Asada Mao (浅田真央) is very popular and is credited with increasing the popularity of figure skating in Japan. She began to draw attention while still on the junior circuit and is a household name in Japan, known by the affectionate nickname “Mao-chan”.
During the 2014 Winter Olympics, Asada Mao became the most discussed and mentioned athlete of the Olympics on the social networking website Twitter.
By the way, in 2011, Asada launched her own kimono brand named MaoMao. And in January 2012, Asada cancelled the release of a book on her skating career; she stated, “The way the book was advertised was different from what I had in mind.”
Asada has appeared in many variety television shows as well as in commercials. She and her dog Aero, named after Aero chocolates, have been featured in chocolate commercials in Japan.
Asada’s sponsors include Coca Cola, Itoham Foods, Kao, Lotte, Nestle, Oji Paper Company, Olympus Corporation, Omron, Sato Pharmaceutical, United Airlines, Weider, nippon Life Insurance Company, and Weavajapan 🙂
During the 2010 Winter Olympics, a popular Vancouver Japanese street food vendor, Japadog, named a hot dog after Asada called the Mao Dog. Similarly, a local sushi store created a sushi roll and named it the Mao Roll after Asada.
After Asada’s silver medal win, Japanese dollmaker Kyugetsu created a Mao Asada hina doll in celebration of her efforts.
In December 2013, chrysanthemum farmers in the Ryukyu Islands named a new crop of chrysanthemums “Mao Orange” after the colour of Asada’s short program dress from the 2012–13 season.
On April 8, 2014, Asada’s exhibition named “Smile” opened at Takashimaya department store in Tokyo’s Nihonbashi district.
This drew more than 10,000 visitors on its first day, outperforming every other event opening at the establishment for the past 10 years.
The exhibition includes a collection of 30 costumes that were worn by Asada and a display of medals she has won over the years, among them the silver she scooped up at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics.
On July 5, 2014, Asada made her debut as a reporter for the long-running travel program “Sekai Fushigi Hakken!”. For this documentary, she traveled Austria, Slovakia and Hungary for eight days to find the origin of figure skating.
In March 2015, Asada made her debut as DJ host for her weekly radio show program “Mao Asada’s Nippon Smile” and aired in TBS radio from March 2015 to June 2015.
She is also a big fan of Japanese pop star Ayumi Hamasaki, and was seen congratulating her on her 10th Anniversary.
Asada is frequently referred to in French media as the ‘goddaughter’ of figure skater Philippe Candeloro, who has called himself her ‘godfather’.
Why did the Olympic skater weep after hailed performance?
Almost as soon as Japanese figure skater Mao Asada finished her powerful free skate in long program, she began to cry.
Full, body-heaving sobs. Even though she knew she wasn’t in the running for a medal in the 2014 Sochi Olympics before she took the ice today, the two-time world champion’s performance was hailed as excellent, earning her a career – high score.
Was the 23-year-old — who has said this would be her last Olympics — weeping with joy, relief, or something else?
Actually, a short answer is stress. Asada surely had reason to be feeling it. Aside from the extreme pressure of skating in the Olympics, she’d been criticized by the head of her own country’s Olympic organizing committee — a former prime minister of Japan, in fact — for stumbling in her short program.
There was a lot of pressure on her and she came through with good performance after hours and days of tension building. That could easily produce tears.
Studies have shown that people who experience more stress are more easily moved to tears, which is why athletes can often be found weeping after their events are over, no matter what the results.
In fact, figure skating is famous for the “kiss-and-cry” zone where skaters wait for their scores. Sudden crying like Asada’s happens in all kinds of situations.
A study showed that the parasympathetic nervous system, which includes the vagus nerve and controls such things as heart rate, is more intensely activated during stress and displays of emotion.
Immediately after crying, however, respiration, a marker of vagus activation, returned to normal. In other words, crying released the stress 😃