Ice dancing pair Takahashi, Muramoto had different reasons for retiring

For Daisuke Takahashi, it was a nagging right knee injury.

The Yomiuri Shimbun

The Yomiuri Shimbun

The Japan News


Daisuke Takahashi, right, and Kana Muramoto strike an ice dancing pose during their press conference on Tuesday in Tokyo. The Yomiuri Shimbun

May 3, 2023

TOKYO – For Daisuke Takahashi, it was the nagging right knee injury. For Kana Muramoto, she just couldn’t imagine having another partner.

Japan’s top ice dancing pair held a press conference Tuesday in Tokyo to explain their decision to retire from competitive figure skating, which they announced the previous day, while adding they will continue performing together in ice shows and exhibitions.

“One of the biggest factors is that I feel my right knee has reached its limit,” the 37-year-old Takahashi said. “I never felt it was the limit in terms of performing, but I felt it was not possible to reach the technical level needed, particularly this season, no matter how hard I try.”

Takahashi switched to ice dancing and paired with Muramoto in 2020 after a successful career as a singles skater, which included becoming Japan’s first-ever male Olympic medalist and world champion in the sport.

Takahashi said that he informed Muramoto of his desire to hang up his competitive skates after the Four Continents meet in February, and the two decided together before the World Championships in March.

They saved the best for last. At last month’s World Team Trophy in Tokyo, they compiled the best score of their three-year partnership in helping Japan to a third-place finish.

The 30-year-old Muramoto said that given Takahashi’s age when they paired up, she was always emotionally ready for him to call it quits. But while physically able to continue her own career, she did not want to skate with anyone but Takahashi.

“I don’t feel like I have reached my limit, but I feel like there’s no way I can have a better partner than the one now,” said Muramoto, who competed at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics with Chris Reed.

“I thought that I want to create more routines with Dai-chan. As such, the option of looking for a new partner never arose, so I decided this would be my last season. We were able to go out with our best performance, so now I look forward to what lies ahead.”

Asked about his best memory from the partnership, Takahashi cited the World Team Trophy before a home crowd at Tokyo Metropolitan Gym.

Knowing it would be his final competition, Takahashi said he was “incredibly nervous” during the free skate. But before taking the ice, he took in the crowd and the atmosphere, and it hit him that “I’ll never be able to see this scene again.”

Swept up by the gravity of the situation, the two put on their best performance, causing Takahashi to thrust his fist into the air after it ended, a rare gesture for him.

“I really did everything I wanted to do in the competition, which made it so memorable,” he said.

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