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Japanese Ladies Press Conference - 2014 Worlds

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Seán Gillis

The three Japanese ladies who will participate at this World Championships held a press conference earlier today.

Q: To all three ladies - what are your goals for these Championships?

Asada: This World Championships is the last competition of the season, so I want to be able perform my programs as best as I can. My goal is to put together both a short and a free that I can be satisfied with which I was unable to do at the Olympics.

Suzuki: This World Championships will be the last competition of my career. With everything that I have experienced in skating up to now, I want to put all my emotions into my performances here and end my skating career in the best possible way.

Murakami: I was really disappointed at the Olympics that I got too nervous and wasn't able to skate as well as I would have liked. When the Olympics were over I felt strongly that I wanted to redeem myself at the World Championships. Here I want skate a good short and free and end the season well.

Q: Some of the top foreign skaters will not compete here. Competitions after the Olympics are said to be difficult, in terms of emotions. After the Olympics, how did you prepare yourself for this event?

Asada: The week after the Olympics I was physically exhausted from the competition and with the jetlag. However, from then on my thoughts began to turn towards the World Championships and I was able to train as normal before arriving in Saitama.

Suzuki: I had a problem with my leg right after the Olympics. I went to the doctor soon after coming home. I asked the doctor what his advice would be so that I'd be able to participate in the World Championships. I was told that it would take two weeks to recover following surgery, but that wouldn't give me enough time to be ready for Worlds. So I rested for a week and resumed training after that. During that time I was also able to relax mentally. The condition of my leg has improved. I was able to build towards this event from there. I released the tension and started from zero. Four years ago after the Olympics, I went to the World Championships feeling slightly demotivated, but this time as it's my last competition I wanted to be prepared without any regrets. I didn't do a lot of training, but I think I was able to practice well.

Murakami - After the competition at the Olympics till I returned home (I didn't skate in the exhibition), I was able to rest a lot. There were many things I had to reflect on after the Olympics, so I trained hard after I came back to Japan. Before I realized it was time for the World Championships.

Q: To Asada and Murakami - what are your thoughts going into the short?

Asada - I was upset with my short at the Olympics and doing something I wasn't able to take back. This is a very important event for me. I want to use all my experience to skate as well as I can here.

Murakami - I am always more nervous before the short than the free and I get tight, so this time I don't want to repeat how anxious I was at the Olympics and skate as relaxed as I do for the free and skate well.

Q: After coming home, when you reviewed your performances at the Olympics what stood out?

Asada: (Uncomfortably laughs)

Suzuki: During the team and individual event at the Olympics when my leg was hurting and I was feeling weak, my coach pushed me hard. Many people congratulated me when I got home and my coach told me that I did well under the circumstances. My coach normally is quite strict with me. I always thought "You don't understand how much this hurts", but he told me that it was hard for him to look on and see me in so much pain and that if he could he would endured the pain on my behalf. I then understood how much he had been looking out for me. When I was feeling low, he helped make me feel stronger.

Asada: In Sochi when it was all done, my coach and I didn't really talk about the competition and we spent our time there just switching off. When we got back to Japan, we didn't really talk about the Olympics. On our way back from the Olympics, my coach just told me to reset my feelings, take a break and start again.

Murakami: After the competition in Sochi, my coaches Machiko (Yamada) and Mihoko (Higuchi) told me I should be happy to be in this place and there was a meaning to just being here and that, even though my performances weren't good, I tried my hardest. I put all my energy towards these World Championships when I got home.

Q: To Asada - I heard that you had some trouble with your blades before the short at the Olympics. Aside from your physical well-being, how is your form?

Asada: I skated here today and yesterday and the ice is great. I feel like each day I'm skating more like I normally do at Chukyo (her home rink). I have practice again tomorrow and I want to be ready to be at my very best on the day of the short.

Q: To all three - What is your theme or goal for this competition?

Asada: I don't have a theme at the moment. At the Olympics, I was able to skate a free where I felt I'd done my best, so I would like to skate as well here in both the short and free as I did in the free in Sochi.

Suzuki: I want to be able to give everything I have and put it into my performances here.

Murakami: As I said before, I was disappointed with the Olympics and I want to redeem myself here.

Q: When you get nervous before you perform, how do you control your mental state?

Asada: I get very nervous, but I try to calm myself. It's not good to be too relaxed though. I try to do everything like I always do. After that it's all about concentrating.

Suzuki: In my 22 years as a skater, there has never been a competition where I haven't been nervous. Before, being nervous meant that my body wouldn't move in the way I wanted to, but my coach told me that nerves can be a good thing and help you perform better. So I try to turn my nerves now into a positive thing.

Murakami: I'm not the type of person who is able to think positively. My coach gives me a hug which usually helps to release my nerves. Mostly I'm very nervous before I skate, so I tell myself to stay calm. When I have a bad skate, it's always when I've been very nervous.

Q: To Suzuki - This is your last competition.

Suzuki: I took a photo at my last practice in Nagoya as a souvenir. I'm making sure each of these last moments are special. I want to enjoy each and every moment.

Q: To all three - What were you focusing on today in practice?

Asada: The amount of time we have to practice is less than usual. So with that in mind it's all about checking how your body is moving and checking each and every jump. I won't be able to practice the short in the main rink again after today, so that was what I concentrated on today.

Suzuki: Yesterday was the first time I skated in the main rink and the ice and I didn't get along well yesterday. Today I tried to get myself in tune with the ice.

Murakami: I've been feeling great in practice since I've arrived here. I tried maintain this feeling, to run through all my jumps and figure out how I would use the rink.


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