Mao takes peek ahead to 2018 Winter Olympics


Three-time world champion Mao Asada says she has the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics on her mind, but for now is savoring a victory in her Grand Prix comeback at the Cup of China and looking forward to her next competition at the NHK Trophy later this month.

“My feelings are much more geared toward the next event but the Olympics are at the back of my mind,” Mao told reporters Sunday, a day after completing a successful return to the GP circuit after sitting out the 2014-2015 season.

Mao nailed her trademark triple axel in both the short and long programs in Beijing and led Japan to a one-two finish with a total of 197.48 points.

“Making my comeback is something that I had hoped for so I am really happy (that I won),” said the 25-year-old Vancouver Games silver medalist.

Mao will next skate in front of home fans at the NHK Trophy starting on Nov. 27 in Nagano.

At the Cup of China, Mao finished ahead of Rika Hongo, who had personal best scores in both the short and free skates to take second place.

“My aim was to make the podium so I am glad that I could finish in second,” said the 19-year-old Hongo.