Who would have thought the 2010 Grand Prix Competitions could be such a letdown as it unfolded?
Only months after the drama of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics that enthralled the world, the current Grand Prix turned out to be not so “grand” at all. Some might point out at the absence of Yuna Kim. However, despite Yuna Kim out of picture, the competitions still hosted Mao Asada, Kim’s archrival as well as the 2010 world champion. It’s supposed to be her show. With her technical brilliance and mental determination displayed in the Olympics, Asada could have swept the fields.
But she did not.
Asada, the two time world champion and perhaps the most underrated athlete today, mainly because of her misfortune in competing with Yuna Kim, the luminary of more than a hundred year old sport, literally fell apart in her post Olympic performances. The two-time world champion simply failed to stand on the ice.
The formidable Asada of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics seem dissipated, with disastrous scores that are far lower than of even her junior performances.
There was little to keep Asada from standing the highest step of the podium since Joannie Rochette had opted out the competitions.
Her bold – but questionable – quest for readjusting jumps ought to be done without jeopardizing the overall asset of her skating. Asada should best her existing asset. Redoing all her jumps isn’t the way. Asada has already technical tools that keep her on the top of the figure skating world.
Asada needs to innovate and evolve, not restart, which will get her nowhere.
If Asada aims to catch Yuna Kim by turning the clock back, that approach is fundamentally wrong. That decision should have been made at least 4 years ago when the balance between the two rivals began to tip in favor of Kim. Furthermore, despite Asada’s defeat to Kim in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, Asada is one of the most skillful jumpers in the world with triple axel that Kim wasn’t able to arm with. And she is practically the only one in the current ladies field who can beat the queen of ice.
What Asada needs is to find her unique muse and balance it with her technical advantages. The drastic changes in her jump technique could cost her more. Time is not on her side.
On the other hand, Kim’s decision of not including triple axel in her arsenal was a wise one. Triple axel must be tempting, especially to an athlete like Kim’s caliber. There is little doubt she would succeed if she sets her heart on it even if it takes time. However, the unproven success cannot justify her risking injury.
In retrospect Kim has made the most of her decision not pursuing triple axel. Turning her back on triple axel, Kim instead concentrated on polishing all other elements, which ultimately led Yuna Kim to an era of her own, the art of quality skating, the blueprint of which had been long laid by Janet Lynn.
Asada should remember that there are a lot more than just jump techniques in figure skating.