Monday, August 22, 2011

Miki Ando

Miki Ando (born December 18, 1987) is a Japanese figure skater. She is the 2007 and 2011 World Champion, 2011 Four Continents Champion, 2004 World Junior Champion, and a three-time (2004, 2005 & 2010) Japanese National Champion. Ando is the first and only female skater to complete a quadruple jump successfully in competition. She accomplished this at the 2002–2003 Junior Grand Prix Final in The Hague. Ando was born in Nagoya, Japan in 1987. Her father died when she was eight years old. In 2006, she joined Toyota and also entered Chukyo University as an adult learner, from which she graduated in March 2011. Ando learned English during her time training in the U.S. She began skating in 1996 at the age of eight. She soon turned to Yuko Monna whose students at that time included Mao Asada and Mai Asada. Beginning in the 2000–2001 season, she was coached by Nobuo Satō, and her program already featured a triple lutz-triple loop. In the 2001–2002 season she won the Japan Junior Championships, as well as the Junior Grand Prix Final. She also earned bronze medals at the Japanese Championships (senior) and at the Junior Worlds. Ando made history the next season at the 2002-2003 Junior Grand Prix Final, when she landed a quadruple salchow and became the first female skater to land a quadruple jump of any kind in a competition. She remains the only lady ever to perform this feat. That season, she defended her national Junior crown, and took silver at the World Junior Championships. Ando was prominent in 2003–2004, winning all her junior games including the Junior Grand Prix Final, her third consecutive national junior title, and the Junior Worlds. She also won the Japan Championships (senior) and placed 4th at her first senior World Championships.

Miki Ando Exotic Style Performance

Miki Ando Creative Style and Beautiful Costume

Miki Ando Serious Expression With Wonderful Costume

The 2004–2005 season was her first full season as a senior skater. She won two medals in the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating series and qualified for the Grand Prix Final, where she placed fourth. She won her second national senior title and placed sixth at 2005 Worlds. Ando relocated to the United States to train with Carol Heiss Jenkins in preparation for the 2005–2006 season which included the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino. The season began well, when she won the silver medal at the 2005 Cup of Russia, but finished 4th at the 2005 NHK Trophy, and narrowly qualified for the Grand Prix Final, where she placed 4th. At Japanese Nationals, she placed 6th. Ando was named to the Japanese Olympic team in accordance with the criteria that were to include two seasons into consideration. At the Olympics, she placed 15th, after falling three times in her free skate, once on her quad attempt. She was not placed on the team to the World Championships the following month. Ando changed coaches again for the 2006–2007 season. Training with her new coach, Nikolai Morozov, Ando made a strong showing in the 2006–2007 season, winning the 2006 Skate America and taking silver at the 2006 Trophée Eric Bompard. She qualified for the Grand Prix Final, where she placed 5th. It was later revealed that Ando, along with the rest of the Japanese team, competed in Saint Petersburg while suffering stomach flu. At the Japanese Nationals, Ando dislocated her shoulder while performing a spin in her free skate, but skated on to place second overall behind Mao Asada. At the 2007 Worlds, Ando placed second in both the short program and the free skate, and scored a total of 195.09 points to win the World Championship by less than one point over Asada. Ando set new personal bests in both the short program and the free skate, and a new personal best total score. She was named one of Vogue Japan's "Women of the Year for 2007," and received six other awards including the "most valuable mention" from the Japanese Olympic Committee. Ando's 2007–2008 season began with a silver medal at the 2007 Skate America, but went down to 4th place finish at the 2007 NHK Trophy, where she fell three times in her free skate. She did not qualify for the Grand Prix Final. At the Japan Championships, she won the free skate to place 2nd overall, again behind Asada. In the following February, Ando competed for the first time at Four Continents, where she attempted a quadruple Salchow, but popped it to a double. She won the bronze medal. At Worlds, Ando was 8th after the short program, and was forced to withdraw during her free skate due to a leg muscle strain she had been suffering since that morning.

