Mao Asada plans to compete through 2018 Olympics

Mao Asada
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BOSTON — Three-time World figure skating champion Mao Asada said Monday that she plans to compete through the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympics.

“If I make the Olympic team,” Asada added with a laugh, through a translator.

The 2010 Olympic silver medalist took the 2014-15 season off from competition and announced her return in May, when she reportedly said it was “much too early to think about the [2018] Olympics.”

Asada, 25, opened her season in earnest by winning the Cup of China in November over a field that included Russian Yelena Radionova, arguably the silver-medal favorite at the World Championships at TD Garden this week.

“My feelings are much more geared toward the next event, but the Olympics are at the back of my mind,” Asada said after the Cup of China, according to Kyodo News.

Asada has not won in three top-level events since, taking third at NHK Trophy and sixth (last place) at the Grand Prix Final in the fall. Then she finished third at the Japanese Championships on Christmas weekend, matching her worst result at Nationals since 2003.

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Asada, the only woman in this week’s field with a World title or an individual Olympic medal to her name, did not perform her trademark triple Axel in practice Monday morning but still plans it in both her short program and free skate this week (full Worlds schedule here).

She said she feels better now that at any point this season.

She’ll very likely need to be in top form to earn a place on the podium. The medal favorites — Russians Yevgenia Medvedeva and Radionova and countrywoman Satoko Miyahara — are all at least seven years younger than Asada but also proven major-competition medalists.

If Asada makes it to Pyeongchang 2018, she’ll be chasing the only hole on her résumé.

She won the December 2005 Grand Prix Final at age 15 but was too young for the Torino 2006 Olympics.

She took silver at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics behind Yuna Kim and then lost any shot of a medal in Sochi with a 16th-place showing in the short program. She rebounded to finish sixth at her second Olympics.

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