In 2006, a then 18 year old Melo Imai, was a favorite among Japan’s snowboarders for the Turin Olympics. She was considered to be a lead contender in the women’s half-pipe event and had even won the World Cup the year before.
But things weren’t going to go well for the athlete. During the qualifiers she suffered a terrible crashed and had to be taken off the slopes. Because of her injuries she placed last and wasn’t allowed to compete in the Olympic Games.
Melo Imai after crashing in Turin. // (Photo by Adam Petty)
She was later branded as a “failure” and “embarrassment” for her performance at the qualifiers. After a brief marriage, Melo Imai had two children to take care of. She began working as a hostess in a bar to make ends meet which eventually led her working as a fuzoku (a type of legal prostitute in Japan that offers non-intercourse sexual services).
Then in 2013, she began appearing in Japanese adult films.
But recently her interest in snowboarding has resurfaced. The now 30 year old Imai made her return to the sport when she entered the 35th All Japan Snowboarding Championships in Gifu last year. Although she admitted to only having had four days of practice, she easily won the competition with 90.75 points.
Her recent interest is due in part to her kids, as she has started teaching them about the sport as well as simply wanting to do it again. She has even recently stated that she will be staying away from things that are overly pornographic because she wants to return to the world of snowboarding.
She even has her eyes set on being a part of the Japanese team for the next Winter Olympics in 2022.