Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Saddest Girl in the World

Not unexpected, but still a little too soon... Yukari Nakano is retiring and not even going to the World Championships. I had really been pulling for her to medal this year before her (anticipated) retirement, but she won't even have that chance now. Apparently she partially dislocated her shoulder at the Japan Open last October and never fully recovered as she competed in the Grand Prix, so instead of giving it one last go next year she just decided to retire effective immediately. Oh, Yukari...

Her leg wrap is undeniably unattractive but her personality on and off the ice is so sweet and endearing. She never takes anything for granted and is so respectful of Nobuo Sato, whom (as I've mentioned) I respect immensely as well. Through all of her ups and not insignificant downs she's kept a smile on her face, and branched out into cooking and crafts. It seems like few people outside of Japan really know her, but for the Japanese skating world her retirement is a real loss.

According to sources she will enter Fuji TV with the April 2010 class. I'm assuming she'll enter something skating-related, in which case I'll be very interested to hear what she can bring to the commentary. Her interviews are always thoughtful and calm, and I'm sure she will add a lot.

(Curious aside: either with her figure skating knowledge she got a special route in (likely), or she was long planning retirement immediately after Worlds (also likely), considering applications to the April 2011 class started last fall...)

Sigh. It's sad, but best of luck to her.

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