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Midori Ito

Page history last edited by Rose Munsey Kano 10 years, 4 months ago

 

Midori Ito is known today as one of the world’s greatest figure skaters, and people all over Japan look up to her. She was a beautiful, graceful, accurate, charming figure skater who captured hearts and raised judge’s scores higher than they’d ever been.

Midori Ito was born on August 13, 1969 in Nagoya, Aichi, Japan. She was a natural born skater, starting her skating when she was five, and first competing when she was only six years old. When Midori was ten, her parents divorced, and it was at that time when she moved in with her coach and choreographer, Machiko Yamada.

At only four foot nine inches, or 144.8 centimeters, Midori has always tried to excel where no one else has. In 1985, Midori broke her ankle trying to land a quad- or a quadruple jump, which no woman had ever achieved before. Even though she had broken her ankle that year, Midori went on to win the NHK (competition).

When Midori won her first competitions, she also won the attention of all Japan. People started calling her the “Japanese Jumping Bean” and “Tsunami Girl” for her incredibly accurate, graceful jumps and beautiful routines.

Although Midori was such a big jumper and leaper for the stars, there was one area in figure skating that she didn’t ever do very well in. This area is the compulsory figures. The compulsory figures are ice tracings that were generally ignored by the television broadcasts, so when that 20% that counted towards their final score lost the skater a medal, watchers never really knew why. Midori, along with most figure skaters, did not like the compulsories.

But even with this, Midori still won the World’s in 1989, making her the first woman to ever land a Triple Axel. A Triple Axel is a jump that includes three and a half rotations in mid-air. Impressive! Also, Midori became the first Asian to win the World’s, even with her compulsory score.

How does Midori Ito do it? She practices, practices, practices. During the year, Midori trains 20 hours a week, and in the summer she trains 30 hours a week. Of course, Midori skate, but she also dances. She takes ballet and jazz. She took dance classes because she wanted to increase the artistic look and gracefulness in her routines. Would you rather see an artistic, graceful routine or a clumsy combination of jumps and turns?

In 1990, Midori graduated from Tokai Gakuen Women’s College in Nagoya, and in the same year she won nine gold and two silver medals out of twelve competitions in the winter Olympic’s. That means she placed in the top two for eleven out of twelve competitions, or 96 percent!

At the 1992 Olympics, Midori was startled by Surya Bonaly, who did an illegal back-flip during practice. Some say this is why she missed many of her jumps during her short and long programs. Although Midori was favored to win the gold, she only won the silver. This is because she didn’t land many of her jumps in her routines. She did win the silver though, because she stuck the landing on her Triple Axel. Midori was the first woman to ever stick a Triple Axel in the Olympics. As you can see, Midori has made many landmarks for female figure skaters over the years.

After she won her silver at the 1992 Olympics, Midori retired from amateur figure skating and went professional. After this, Midori went on to land many impressive jumps, including more Triple Axels, and win many more competitions. She also won the World Professional championship in 1993.

Then, in June of 1995, Midori returned to being an amateur skater. However, it ended up not mattering much, because in 1996, Midori retired at age 27. That’s pretty much when your figure skating career ends, just like professional dancers, because your body ages and you can’t do everything you used to be able to do when you were younger. That’s why figure skating and dancing are normally such short careers.

Apparently, though, for Midori, it was hard to back out of the skating world, because in June of 1995, Midori was reinstated as an amateur skater. In 1996, however, Midori took charge and officially announced her retirement from the skating world. Midori Ito had health problems that had to do with low protein levels in the blood. Unfortunately, as said before, Midori's body just wasn't up to the kind of physical labor it took to prepare for, and to be, a figure skater.

Being the figure in ice skating as she was, Ito is known all over the world. Because of her skating, she was given the great honor of being the first in the Torch relay when the Torch arrived in Japan. Of course, as you know, the torch is a great Olympic tradition. Another Olympic tradition Midori got to take part in was the lighting of the Olympic Cauldron in the opening ceremonies of the 1998 Winter Olympics.

Even after her retirement, Midori hasn't stopped. At first she did everything from TV commercials for amateur skating to coaching a figure skating team.

Then, on January 4, 2001, Midori performed in the Japan Open. After four years of absence, being the daring woman she was, she still put a Triple Axel into her routine! She almost made it perfectly, though she stepped slightly out of the landing. Midori thought that her performance was only “40 per cent” of what her practices had been, but even with that, Midori still won the bronze. This is an amazing accomplishment for her, since she had been gone so long.

In 2004, Midori was inducted into the “Hall of Fame” of World Figure Skating. This was only a recognition of her skill, gracefulness, and awe-inspiring figure skating. Midori is still alive today, and she is a reminder for everyone of the beauty of figure skating.

 

 

Bibliography:

 

CultureGrams Online Database: Subscriber Area Only. Web. 20 Nov. 2009. <http://online.culturegrams.com/famouspeople/country.php?fp_CountryID=82>.

 

"Figure Skating: Midori Ito --." David "Mountain Dragon" Merchant's Cyberspace Gateway. Web. 20 Nov. 2009. <http://www.mountaindragon.com/midori/>.

 

"Midori Ito Quotes." WorldOfQuotes.com - Quotes and Proverb Archive. Web. 29 Nov. 2009. <http://www.worldofquotes.com/author/Midori-Ito/1/index.html>.

 

 

 

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