spacer.gif arrow_left_anime.gif BACKWARD   FORWARD arrow_right_anime.gif

noflash_arrow_orange.gif spacer.gif LOCAL VOICE
    EXPO 2005 AICHI



Back No.
spacer.gif No.7
  No. 8
  No. 9
  No. 10
  No. 11
  No. 12
  No. 13
  No. 14
  No. 15
  No. 16


transper_1pic.gif Miki Ando, Figure Skater

nolocal_voice_01.jpgMiki Ando, 16, was born in Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture, in 1987. Now 161 centimeters tall, she is in her second year at Chukyo High School, affiliated with Chukyo University. She was the gold medalist at the 2004 World Junior Figure Skating Championships in the Hague, placing first in the short and free programs. She placed fourth at the World Championships in Dortmund three weeks later.

Figure skater Miki Ando, the first woman to execute a quadruple jump in competition, is one of the most closely watched athletes in the world today. In March this year she made a clean sweep at the 2004 World Junior Figure Skating Championships in the Hague, placing first in both the short program and the free program. Later that month she realized her dream of competing at the senior level for the first time, coming in fourth in the World Championships in Dortmund. She is making steady progress as she sets her sights on the 2006 Winter Olympic Games in Turin.

Born on December 18, 1987, Ando is in her second year of high school. Her hometown, Nagoya, has produced a succession of world-class skaters, including Midori Ito, silver medalist at the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville.

Ando put on ice skates for the first time at the age of eight, when some friends asked her to go skating with them. “My initial training didn’t include any jumps or spins, but after my teacher urged me to switch to figure skating I found I enjoyed the challenge of learning how to do different kinds of jumps,” she recalls.

She says figure skating lets her express herself in a way that suits her personality. Once she took up figure skating she quit all her other extracurricular activities—swimming, art, calligraphy, abacus, and piano—“because jumps felt best and were the most fun.” But she did not have high goals to begin with. “It was my first overseas competition, when I was in the sixth grade, that spurred me to want to advance.”

Ando won the competition. That first taste of the international skating scene had a major influence on her subsequent life as an athlete. It was only three years later, at the age of 14, that she became the first woman figure skater to succeed in performing a quadruple jump. The speed of her progress has been nothing short of dazzling. Despite having made figure skating history at such a young age, she makes light of her achievement: “It was just an extension of play,” she says with a laugh. “I was concentrating on learning the triple axel, and I tried a quad while I was in the air and found I could do it. I think anyone could do it if they practiced hard enough.”

She likes Nagoya because “it combines the best of both country and city.” She practices daily at a rink there, fully aware of the nation’s high hopes for her at Turin. “My ultimate objective is Turin,” she says. “But my immediate focus is the next competition and performing better than last time. If I enjoy myself, the spectators will enjoy themselves, too. If I give a beautiful performance, it will please those watching. For me, the most important thing is to give people joy and excitement.” Her eyes sparkle.

Turin is only two years away. Ando will be watched eagerly to see what jumps she masters and what strides she makes between now and then.

(Mariko Nosaki; photos by Tadashi Aizawa)

top.html aichi_prefecture.html
spacer.gif noarrow_left_anime.gif BACKWARD   FORWARD noarrow_right_anime.gif