Asada to meet Suzuki in Osaka
By Vladislav Luchianov
For the reigning Japan’s national champion Mao Asada the main rival at the upcoming 2013 Four Continents Championships will be her teammate Akiko Suzuki.
The history of the rivalry between these two figure skaters is rather large. They intersected many times in various competitions at various levels. Their next meeting will be in Osaka, next week.
Despite the clear existence of two main favorites of the tournament, both skaters should not relax. Their countrywoman Kanako Murakami as well as Gracie Gold of USA and Canadian raising star Kaetlyn Osmond are ready to change at any moment predictions of who are the real favorites.
Mao Asada, in the first half of this season, took only one place in her competitions – the first one. She won gold at her two Grand Prix events, the 2012 Cup of China and the 2012 NHK Trophy, qualifying her to the 2012/2013 Grand Prix Final. Asada finished first at the Grand Prix Final, placing first in both the short program and free skating. In December she won Japan national championships.
Her programs are always distinguished not only by high technique but also by beautifully chosen and performed choreography. Her free skating program of this season – Swan Lake by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky – is not an exception.
Russian classical music is always very difficult to embody on the ice. To embody the music of Tchaikovsky is doubly difficult. In this case I mean the classic Tchaikovsky, not a variety of modern interpretations of his music with a distorted sense of his works, like some movie directors do.
Having an impeccable musical taste, Mao Asada made the choice in favor of that Swan Lake, which people around the globe admire not for the first century. Her dress, which undoubtedly is one of the most beautiful costumes of this season, is also perfectly matches the music and its theme.
Mao interprets images of her program deeper and more precisely with each new skating performance. It is very possible that at the coming Four Continents Championships we’ll see something that then can be called a masterpiece of our sport.
Her rival Akiko Suzuki in the choice of music is also not afraid of difficulties. Her free skating program, O(from Cirque du Soleil) by Benoit Jutras, is also rich of complex images that this very talented skater embodies on the ice. The same can be said of her short program – Kill Bill, choreographed by Anjelika Krylova. This can be called as very ambitious and successful choice.
Unfortunately, in this season many newly found that Akiko’s performances very often remain undervalued. It is difficult to say what exactly is causing this underestimation. One thing is clear – in many competitions she received unfairly low scores.
For the Grand Prix series of this season, Akiko received the same assignments as in the previous season. She took the second place at the 2012 Skate Canada and NHK Trophy, qualifying for the GP Final. In the Final she took the bronze. In December 2012, Akiko said that the next season would be her last one. At the 2012 Japan national championships she finished fourth.
Fortunately, for Suzuki figure skating means much more than places and scores. The public is well aware of it and always very warmly welcomes this athlete.
I’m sure that both skaters performing next week on home ice will give the audience a real holiday and will join the great atmosphere, which is always present at the events held in Japan.
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