Friday, October 24, 2008

There's a quad in Ando's future

In Everett today, the biggest buzz around the ladies' practice -- once again -- was about Miki Ando and her quad Salchow. "I did it; didn't you see?" the 20-year-old skater said with a smile. "I will definitely try it in my long program." It is a familiar tale. The two-time Japanese champion, who won the world title in 2007, often hits the jump in practice only to delete it -- or worse, pop or fall on it -- in competition. At the 2008 ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championship in South Korea this February, she doubled it, gaining just .41 points for the move. [A clean quad Salchow is worth 10.3 points this season.] Most famously, at the 2006 Olympics in Turin, a hard fall on the jump helped lead to a disastrous 15th-place finish. This time, Ando hopes for a happy landing. She's even shed some ten pounds to help rotate the four-revolution jump. "I have been trying to lose weight," the skater said. "When I am at my best, my weight is 50 kilos [about 110 pounds]. Last year was not good. I weighed too much. Now my weight is best for my jumps." Ando executed a quadruple Salchow at the 2002 Junior Grand Prix Final when she was just 15 years old, and remains the only lady ever to have cleanly completed a quad in competition. Now, after a should injury forced her withdrawal from the 2008 World Figure Skating Championships in March, a successful summer's training has prompted her to return to the jump yet again. "In the spring I couldn't skate, because of my shoulder," she said. "Then I had my shoulder fixed in Japan and spent the summer training in the U.S. I went back to Japan to do some shows, which I liked very much.

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