Japan's Asada wavering on retirement from competition

Tue Feb 25, 2014 1:29am EST
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By Elaine Lies

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese figure skater Mao Asada, who rebounded from a disastrous short program at the Sochi Olympics to gain the best score of her career in the free skate, is now wavering on whether to retire from competition.

Asada, who had been expected to be a top prospect for gold at Sochi, tumbled to 16th in the short program after falling and an overall lackluster performance.

She finished sixth after a strong free skate that left her in tears at the conclusion of her competition.

Russia's Adelina Sotnikova took gold and long time rival Kim Yuna of South Korea won silver.

"I was really depressed, my feelings were as low as they could go after the short program, but after that I still had to skate the free," Asada told a news conference in Tokyo on Tuesday after returning from Sochi.

"Of course I was anxious and scared, but I was able to overcome that to give my best performance ever ... I felt so good I should have been smiling, but some of the previous day's feelings lingered, so I wept."

Asada, who won silver at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics and rebuilt her skating from scratch over the last four years in order to challenge South Korea's Kim for gold, said last year she would retire from competition after Sochi.

On Tuesday, though, she said she was taking part in the Figure Skating World Cup next month in Japan to try to atone for Sochi and to express her gratitude to the nation.   Continued...

Japan's Mao Asada performs during the Figure Skating Gala Exhibition at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, February 22, 2014. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson