Two-time World champ Ando to try for third Olympics – as a mother
The two-time World champion gave an interview to Japanese television today that revealed that a pregnancy had sidelined her for the rest of last season. She found out about her pregnancy last October and gave birth to a baby girl in April.
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Japanese figure skater Miki Ando, who beat Kim Yu-na to win the World Championships in 2007 and 2011, has announced that she is a single mother.
During an interview on TV Asahi’s news show on Monday, the 26-year-old said, “In October last year, I found out that I got pregnant, and I gave birth to a daughter in April.” She continued that she wasn’t prepared to surrender the chance to become a mother, even at the expense of her skating career.
“Most of my friends opposed [my decision], but I chose to give birth anyway,” she said in tears.
Ando didn’t reveal the name of the baby’s father, and would not clarify whether it was her former boyfriend and ex-coach Nikolai Morozov. “We had a good relationship. I wanted to work with him until I retire, but he refused,” she said.
Ando and Morozov went their separate ways after she won the 2011 World Championships in Moscow, which came as a surprise to her fans.
Morozov, who has married and divorced three figure skaters, denied fathering the child during an interview on Fuji TV on Tuesday.
Now speculation is mounting that the baby’s father is former Japanese figure skater Yasuharu Nanri. A local magazine released photos of Ando and Nanri on a date in the fall in 2011, and rumor has it they were living together.
Ando has not participated in any international competition for the last two years but she is now training for next year’s Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. She is not the first Olympian to return to the rink after giving birth — French ice dancer Isabelle Delobel appeared at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics just four months after bearing a son.
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The last time we saw Ando in competition was in 2011, when she skated ill-prepared at the Japan Open, just months after winning the World title over Yuna Kim. Her trajectory since has been somewhat shrouded in mystery – she skipped the Grand Prix in 2011, then took the rest of the season off, then withdrew from both Grand Prix assignments last season after not securing a coach.
Miki Ando (JPN) at the 2011 World Figure Skating Championships
Getty Images/Oleg Nikishin
In the end, she sat out almost all of the two seasons after her second World title, only to announce just a few days ago that she would have one last go at competition this season to give herself a shot at a third Olympic berth. If that weren’t difficult enough after sitting out of competition for almost two years, she will be trying for Sochi after resuming training in May, only a month after she gave birth.
There was no mention of the identity of the father of the Ando’s child, but Japanese media has reported that she is currently living with former Japanese World team memberYasuharu Nanri.
Ando competed in the past two Olympics, finishing a disastrous 15th in Torino in 2006 and fifth in Vancouver in 2010. She also confirmed in the interview that this will be her final season as a competitive skater.