Figure skating star Mao Asada will resume her career after taking the past year off from competition, she announced Monday to collective sighs of relief from the Japanese skate world and her legions of fans.
"My intention is to return 100 per cent [to competition]," Asada said at a press conference in Tokyo. She had stated her chances of coming back as "half-half" when she announced in May last year she would skip the 2014-15 season.
The 24-year-old Asada has already resumed practicing with coach Nobuo Sato.
"As my objective, I need to get back to the level I was at previously, the level that I was at at last year's world championships," said Asada, who won her third world title last year in Saitama.
She added that it is too early to talk about the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics.
Asada had said before the 2014 Sochi Olympics that she would retire after those Games. But after placing a disappointing sixth, the 2010 Olympic silver medalist amended that to keep the door open, saying she would take a year off to think about it.
Asada said she did not yet know which would be the first official competition of her return.