Shows she still has what it takes after dominating national tournament with almost no practice time.

Melo Imai is not a woman who’s camera-shy. At the age of 18 her snowboarding halfpipe skills earned a spot on Japan’s 2006 Turin Olympic team, and before departing for Italy she fired up her fans at a pep rally by rapping about her passionate intent to do her best.

Despite her confident enthusiasm, Imai came home without a medal. While it’s not unusual for less successful Olympic athletes to have to transition to other careers after their moment in the spotlight, Imai’s new line of work was eyebrow-raising, as she began working in a hostess bar, and later the wide-ranging sector of non-intercourse sexual services collectively known as fuzoku in Japan. “I needed money,” Imai explains. “I couldn’t even give my friend a wedding gift” (in Japan, wedding guests customarily give the newlyweds a cash gift of roughly 30,000 yen US$270).

Imai was remarkably successful in her new career. “After the Olympics, I was making as much as a company president, and sometimes I’d go party at a host club and drop one million yen (US$9,090) in a single night,” she recalls.

▼ Melo Imai’s Snow Drop

In 2013, a nude photo collection of Imai was released, and she eventually began appearing in adult films, with two of her 2017 releases, Snow Drop and Snow Out, subtly referencing her athletic career. But now Imai is saying she’d like to get back into the sport that was her initial claim to fame.

In 2017, Imai took part in the 35th All Japan Snowboarding Championships in Gifu, and she didn’t just compete, she dominated. In the women’s halfpipe final, Imai’s best score out of her two runs was 90.75, far ahead of second-place Momoa Mori’s 76.75. Perhaps even more impressive is Imai’s claim that she practiced for just four days before handily winning the competition.

▼ Imai’s winning run

▼ Imai on the podium at the All Japan Snowboarding Championships

That suggests that the now 30-year-old Osaka native’s skills haven’t diminished, and her ability to quickly get into championship form might be a necessity if she plans to get back into serious, consistent competition, because it doesn’t sound like she intends to entirely give up on her other line of work. “I want to return to the world of snowboarding,” Imai told interviewers from magazine Shukan Post, “so I’m taking care not to get involved with things that are overly pornographic.”

Source: Livedoor News Blogos via Otakomu, Japan Snowboarding Association
Featured image: YouTube/jsbaofficial