Miki Ando Playing Ice Skating With Sing a Song

Miki Ando and Her Friends

In the 2008–2009 Grand Prix season, Ando placed third after Kim Yu-Na and Yukari Nakano at Skate America and placed 2nd, behind Kim, again, at the Cup of China. At the Grand Prix Final, Ando stayed on her foot after an attempted quadruple salchow in her free skate program, the first time in competition since 2004, though the rotations were not considered enough and the jump was downgraded. Despite her last place finish, Ando stated that she was very happy with her performance, and that she would continue to work on her quad salchow. At the Japan Championships, she was in 3rd place after the short program. During the free skate warm-up, she collided with Fumie Suguri, and injured her knee. She placed 3rd place, and earned one of three spots to represent Japan at the 2009 World Championships. Before the event, the Japanese skating federation wanted her to leave Morozov. There, she won the bronze medal with a total of 190.38 after placing fourth in the short program and second in the free program. Ando represented Japan in a team competition, 2009 ISU World Team Trophy, in Tokyo, Japan, where she placed 3rd at the short program, 6th at the free skate and 5th overall. Team Japan was placed 3rd, winning the bronze medal. Japan Skating Federation set, as one of its criteria for choosing the skaters to send to the 2010 Winter Olympics, the highest Japanese medal finisher in the Grand Prix Final. With this in mind, Ando competed at Rostelecom Cup, where she placed 3rd in the short program and won the free skate to win the competition overall. At the NHK Trophy, she placed 2nd in both the short program and the free skate, which placed her 1st overall. The two wins qualified Ando for the 2009–2010 Grand Prix Final, which was held in Tokyo. At this GP Final, she scored 66.20 points in the short program and was placed in 1st at that segment of the competition, 0.56 points ahead of second place finisher Yu-Na Kim. In the free skate, she placed in 2nd scoring 119.74 points, and winning the silver medal overall behind Kim but ahead of the bronze medalist Akiko Suzuki, which made Ando earn a place to the 2010 Winter Olympics. At the Japanese Championships, Ando placed 4th overall. At the 2010 Winter Olympics, the short program took place on February 23, where Ando executed a triple lutz-triple loop combination, however the triple loop was downgraded. She earned levels 3 and 4 on spins. She scored 64.76, ending in fourth in this segment. In the free skate on 25th, Ando placed sixth with 124.10 points and settled for fifth overall with 188.86 points. Although she originally intended to miss the 2010-11 season, she changed her mind following the Olympics. Ando competed at the 2010 World Championships. She placed eleventh in the short program with 55.78 points due to a fall in her opening triple lutz, but came back third in the free skate with 122.04. She earned 177.82 points to finish fourth overall. Ando was assigned to Cup of China and the Rostelecom Cup for the 2010–2011 ISU Grand Prix season. In August, shortly before the beginning of the season, she changed her training base while abroad from Hackensack NJ, USA, to Daugavpils, Latvia. She was originally said to have intended to move to Russia, but this plan had to be changed due to the smog and heat wave in Moscow. At Cup of China, Ando attempted a triple Lutz-triple Loop combination in the short program, but the loop was deemed underrotated by the Technical Panel and she placed in 3rd in this segment. She won the free skate segment with a clean performance and won the event overall, ahead of silver medalist Akiko Suzuki and bronze medalist Alena Leonova. Ando competed with a back injury at Rostelecom Cup after a collision with Abzal Rakimgaliev, from Kazakhstan, earlier in the week in practice. Despite the injury, she skated two clean programs, and though the underrotated triple Flip in the short program left her in 5th place going in to the free skate, she was able to win that segment with 120.47 points, winning the gold medal ahead of silver medalist Akiko Suzuki and bronze medalist Ashley Wagner. With two gold medals in the Grand Prix circuit, Ando qualified for the Grand Prix Final in Beijing, where she performed her renewed short program that was completed only a week prior. Mistakes on two jumps left her to 5th place following the short program, but she performed a near flawless free skate which earned her 122.70 points for 1st place in that segment of the competition. However, this was not enough to make up the gap from the short program, and she stayed 5th with 173.15 points. Ando won the gold medal at the World Championships in Moscow, Russia, beating silver medalist Yu-Na Kim by 1.29 points and bronze medalist Carolina Kostner by 11.11 points.

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