Mao Asada has announced yesterday that she is officially retiring from figure skating, thus bringing an end to an illustrious career. This is came suddenly and shockingly to Japan as well as all of her fans, especially with the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics coming up next February. Many thought she would keep skating at least until then. However, Mao has expressed that she has lost some of the drive and motivation that kept her skating. She seeks to work towards new goals and move on, coming after a long slump in competitive skating that fans had hoped she would get past.
Many consider the three-time world champion to be the best skater of her time, starting when she defeated Russian favorite, Irina Slutskaya at just 15 years old in the Grand Prix Finals in Tokyo in December 2005. She’s won 6 national titles, the 5th coming after an emotional return from the passing of her mother in 2011. She overcame the odds and continued skating, going on to win her third world title and finish 6th in the Sochi Olympic Games.
Representatives of the Japan Skating Federation, peers of the skating world both current and former, and fellow Olympic athletes have had nothing but praise for the 26 year old, despite such a surprising announcement, with some completely understanding her decision to retire now. The stresses and work that is put into staying on top of your game and continuing to improve are taxing and Mao Asada, though expressing no regrets about her time in the world of skating, has decided to call it quits and look to a different future. She will be missed in the skating world and at the Olympic Games, because she has done so much for the sport and for Japan, leaving behind a memorable legacy for others to look up to.