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Three-time world champion and Olympic medalist Mao Asada announced her retirement from figure skating last April.
The Japanese skater, well-known for her triple axel / ˈæksəl / jump, posted on her blog about her decision to leave figure skating for good. Asada cited two main reasons for her retirement.
The first is a knee injury that has been causing her pain this season, and the second is the change in her form. According to Asada, she had not performed as well as she had hoped after she took a break from skating in 2014. The 26-year-old skater wrote in her blog that she had lost her will to compete following the 2016 Japan Figure Skating Championships where she finished 12th place.
Asada, who is a native of Nagoya, started ice skating at a very young age. When she was only 12, she was able to do her first successful triple axel, which is considered one of the most difficult moves in figure skating. She came in first place in the 2005 Grand Prix / pri / Figure Skating Final held in Tokyo, Japan, and won her first World Championships in 2008. Asada took home the silver medal at the 2010 Winter Olympics held in Vancouver, Canada.
The news of her retirement shocked fans both in Japan and around the world. Her press conference was covered by hundreds of local and international media personnel. Celebrities, athletes, and representatives from the Japanese government all gave their warmest appreciation and gratitude to her for being one of the most celebrated figure skaters of the 21st century.