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Mao Asada criticized after tough short program - and before stellar free skate

Sochi Olympics Figure Skating

Mao Asada of Japan reacts after completing her routine in the women’s free skate figure skating finals at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the 2014 Winter Olympics, Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

Ivan Sekretarev

One night after finishing 16th in the ladies’ short program following a fall on her triple Axel, Vancouver silver medalist Mao Asada has delivered a brilliant response in the free skate - scoring a career-high 142.71 (WATCH THE EVENT LIVE).

And one wonders what Yoshiro Mori, the former Japanese Prime Minister and new chairman for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics’ organizing committee, must be thinking at this moment.

Mori criticized Asada after her ill-fated short program yesterday, saying that she had a habit of “always falling at the most critical time” according to the Associated Press.

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He also said that Asada’s fall in the inaugural team figure skating competition, in which Japan finished fifth, was at cause for her short program problems: “The psychological damage (Asada) incurred must have remained,” Mori said.

Asada certainly didn’t look like a skater with “psychological damage” today inside the Iceberg Skating Palace. She’s smashed her previous career best free skate score of 136.33, which was set at the 2013 Grand Prix Japan.

Additionally, Mori had some words about Japan’s American-born ice dancing pair, Chris and Cathy Reed: “Although they are not good enough for the U.S. team in the Olympics, we included these naturalized citizens on the team,” he said.

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