“Man looks in the abyss, there’s nothing staring back at him. At that moment, man finds his character. And that is what keeps him out of the abyss.”
Wakaba Higuchi could likely relate to the line by actor Hal Holbrook in Oliver Stone’s 1987 classic “Wall Street” because she was on the precipice of disaster when she took the ice for her free skate at the world championships in Milan on Friday night.
There comes a point in every athlete’s career where their future is determined definitively. It could be an instance that signals ascension, decline, or a leveling off.
When this time arrives, athletes either rise to the occasion, fold under the pressure, or turn in a mediocre outing.
This was a defining moment for Higuchi.
The question was, would she define it or would it define her?
Thankfully the answer was the latter as Higuchi turned in the performance of her career with a fabulous effort that vaulted her from eighth place after the short program to take the silver medal behind Canada’s Kaetlyn Osmond and ahead of teammate Satoko Miyahara.
Equally as important, was the fact that her high finish helped ensure Japan’s women would regain their three spots for next year’s worlds in Saitama, a year after losing them for both the Pyeongchang Olympics and this year’s worlds in Italy.