Shukan Bunshun is going to run a story tomorrow that somehow indicates that Melo Imai, that cute snowboarder who represented Japan at the 2006 Turin Olympics, currently works as a part-time prostitute.
…Available through the website BUBKA, she is only mentioned by her initials which leaves readers to decide whether the accompanying pictures are actually her. Imai crashed badly during her event in Turin and had to be airlifted to hospital with a back injury. She was a hit with Japanese fans and picked up some lucrative advertising deals as well as making a debut as a singer. Her brother, Domu Narita, was also competing at the Olympics: they have different surnames because Melo decided to take her mother’s maiden name when the siblings fell out with their father over his coaching methods. Imai earned recognition as a professional snowboarder when she was 12 and was the world junior halfpipe champion in 2002. She then had a breakout season on the senior circuit, winning the overall halfpipe crown in the 2004-2005 World Cup season with two wins and five podium finishes. This year, she placed second at an International Ski Federation halfpipe event in February. If the magazine’s allegations are true, it throws open the question of whether that constitutes her best finish.