Though they both struggled at the national championships, Japan is led by two medalists from the 2010 Vancouver Games - Mao Asada (silver in ladies) and Daisuke Takahashi (bronze in men's) - as the country looks to bring one of the strongest figure skating teams to the Sochi Games.
A bronze medalist at the Vancouver Games, 27-year-old Takahashi has been up and down since 2010, winning two World Championships medals (including gold a month after Vancouver), but struggling with injuries. The crown jewel of men's skating in Japan was fifth at Nationals, but named to the three-man team regardless.
While Asada has had her own struggles since winning silver behind Yuna Kim in Vancouver, the beloved skater seems to be peaking at just the right time. The only woman to attempt a triple Axel, the 23-year-old Asada re-tuned her skating after 2010 and has reaped the benefits. She suffered a minor road bump at Nationals, placing third overall.
If Daisuke and Mao are the respected "old guard" of skating in Japan, 19-year-old Hanyu its shining new star. The flashy skater who has big jumps to his name was third at the World Championships in 2012. He has two big golds to his name going into the Games, winning the Grand Prix Final (in which he beat reigning and three-time world champion Patrick Chan) and a second straight national championships title.
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At 28, the oldest of the Japanese singles skaters, Suzuki was as high as third at the World Championships in 2012. The elegant skater placed eighth at the Vancouver Games, and won silver at Nationals twice: in 2010 and 2012 before surprising many with her first-place finish for the 2014 competition.
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Machida had never placed at a Japanese national championships before taking second this past December. That followed two straight Grand Prix gold medals for the 23 year old, who won at Skate American and the Russian Grand Prix.