There is a sunny end to most stormy times. This rings true for Mao Asada.
She began the season as the co-favorite for Olympic Gold and over the course of the season nearly self-imploded.
But she clawed back! Someone on FormSpring asked me what I liked about Mao Asada as a person...I love that she has a never quit mentality. She pulled herself together to win Japanese Nationals. Then she came from behind to win the Four Continents Cup.
By the time the Olympics rolled around we almost believed again that she could challenge Kim Yu-Na who was, by this point, the overwhelming favorite. She wasn't able to catch her but she gave it a good shot (and three triple axels in the process!) especially considering the rough patch she went through.
The clouds broke in Torino at the World Championships when she came back out on top. And you could see, quite literally, the stress come off her shoulders.
Now the reigning World Champion is bumping elbows with Emperor Akihito at the spring garden party at Akasaka Imperial Garden in Tokyo. She's even made it into the Guinness World Record Book! Talk about zero to hero.
Looking forward to next season, apparently a new coach is in the works (whew!). Hopefully we've seen the last of Maoasova Asadakova. In a Quick Poll, by a slim margin respondents thought Nikolai Morozov was the best choice for Asada. I'm going to go on record and officially disagree with that choice...I say avoid the Russian style for now. I have to admit I love the irony a choice like Brian Orser would represent (In Vancouver he did call her 'fiesty')...could go a long way towards to rival fan faction burying the hatchet but I'm not holding my breath.