Akiko Suzuki – Blossoming and Unfading Sakura
By Vladislav Luchianov
I decided to continue the theme of the Japan’s figure skaters, started in the article about Mao Asada. This season many of skaters of this country impressed us with their wonderful performances. Akiko Suzuki is one of them.
In my opinion the comparison of this skater with the famous sakura is very appropriate. Sakura has many meanings in Japanese culture. One of them symbolizes feminine beauty and youthfulness. Akiko is only 27 years old, but when she easily skates on the ice performing complex technical elements, one might think that it’s a 16-18-years young girl.
In this season Akiko’s blossom has brought her the bronze medal at the World Championships in Nice. This season she also won the silver medal at 2011 Skate Canada with a combined total of 172.26 points and the gold medal at the 2011 NHK Trophy with a personal best score of 66.55 points for her short program and a combined total of 185.98 points, also a personal best. Suzuki’s placements qualified her for the 2011/2012 Grand Prix Final where she won the silver medal. At the 2011 Japan Figure Skating Championship she won the silver behind Mao Asada. Her new personal best she set in Tokyo, at the 2012 World Team Trophy receiving 67.51 points for her short program.
Note: At the time of this writing the competition at the World Team Trophy continues and Akiko has a time to set a new personal best in her free skate program as well as to change her current second place in ladies event.
Update, April 21. Akiko Suzuki won ladies competitions at the 2012 World Team Trophy with a new personal best score of 187.79 points overall.
Her figure skating career started in the distant 1998. It was not easy for this talented skater. She had lots of ups and downs. A successful career in the junior skating was interrupted by health problems due to which she had to take a break. But the flowers sometimes are subjects to similar influences. But only in order to become even stronger and more beautiful. The same happened to Akiko.
Her collection includes many different medals. No less impressive looks her technical arsenal and the ability to use it. Akiko can perform the most difficult elements of present ladies single skating. In her 27 years she performs such cascades as triple-triple with ease. Some coaches say that the triple cascades can be easy executed at the junior level and it’s sometimes very difficult to do them at the senior level. Akiko, like many of her teammates, completely refute such opinions.
No less beautiful are the images she creates on the ice. Her performances are really similar to the blossoming of a very beautiful flower, which spreading the beauty all around. A sense of music and its subject allows Akiko to interpret a variety of themes on the ice. Her Hungarian Rhapsody by Franz Liszt perfectly interprets the Hungarian folk theme as well as her Die Fledermaus by Johann Strauss completely shows us the general sense of that German story.
Besides the beauty, in the performances of Akiko we feel the strength, confidence and power. It feels like a force of nature when you are watching for a long time the Japanese sakura in full bloom. This power allows her to react calmly to the fact that her performances sometimes are underrated by skating referees, unfortunately.
Figure skating season is coming to the end. I don’t know about plans for the future of this beautiful skater, but like many others I really would like that Akiko continue to blossom.