Mai Mihara: “I wasn’t in good condition and I wondered if I could continue. But the strongest feeling inside me is wanting to give back though my skating to those who have supported me. So I thought I couldn’t give up yet.”

Posted on 2024-04-01 • No comments yet


Translation of Mai Mihara’s comments about this season, dealing with the injury and plans for the future.

original source: dd. 18th March by Takaomi Matsubara

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Team Mai Mihara FanPage (@team_maimihara)

Here’s a translation of her comments made in the interview with JPpress.

“The way I spent the season and what I had planned turned out to be different,” Mai started reflecting on the season.

In the end of the summer, before the start of the season she felt a pain in her ankle. “It was a kind of pain like twisting my toe when I jumped, but another part became painful. Although there are always some kind of pains, this was not something I had to take a long break to treat, so I thought it would heal if I took a short break when I first felt the pain.”

“At first, I was managing with patches and painkillers but the pain didn’t subsided, and I was unable to go to practice and didn’t know what to do. Though I thought that resting for a while would improve things, the days continued and the pain did not go away.” Mihara, who was “a bit scared to go to the hospital”, finally went for a consultation. “When I had it examined, I found out it wasn’t just a pain.” She had to withdraw from the Cup of China grand prix.

But decided to compete in her next grand prix. NHK Trophy. Sonoko Nakano, a coach, revealed after the competition that “she could barely walk until a week before (the competition).”

In the Japanese Nationals the following month, she improved her performance from the NHK Trophy and finished in fifth place. “One of the achievements was being able to improve the quality of my jumps in each practice, and being able to perform better than in the NHK Cup.” said Mihara.

After the Japanese Nationals Mai Mihara was selected for the Four Continents Championships. “When I went home and looked back on the Nationals, and checked, I had a strong feeling of ‘I’ll ramp it up from here,’ but as I practiced day by day, there was a bit of a gap between the performance I was aiming for and the condition of my body. I was determined to do a short, free skate better than at Nationals, but the pain started to develop during practice, and I couldn’t included the jumps as I wanted in the program.”

She describes that time as “not being able to fully enjoy the practice.”

“I knew very well that I needed practice to have a season like last season, where I was able to perform well and get results. Coach (Nakano) encouraged me with words like ‘If you can’t do it, you can quit.’ Usually, I can switch to ‘I have to work hard,’ but I took it negatively at that time…There was a time after the All-Japan and before the Four Continents Championship where I thought ‘Can I continue?'”

“When I was feeling good, I still had a lot of things I wanted to do, but when I was not in good condition, I wondered if I could continue, and that was tough,” she admitted.

Mai also shared how much the support of fans, coaches and her close ones means. “The strongest feeling inside me is wanting to give back to those who have supported me, friends, relatives, and grandmother who told me, ‘I get energy by watching you perform,’ and those who wrote me letters. Since the only way I can give back is through my skating, if it ends like this, I can’t give anything back, and I have a feeling, ‘Is it ok to end my decade-long skating like this?’ If I give out more than 100% in my performances, I think that’s where I can give back and I think that my life will also progress by achieving that, so I thought I couldn’t give up yet.”

“I’ve been taught countless things by my teachers since my young age, and they teach me every day, so I really owe it to my teachers. My feelings for those who support me have been increasing year by year, and really, I deeply appreciate each and every person who always watches my skating and who wants to support me, and I’m so happy. I want to give back to them through my skating life,” she continued.

“I had a weak body since I was a child, and I had many pains, and indeed, I had a period where I was ill and couldn’t skate, and I was away from skating for a long time. At that time, I had people who wrote letters to me, and my friends and teachers came to visit me when I was hospitalized. I still distinctly remember the moment when people asked me ‘Are you okay?’ when I was alone in the ward. They have supported me, and I might not have been here now and couldn’t have continued skating without that. It’s thanks to everyone who supports me that I can spend my days with skating.”

Before the Four Continents Championships she decided to go back to her old short program ‘Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence’. “When I talked to David (Wilson) who choreographed ‘Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence’, he told me, ‘You have gone through many difficult times, and I know the strength that you’ve got by crawling up from there many times. I want you to express that as your skating life in the program.’ So, I made a bold decision, considering it resonated with my current state.

In the Four Continents Championships, I was able to enjoy skating while reflecting on the thoughts I had while I was skating and the moments when I was working on this program.”

After finishing 7th at the Four Continents Championships, Mihara revealed that her right ankle injury was a stress fracture. “Mmy foot condition has greatly improved, so from there I started rehabilitation, training, and treatment so that I can take it to a complete recovery and not carry the pain into the next season. The pain when walking is disappearing, which makes me very happy.”

She also talked about her goals, saying “I’ve always wanted to be a top athlete, and I still feel that I haven’t reached there yet. I want to be a skater who can always give her maximum ability and potential. Plus, not getting injured is the most important thing for me as an athlete. For the few more years of active competition, I strongly feel that I want to take good care of my body, which I expect to become more and more difficult, and build a strong body.

I really love figure skating, when I watch the footage of when I was first able to skate as a child, I’m enjoying it more than anything else. Without forgetting that joy, I want to become the future that I imagined as a child, I want to give back to many people by thoroughly enjoying skating, which has made me strong.”


Related topics:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *