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

Meet the Reed Family – Olympic Ice Dancers

The Reed family celebrated. Suddenly, they had three Olympians, not just two, at the dinner table, but none were skating for the United States. Allison’s older siblings, Cathy, 22, and Chris, 20, were headed to Vancouver as ice dancers, too — for Japan. The ice dancing competition began with the compulsory dance Friday.

“I know it sounds a little crazy and confusing but we’re so happy to be at the Olympics together, no matter what country we’re representing,” Cathy Reed said of the three-Olympian family. “To be honest with you, this whole experience has been a little crazy.”

The Reed children were born in Kalamazoo, Mich. Their mother, Noriko, is from Japan. Their father, Robert Reed, was born and raised in Nebraska. While Chris and Cathy have obvious ties to Japan, Allison did not have any connection to Georgia before becoming one of its athletes.

Read more of the story: Three Siblings Carry Two Different Flags

Takahashi Wins first Olympic figure skating medal by a Japanese man

Four years ago at the Turin Games, Japanese figure skater Daisuke Takahashi wore Shizuka Arakawa’s gold medal around his neck as a prank at the athletes’ village. But he suddenly recalled a jinx of “being unable to win a gold medal if you put someone else’s around your neck,” and quickly took it off. That was when Takahashi set his bold target of winning Olympic gold.

No one doubted Takahashi would be a medal contender in Vancouver until he tore ligaments in his right knee in a training accident in October 2008.

Major knee surgery forced him to miss the entire 2008-2009 season, and Takahashi started practicing jumps only last June.

“When I was injured, I never thought I would be standing on this stage, so I am glad I have made it this far,” Takahashi said after winning bronze, the first-ever Olympic figure skating medal by a Japanese man.

Photo by: kamikazecactus

Japan at the Vancouver Olympics

As the third day of the Vancouver Olympics ends, Japan remains without medals. On the first day the Japanese team entered the Opening Ceremony full of smiles and waving both Japanese and Canadian flags. On the second and third day the highest ranking Japanese athlete was Aiko Uemura, who placed fourth in Ladies’ Moguls.

In tears after the event, Aiko Uemura, could only help but wonder to reporters, “Why do I keep climbing up one rank by one rank?” She had finished 5th in Turin in 2006, 6th in Salt Lake City in 2002, and 7th in Nagano in 1998.

Read the rest of the story: Japan in the Vancouver Olympics – first three days

Photo by: mcmay

Freestyle Skier Aiko Uemura narrowly misses medal coming in 4th at Vancouver Olympics

Japanese medal hope Aiko Uemura narrowly missed out on a place on the podium and finished in fourth place in the women’s freestyle moguls at the Vancouver Olympics on Saturday.

American Hannah Kearney won the gold medal with 26.63 points, followed by Turin Olympic champion Jennifer Heil (25.69) of Canada with the silver. Shannon Bahrke of the United States took the bronze, 0.75 ahead of world champion Uemura.

Uemura negotiated the course with solid turns and got the second highest mark for her air maneuvers for a score of 24.68, but it was not good enough to stave off the stiff competition at Cypress Mountain.

”I don’t know why I keep going up just one rank each time”, said Uemura, who had finished in seventh, sixth and fifth in her previous three Olympic appearances. ”There are too many little things to hark on about my performance. I am disappointed but satisfied that I could ski well.”

Read More of the story: Olympics: Freestyle moguls hope Uemura misses out on medals in 4th

He’s a snowboarder! Why Apologize? Kokubo?

Upon arrival for the Vancouver Winter Olympics, the Japan Ski Association promptly banned 21 year-old snowboarder Kazuhiro Kokubo for not properly wearing his suit-and-tie Olympic outfit to the proper specifications. Coming off the plane, Kokubo had loosened his tie, untucked his shirt and lowered his pants, which to be perfectly honest, was a better match for his signature dreadlocks than the standard look.

So Sorry!!! Come on people he’s a snowboarder get over it. He no more wanted to say sorry for anything than he wanted to look the part. He’s just fitting the bill. It comes with territory.

Kokubo knows more about the sport that he’s an Olympic hopeful in than anyone else. Let him be…cool.

Read more of the story: CNN