After Worlds, I went skating crazy. I started browsing the online forums, I read all the news on Mao, and I went on YouTube to watch all the performances, interviews, fluff pieces, etc that I had missed. And there was a ton to watch. Mao became even more of a star in Japan than before, and there were so many commercials and talk shows and interviews to see.
Here are some of my favorite clips that I found.
Mao almost setting off a fire alarm
(At the 2008 Japan Super Challenge ice show)
Mao on "BISTRO SMAP" (April 2008)
(For the rest of the show, please see the links on this page.)
Even more crazy (or foolish), I decided that I too wanted to learn how to skate. That way I would be able to understand exactly that Mao was doing, and I would understand what exactly this whole ‘outside edge’/ ‘inside edge’ stuff was about. Or so I thought. ^_^;;
About one month after Worlds, Mao participated in the annual Japan Open, in single skaters compete in teams of 4, and their aggregate score determines the winning team. Mao Asada was last to skate, and when she did her free program this time, she nailed the opening triple axel.
2008 Japan Open
“Fantaisie-Impromptu” by Frederic Chopin
But what I thought was even more impressive was that she had replaced the triple lutz with a salchow. She doubled the jump, but nonetheless the attempted it for the first time since she became a senior. The reason for the switch? As Jack Gallagher wrote in his article, Mao said that she wanted to fix her take-off for the lutz. So in the meantime, while she was working on it, she removed it from her program.
Barely a month had passed since she had won her World title, she had been extremely busy with all kinds of interviews and media appearances, and yet Mao Asada was already working hard to become an even better skater. Now that is a true champion, I thought.
In June 2008, Mao announced that Tatiana Tarasova would be her new coach. At that point in time, I didn’t know that Tarasova almost became her coach before Worlds, but it was no surprise to me that she picked TAT. (More on this later.)
Very soon after that, we got to see Mao’s brand-new exhibition program, which was choreographed by Tarasova.
2008 Dreams on Ice
“Por Una Cabeza” by Carlos Gardel / “Payadora” by Julian Plaza
(Click on the YouTube link to watch in HD!)
Just like with her 2007-08 season short program, this program showed a new, mature side of Mao. Lovely!
Then, in July, it was time for THE ICE. Given Mao’s status as World champion, it became a huge production. First, there was a sightseeing tour, where Mao and Mai took a number of North American skaters all around Nagoya.
Then, in the show, Mao and Mai performed their first proper pair number together.
2008 THE ICE (July 2008)
And as part of the finale, Mao Asada and Jeff Buttle, the 2008 World champs, would skate together to Disney’s “Enchanted.” What happened was priceless. You just have to watch it yourself.
2008 THE ICE
“True Love’s Kiss” from Disney’s “Enchanted”
Finally, Mao made another dream come true—that of Miku Okubo, an 8-year old girl with a prosthetic arm who dreamed of being a violinist.
As part of the 24-hour TV special, Mao skated to Miku playing “Over the rainbow.”
Mao Asada and Miku Okubo
"Over the Rainbow"
For the full TV special, please see here.
I felt like I had never seen Mao skate so expressively. Mao has used this music for both a short program and an exhibition, and in many ways, I think it fits her perfectly.
"Somewhere over the rainbow...skies are blue...and the dreams that you dared to dream, really do come true..."
Mao Asada makes me believe that dreams really do come true.
1) Mao actually had one other exhibition program to “Sing, Sing, Sing,” choreographed by Lori Nichol. But she never skated it after the season started. Here it is at THE ICE.
2) Here's Mao on another silly talk show from April 2008. Download/watch it here. (From JapanSkates).