2014 Winter Olympics

Mao Asada in 16th Place After Women's Figure Skating Single Short Program

SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 08:  Mao Asada of Japan competes in the Figure Skating Team Ladies Short Program during day one of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Iceberg Skating Palace on February 8, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images
Patrick ClarkeCorrespondent IFebruary 19, 2014

Reigning Olympic silver medalist and figure skating superstar Mao Asada currently sits in 16th place following Wednesday's ladies' short program at the Iceberg Skating Palace in Sochi.  

Asada fell during her routine, as Christine Brennan of USA Today notes, which impacted her score, forcing her to make up ground. Action will pick back up with the free skate on Thursday at 7 p.m. local time (10 a.m. ET).

Asada's routine puts her way off of the top, as Yuna Kim of South Korea, Adelina Sotnikova of Russia, Carolina Kostner of Italy and Gracie Gold of the United States top the leaderboard after the short program.

Ladies' Short Program Results
1Yuna KimSouth Korea74.92
2Adelina SotnikovaRussia74.64
3Carolina KostnerItaly74.12
4Gracie GoldUnited States68.63
5Julia LipnitskaiaRussia65.23
6Ashley WagnerUnited States65.21
7Polina EdmundsUnited States61.04
8Akiko SuzukiJapan60.97
9Mae Berenice MeiteFrance58.63
10Nathalie WeinzierlGermany57.63

The 23-year-old Japanese skater was one of the favorites to medal in ladies' singles and had high hopes for the podium since opting to mix up her routine. According to Associated Press sports reporter Rachel Cohen via ABCNews.com, Asada has placed an added emphasis on variety as opposed to difficulty: "At this Olympics, I want to show all my jumps."

But while Asada hopes to showcase her wide array of jumps in Sochi this February, she's gained immense confidence in her triple axel, which she'll continue to utilize moving forward, per Cohen:

"I don't think it's a big burden for me. I want to stay strong, because I want to do the jump. I really want to do the jump this time."

Asada's strong performance in the ladies' short program in the team competition during the first week in Sochi had also contributed to rising expectations. 

There's no doubt that Asada possesses the ideal combination of experience and skill to finish strong in the free program on Thursday. However, she'll have a massive battle, and will continue to compete against stiff competition, headlined by reigning Olympic gold medalist Yuna Kim of Korea, Gracie Gold of the United States and Russian prodigy Julia Lipnitskaia, among others. 

And despite the fact that Asada is only 23 and skating in her second Winter Games, it's obvious that Thursday's performance will go a long way in shaping her legacy after Wednesday's shocking result.

SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 08:  Mao Asada of Japan competes in the Figure Skating Team Ladies Short Program during day one of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Iceberg Skating Palace on February 8, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.  (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Im
Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

Another medal would have certainly added to Asada's impressive resume, which features two World Championships and a wealth of first-time accomplishments in the sport, including becoming the first woman to land two triple axel jumps in the same program.

At the same time, a disappointing performance could spell the end of Asada's Olympic journey. Unlike Grand Prix events and World Championships, the Games don't come around very often, and depending on how she responds on Thursday, 2014 could potentially be her last appearance on the sport's grandest stage or the continuation of a magical run. 


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