Mao Shimada: “I believe triple axel and quad are necessary to compete on the world stage. Right now, I’m not doing it just to win competitions but to prepare for the Olympics or Worlds.”

Posted on 2023-09-21 • No comments yet


Translation of the article and interview with Mao Shimada.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Mao Shimada (@maoshimada1030)

source: dd. 20th September 2023 by Yumeko Yamamoto

Mao Shimada, 14 years old, had an outstanding debut in her first year in the Junior category last season. She remained undefeated in the Junior Grand Prix (GP) series, including the Final, won the World Junior Championships, and even secured a spot on the podium at the Japanese Nationals, finishing third behind Kaori Sakamoto and Mai Mihara.

On September 15 and 16, at the Junior GP Series Osaka event, which marked Japan’s hosting this event for the first time in seven years, her participation garnered significant attention as she is considered the next generation’s ace in Japanese women’s skating.

For her short program (SP), she used Lady Gaga’s “Americano” and showcased her sharp side in a pants-style costume. She executed a flawless double axel (as triple axels are not allowed in Junior SP), a 3T+3T combination, and a perfect triple lutz. Her spins and steps also earned level 4, the highest possible.

Shimada reflected on the pressure of competing in a tournament held in Japan, saying, “I felt a little nervous because there was a lot of support, and I wanted to deliver a good performance. But I think I did a really good job.”

Being spotlighted as the reigning queen of Junior skating can sometimes be pressuring. However, Shimada shared, “I try not to think too much about last season’s results and approach this season with a fresh perspective on new stages.”

Mao Shimada, who will turn 15 in October this year, has set her sights on the Olympics as her primary goal. Currently, she is ineligible to participate in the 2026 Milan Olympics due to age restrictions (athletes must be 17 or older by July 1, 2025, to compete). Shimada stated, “Winning the World Junior Championships is not my ultimate goal. I consider it a stepping stone towards achieving my highest goal. So, I’m looking to make that transition.”

Shimada has been continuously challenging herself with triple axels and quadruple jumps in her free skate, driven by similar reasons. When asked about her approach to these jumps, she said, “I believe they are absolutely necessary to compete on the world stage. Right now, I’m not doing it just to win competitions but to prepare for the Olympics or World Championships. Therefore, I’ve decided to take on the challenge even when things aren’t going well.”

Moreover, her namesake and inspiration, Mao Asada, who continually pushed the limits with her attempts at the triple axel, has played a role in shaping Shimada’s persistent attitude towards challenges.

In her free skate, which incorporated this impressive move, Mao Shimada executed the triple axel beautifully. Although she fell on the quadruple toe loop due to an under-rotation, she continued to attack the elements. Following the fall, she executed all her jumps flawlessly, and her fast spins, which she had practiced extensively, had the audience in great excitement.

Shimada mentioned receiving words of encouragement from her coach before the competition, like “overcome the pressure” and “you can do it.” Her approach to handling pressure is reflected in her statement: “Even when I feel nervous during a competition, I practice so much that I believe I can do it.” Her unwavering dedication to high goals is one of her strengths.

Her response to the interview, where she expressed her desire to show that she has grown compared to the previous year, reflects how she has become more confident. We look forward to her continued success as she maintains her strong determination and hard work.


Related topics:

Leave a Reply

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