Mao receives lifetime achievement award

Kyodo

Mao Asada was presented with a special lifetime achievement award at the Japan Skating Federation’s annual awards ceremony Thursday.

It was the first award of its kind given out by the JSF. Mao, the 2010 Vancouver Olympics silver medalist and three-time world champion, announced her retirement from figure skating April 10.

“I’m overcome with joy by this honor,” Mao said. “I used to always compete with a challenger’s mentality, which is what I hope to do in my life from here on. I never want to be afraid of making mistakes; (I want to) keep moving forward.”

Mao will begin practicing next month for ice shows in July and August. While it remains to be seen whether she will skate professionally, Mao said she wants to open her own skating rink somewhere in the future.

Also at the ceremony, world champion Yuzuru Hanyu and Nao Kodaira, unbeaten in women’s 500-meter races during the past World Cup speedskating season, were named the outstanding male and female skaters, respectively.