Japan's Marin Honda, skating star since 11, revels in growing spotlight

Marin Honda, 16, in her dazzling senior debut at U.S. International Figure Skating Classic.  Her 19 elements in two programs all received positive grades.  (IceNetwork photo)

Marin Honda, 16, in her dazzling senior debut at U.S. International Figure Skating Classic.  Her 19 elements in two programs all received positive grades.  (IceNetwork photo)

SALT LAKE CITY -- When she was only 11 years old, Marin Honda was anointed by Japanese media as the worthy successor to Mao Asada, the most decorated figure skater in her country's history.

Since then, the hype around Honda has grown exponentially in her homeland, a country that has developed a boundless passion for figure skating over the past decade.

So, there were six Japanese TV networks and 10 Japanese newspapers in town to cover a second-tier event -- the 2017 U.S. International Figure Skating Classic in Salt Lake City -- because it was Honda's debut on the senior international circuit.

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Saturday night, in the ladies' free skate, Honda made the trip both worthwhile and memorable for the compatriots in the media and the audience at the Salt Lake City sports complex.

Click here for Marin Honda's Disney "Pirates of the Caribbean" promotional video. (Photo at left.)

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