Mao Asada Announces Retirement

“I’ve made the decision to end my career as a figure skater,” Mao Asada wrote on her blog earlier today. “I’ve been able to skate this long and overcome so many obstacles thanks to the support and cheer I received from many people.”

During her career, Mao won three World Championships, an Olympic silver medal, three Four Continents Championships, four Grand Prix Finals, and six National Championships. She was also known for being the only woman for most of her career to do the triple axel.

The one thing that always eluded Mao was the Olympic gold medal. She was too young to compete at the 2006 Torino Olympics, even though she had won the Grand Prix Final a few months before, in her debut season at the senior level. At the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, she came in second to her career-long rival, South Korea’s Yuna Kim. At the 2014 Sochi Olympics, Mao placed sixth.

However, Mao won her final World Championships a few weeks later. She reflected on this incongruency, writing, “I had the best performance and result during the World Championship in the same season as the Sochi Olympics. Had I called it a day then, I might still have been hoping to return as a skater now.”

Mao did take a one year break after winning her last World title in 2014. Upon her return, things seemed back to normal for the most part. However, this last season saw Mao dealing with pain in her left knee. In her final competition, last December’s National Championships, she finished a career-worst 12th place.

“After the national championships last year, the goal that had been driving me disappeared, and with it went the motivation to continue as a skater too,” Mao wrote.

She continued, writing, “I reached the decision but I have no regret over my figure skating career. It was a big decision for me, but I also believe it is another passing point in my life. I want to find new dreams and goals and progress further with a smile on my face.”

“I’m really thankful to everyone for giving me so much support.”


  • Comments

    • Maknae

      An icon. A legend. A heroine to her people and to many fans of the sport. Always to be compared, never to be equaled. I have no words to say how much this woman has inspired me while showing what true sportswomanship is. Never giving up even when the odds were against her. Always striving to give her best in what she loved to do.

      Her milestones and talents are too many to list. Like Tarasova said once, “she doesn’t have a nationality, she belongs to the skating world.” Wishing her the best in her post-competitive life. I hope she always keep smiling, dancing and inspiring people around her. We’ll miss you endlessly, Mao!

    • I’ll never forget how amazing and emotional her FS in Sochi was. (it should have been either 1st or 2nd in the FS, imo)

      Always makes me cry- such a legend,
      Thanks Mao!

    • PigeonPop

      I was hoping Mao would stay until next season with new programs and start from scratch to compete at Regionals~Sectionals, but this is what Mao decided so that’s that. I wish her all the best.

      As far as programs go, I want to share one of her more underappreciated 08-09 Clair de Lune short program. Lots of wonderful, nuanced moments here: the arm movements during crossovers, the choreo after landing the 3F-3Lo, the spread eagle~2A and the circular step sequence that immediately follows… The version done at WTT a few months later was also excellent with a rare donut spin variation with her head “tucked” back under her right arm and facing upwards.

    • light

      Congratulations for an amazing career!! Good luck with your future goals =)

    • Nif

      Off topic the sport discussion – I like her as a person too. She seems to be a nice, kind and a supportive person not only to her figureskating colleagues. A bit of an airhead too but in a cute way.

      • Trang Le

        If an airhead can pull in million-dollar advertising deals, win 3 world championship titles, win silver Olympics medal, got major broadcasting channels to cancel their usual programming to air multiple specials about her, then it’s good to be an airhead.

        • Nif

          Well, Arashi’s Aiba is an airhead to me too – it is not ment to be an offensive comment, it is something I like. All the advertisements and contracts are not the first thing that comes to my mind thinking about Mao-chan. Good hearted? Yes. Emotional? Yes. Encourageing others? Yes. And do it with all her heart even in front of cameras? Yes. Acting as herself? Yes, please. A kind airhead.

          • Trang Le

            Then what you meant is probably not airhead, it’s good-hearted, cheerful, naive. Being able to do the most difficult jumps in skating for 15 years is not something an airhead can do. It takes certain understanding of body movements and biomechanism. Working with 2 legendary choreographers who speak different languages than her also require certain emotional intelligence. Continuously receiving level 4 for step sequences require presence of mind. Being able to bounce back from disastrous short program took guts. Being able to endure injuries to train every day without fail took grits. Her force of mind is made of steel, not fluffy cotton that her cheerful demeanor indicated. None of the entries for “airhead” in the dictionary define it as what you’re referring here.

    • A legend. Wishing her the best. <3