The Yomiuri Shimbun SOCHI—When Mao Asada won her first All-Japan Championship figure skating title in 2006 at 16, the only thing she thought about during her program was “nothing but making the jumps.”
Seven years later, the 23-year-old has different thoughts. After experiencing ups and downs during this period, Asada skates with the intention of expressing various emotions: joy, anger, sorrow.
The music Asada is skating to for Wednesday’s short program is Chopin’s Nocturne No. 2, which she used during her breakout 2006-07 season.
Asada’s Canadian choreographer, Lori Nichol, described the piano piece as beautiful and sweet, but at the same time melancholic and delicate. It fits Asada more than any other music, Nichol said.
Asada said she chose the music again for this season because “I want to show people how I've matured.”
When Asada used the nocturne in the 2006-07 season, she was a sensation. Not only did she win the All-Japan Championship, but she also finished second in her first ISU World Figure Skating Championships.
However, Asada said she hardly noticed anything. She did not think about the interpretation of the music she used and did not feel the difficulty or depth of figure skating. All she thought about was landing jumps and achieving good results in competitions—which was in a sense a happy time for her.
Many in Japan expected Asada to win a gold medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. Although Asada won silver, she shed tears in disappointment, as she was not satisfied with her performance. In 2011, her mother died.
After going through these experiences, Asada has become able to express emotions in her skating, Nichol said.
In the past, Asada recalled the face of her dog to make her smile during skating. Now she does not need such devices.
“All I have to do is open my mind and express the feelings I have during skating,” Asada said before Wednesday’s short program. “I want to perform a love-filled Nocturne.”