That's the thing most Japanese don't like. That she gets points for "expression". And probably a plastic one at that.

Now, now ,now. We mustn't make our grapes even more sour. To be honest, I'd take her sort of performances to the often cutesy kawaii performances which suit 12-year olds.

Honestly I think Hanyu skates more smoothly than any of the female skaters.

Yes, I've often thought he was more suited for the ladies' programs. I can do without seeing the Biellmann spin in the men's programs.

beowulf:

Though I daresay if she does win the Korean media will start talking about the possibility of winning a third gold.

I doubt she'd do it again. It took a lot of effort the second time round. As she recently said when asked about her injuries - as a skater, you're injured 365 days of the year. I wonder how the bodies of former skaters are faring. Having said that, I wonder whether Asada would consider competing in the Worlds in an attempt to redeem herself - Kim certainly won't be there.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Congratulations to Yuna Kim the 2014 Olympic figure skating gold medalist!

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

So refreshing to hear people say nice things about Koreans on JT.

Sports make us all the same, thank you Yuna for a beautiful performance.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Mitch Kohen...there would not be any home cooked judging ..just look at the mens hockey game in which an american judge disalowed a russian goal which cost them the game and eventually the tournament...hey have had too much bias judging in the past in figure skating and now all judges are specially selected to make sure that doesn't happen.

those websites you provided are american based. Perhaps the reason that they are upset is the fact that the american got 4th place. They recently featured Gold in time magazine which is usually reserved for people who win a medal. Now that it looks her hopes are fading the us media blames the judges.

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

Yuna was robbed.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Congratulations Kim Yuna for winning silver.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Perhaps the reason that they are upset is the fact that the american got 4th place. They recently featured Gold in time magazine which is usually reserved for people who win a medal. Now that it looks her hopes are fading the us media blames the judges.

No U.S. media is doing that. Gold in 4th place is 12 points away from 3rd place Bronze. No amount of judging inconsistencies could close a 12-pt gap. In fact, even though they didn't win a medal, the U.S. media are proud that all 3 U.S. ladies are in the Top 10. Leave the loser talk in Russia.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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