Happy 28th birthday Akko!!!!!!!
Akiko Suzuki’s story is amazing. In 2001-2002, she was a talented junior skater looking to follow in the footsteps of Midori Ito and Yuka Sato with exceptional performance ability and spark.
However, she fell victim to anorexia, which curbed her promising career and forced her out of the 2003-2004 season. She was looking like another junior who would forever be in the “what could’ve been” and “WHY???????” categories.
This was also the season Shizuka Arakawa won the 2004 world championships, ten years after Yuka Sato’s gold in 1994.
Inspired by her teammate’s surprise win over favorites Sasha Cohen and Michelle Kwan, Akiko Suzuki mounted her comeback and recovery from anorexia.
After spending several seasons stuck around 10th place in Japanese nationals, she won both the 2008 AEGON challenge cup and the Golden Spin of Zagreb before finishing in 5th place at Japanese nationals, ahead of Nana Tadeka, the bronze medalist at the NHK trophy and Yuki Nishino, the JGPF bronze medalist.
Akko’s FS at the AEGON challenge cup.
In 2008-2009, she won a surprise sliver medal at the NHK trophy, over Yukari Nakano and Ashley Wagner, and finished 4th at Japanese nationals.
Her 2008 NHK FS, which pulled her to 2nd place after a 4th place SP.
In the 2010 olympic season, Akiko won the 2009 Cup of China to qualify her to the GPF. This was also the season many fans noticed her performance abilities in her West Side Story freeskate.
She then won bronze at the GPF, a pair of silvers at both the Japanese nationals and Four continents championships, finished 8th at the Olympics and 11th at worlds after a 20th place SP, and set herself up as one to watch for the new quad.
In 2010-2011, she won a pair of silvers at both of her Grand Prix events, but unfortunately finished 4th at both the GPF and Japanese nationals and 7th at 4CC.
However, her tango program was one of the best performances in a year full of Spanish themed skates.
Akiko followed her rather meh end of the 2010-2011 season with a bang by winning the gold and silver at her GP events, a national silver, world bronze, and World Team Trophy gold.
The skate which caused me to fall in love with her
This season, Akiko unfortunately bombed her SP at both of her GP events, but came back with a bang in the FS, leading many observers to believe she deserved gold, instead of silver at both Skate Canada and NHK.
She then had an erratic performance at the GPF despite winning the bronze, and finished 4th, behind junior Satoko Miyahara, at Japanese nationals. She seemed to rebound with a silver and clean SP at 4CC, contributing to a Japanese sweep, but finished 12th at worlds, a drop of 9 places from her bronze the past year.
I hope she has a clean skate at WTT, innovative and intricate programs for Sochi, and goes out with a bang, proving that you don’t have to be 16 to be a top-notch figure skater.
Happy Birthday Akko.