Takahashi says quad vital to closing gap on champion Chan

by Gus Fielding

Kyodo

Daisuke Takahashi has admitted the high-octane quadruple jump is the key missing ingredient he needs to narrow the widening chasm that separates him from Canadian Patrick Chan.

After slumping to fifth place after the short program, Olympic bronze medalist and 2010 world champion Takahashi bounced back with his best free skate of the season to win the silver medal at the Grand Prix Final on Saturday.

But Chan still finished over 11 points clear of the 25-year-old Japanese skater he used to idolize, despite botching two quads and falling on a triple en route to defending his title.

“I made only one mistake (on the quad in the free program) and he made three on his jumps but I still wasn’t able to beat him so that shows you I need to have more quality in my jumps,” Takahashi told reporters Sunday.

“He (Chan) is the complete package and his skating is of the highest quality. He never looks tired in the second half of his skate and has so much power.”

“In an ideal world I would be able to generate speed in the second half of my skate. I have got confidence in my triple jumps. I just have to try and make the quad in both the short and the free programs,” he said.

Takahashi was speaking before the closing exhibition at the GP Final overshadowed by the death of the mother of women’s former two-time world champion Mao Asada.

Carolina Kostner won the women’s title in Mao’s absence. Akiko Suzuki finished second.

Mao pulled out of the competition on Thursday and made a frantic dash back to Japan after learning that her mother Kyoko was critically ill. Kyoko, 48, died early Friday morning before Mao could make it back, prompting an outpouring of condolences from the figure skating fraternity.

Takahashi admitted he is unsure how to deal with the issue when he next meets Mao in Japan.

“Putting it to the back of your mind when you are skating is one thing but I am not sure how I should act when I meet her next time,” said Takahashi.

“I don’t want to be misunderstood when I say that people probably don’t want to think about this. Everyone knows how tough this is for her and I don’t really know what to say. Hopefully being together with us rather than being alone will help her try and put it out of her mind. Figure skating fans want to see her back skating and I think that is what her mother would have wanted.”

Mao vows to skate on

Kyodo

Mao Asada, whose mother died last week after a lengthy battle with liver cirrhosis, will compete at the upcoming national championships in Osaka, her management agency IMG said Monday.

Mao is trying to cope with the death of her mother Kyoko Asada, who passed away at the age of 48 at a Nagoya hospital early Friday before her 21-year-old daughter could reach her bedside.

“My mother would rejoice that I’m determined to do what I must do as I aim to achieve my dreams for the future,” Mao said in a statement. IMG said a funeral, which was only attended by relatives, was held the same day.

Mao had pulled out of the Grand Prix Final in Quebec City early Thursday and rushed back to Japan after learning her mother was in critical condition.

She was inconsolable after receiving the news of her mother’s passing in a text message from her father Toshiharu after arriving at Narita airport on Friday evening.

“When I got to Narita and checked my email, I had a text from my father that said, ‘Mom couldn’t make it.’ And I just cried and cried. I still cannot believe this has happened, but I feel that my mother is looking over me now even closer than before. I cannot thank her enough,” she said.

A resurgent Mao had been hoping to complete her comeback with victory in her first Grand Prix Final appearance since 2008.