VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Miki Ando was overcome with a mix of emotions after placing fifth in the women’s figure skating competition at the Vancouver Olympics.
Bettering her 15th-place finish from four years ago in Turin, Ando believes that that the third time could be the charm for her when the Winter Games travel to Sochi, Russia, in four years.
“Wouldn’t it be nice to be third-time lucky for me,” she said with a wry smile, when asked about the possibility of competing.
The 22-year-old believes she has gained in maturity what she might have lost in terms of technical ability.
The quadruple jump that Ando used to be synonymous for, as well as the triple-triple combination, which helped her win the 2007 world championships, are no longer parts of her repertoire.
Fourth after the short program, Ando put on a powerful display in the free skate to music from “Cleopatra,” playing the role of the Egyptian queen to the hilt while wearing a shimmering emerald green and gold costume.
But she stood miles apart from the likes of gold-medal winner Kim Yu Na and compatriot Mao Asada, who took the silver. American Mirai Nagasu, whose parents are both Japanese, beat her into fourth.
Ando cleanly landed her triple lutz-double loop combination and was nearly flawless with a total of 11 jumps. Although she lost speed for being overly cautious, she delighted the crowd en route to a season-best 188.86 points.
Ando’s coach Nikolai Morozov said he was hoping to bring out her maturity over the past four years.
As the only woman to have successfully landed a quad in competition, Ando had been hellbent on performing the jump but it was such stubbornness that led to such a dismal result when she fell to the ice in Turin.
“In Turin, I finished with the feeling of having reached my dream of competing in an Olympics, but I had no sense of accomplishment.”
Ando now realizes that figure skating is much more about expressiveness and not only about wowing the judges with technique.
“I am more than halfway satisfied. I believe I have grown in my own way compared with four years ago.”