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There's a quad in Ando's future

Slimmed down skater says she will try the jump in Everett

Miki Ando landed impressive quads during practice at Skate America.
Miki Ando landed impressive quads during practice at Skate America. (Getty Images)

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By Lynn Rutherford, special to icenetwork.com
(10/23/2008) - In Everett today, the biggest buzz around the ladies' practice -- once again -- was about Miki Ando and her quad Salchow.

"I did it; didn't you see?" the 20-year-old skater said with a smile. "I will definitely try it in my long program."

It is a familiar tale. The two-time Japanese champion, who won the world title in 2007, often hits the jump in practice only to delete it -- or worse, pop or fall on it -- in competition.

At the 2008 ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championship in South Korea this February, she doubled it, gaining just .41 points for the move. [A clean quad Salchow is worth 10.3 points this season.] Most famously, at the 2006 Olympics in Turin, a hard fall on the jump helped lead to a disastrous 15th-place finish.

This time, Ando hopes for a happy landing. She's even shed some ten pounds to help rotate the four-revolution jump.

"I have been trying to lose weight," the skater said. "When I am at my best, my weight is 50 kilos [about 110 pounds]. Last year was not good. I weighed too much. Now my weight is best for my jumps."

Ando executed a quadruple Salchow at the 2002 Junior Grand Prix Final when she was just 15 years old, and remains the only lady ever to have cleanly completed a quad in competition. Now, after a should injury forced her withdrawal from the 2008 World Figure Skating Championships in March, a successful summer's training has prompted her to return to the jump yet again.

"In the spring I couldn't skate, because of my shoulder," she said. "Then I had my shoulder fixed in Japan and spent the summer training in the U.S. I went back to Japan to do some shows, which I liked very much.

"I think everything is now okay with my shoulder. I have been doing a good job training, much better than last year."

Ando's coach, Nikolai Morozov, said his skater came to Skate America with what may be her best mindset ever.

"This is a good weight for her; she is in good shape," he said, and then pointed to his head. "This is also good, and that is most important."

Morozov added that Ando, who is known for her sometimes volatile temperament, is practicing well and working hard.

"She is very easy to train now; she is like a normal skater," he said. "Before, she was not."

Morozov choreographed two new programs for Ando, a short to the Memoirs of a Geisha soundtrack and a free skate to music from Giselle.

"I feel [Memoirs] suits her; I really like it," he said. "I always wanted to use this music. Miki was not ready for it before, but she is now.

"As for Giselle, it is powerful music. It's one of our well-known ballets, and for a long time, no top skater has used it for a free skate. I also think the character of Giselle and the character of Miki are similar."

In Giselle, the heroine rises from her grave to save the man she loves. Whether Ando can use her quad to help rise from the ashes of Gothenburg remains to be seen.