Japan's former world champion Mao Asada retired from figure skating Monday in a bombshell announcement, citing a lack of motivation after a mystifying slump in form.
The 26-year-old, who won three world titles in 2008, 2010 and 2014, said on her official blog: "This was a big decision for me but I have no regrets over my skating career."
Asada, a silver medallist at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics behind South Korea's Kim Yuna, took a one-year break after the last of her three world championship victories complaining of exhaustion.
But after returning to the ice for the 2015-16 season, Asada's results began to nose-dive, culminating in a humiliating 12th-place finish at the Japan nationals last December.
"Since I came back I haven't been able to produce the performances or results I had hoped for," she said. "I have been troubled by a lot of things.
"The goals that have kept me going disappeared," added Asada, who has struggled this season with a knee problem. "I have lost the willpower to carry on as a professional skater."