IFS AUGUST 2016: After a comeback year that was full of highs and lows, everything finally came together for Japanese superstar Mao Asada at her final competition of the season.
It had been a tough year, but Asada soldiered on. She had high hopes for a good result at the World Championships, but things did not get off to a stellar start. The short program had its share of technical issues, which left her in a distant ninth heading into the free skate. It was not the opening for which she and her legions of global fans had hoped.
Since she stepped off the ice at the 2014 World Championships in Saitama, Japan, life for Carolina Kostner has been turbulent to say the least. Instead of basking in the glory of a successful season that culminated with a third place finish at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, Kostner became embroiled in a scandal that could have effectively ended her competitive career and tarnished her legacy.
Daisuke Takahashi broke the news of his retirement from competitive skating at a press conference in Okayama, Japan, in October 2014. He said he was moving to the United States to search for a new goal in life. But that was only part of the story. Skating had been a central part of his life for 20 years, but the Japanese star was burnt out and needed a change. He quietly stepped away from the limelight without any further fanfare.
In any other country, Anna Pogorilaya probably would be a national champion with skating star status. But not so in her native Russia, where the competition in the ladies’ category is currently the toughest in the world. Just making the national team is a challenge in itself. Pogorilaya has been to three consecutive World Championships, but she still sits in the shadow of Evgenia Medvedeva, Elizaveta Tuktamysheva, Adelina Sotnikova and Julia Lipnitskaia.
Daniel Samohin broke new ground for his native Israel last season, closing it out in spectacular fashion with a victory at the World Junior Championships in Debrecen, Hungary, in March. Samohin’s win was historical. He is the first skater from his nation to have ever won a Championship title at any level.