Mao Asada, at age 15 she was the best women’s figure skater in the world, at age 19?

Less than two months before the 2006 Olympics, Mao Asada of Japan became the first woman to land two triple-axel jumps in the same program.

And Asada wasn’t a two-trick pony then.

She was, at age 15, the best women’s figure skater in the world, winner of the 2006 Grand Prix Final, the one about whom everyone said: “Mao — Wow!”

But she had to watch the last Olympics on television.

Asada had the bad luck of having been born 87 days too late to meet the International Skating Union’s minimum age requirement – 15 years old by July 1 of the preceding year — for the Winter Olympics.

Read the rest of the story: At 19, Japan’s Mao Asada already skating on thin ice

Olympics – Japan’s Noriaki Kasai holds top score in the qualifications for large hill ski jumping

Japan’s Noriaki Kasai had the top score in the qualifications for the large hill ski jumping event at the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Kasai posted a score of 143.5 to edge countrymate Daiki Ito, who finished at 142.6. A three-way tie for third at 138.0 featured Finland’s Matti Hautamaeki, the Czech Republic’s Antonin Hajek and Germany’s Andreas Wank.

The top 10 in the World Cup standings were already prequalified for Saturday’s competition, a group that includes normal hill gold medal winner Simon Ammann of Switzerland. Ammann will try to become the first man to win four individual gold medals in ski jumping, having captured double-gold at the 2002 Salt Lake Games.

Read more of the story: Japan’s Kasai tops qualifiers for large hill ski jump