Kana Muramoto and Daisuke Takahashi: “For now there is no environment in Japan for development of ice dance or pair skating. And if we aim for the world level, coaching and team support become necessary.”
Translation of an article about the retirement press-conference of Kana Muramoto and Daisuke Takahashi.
source: www2.myjcom.jp dd. 15th May 2023
Figure skaters Kanata Muramoto and Daisuke Takahashi, also known as “Kanadai,” both members of Kansai University Figure Skating Club (KFSC), held a press conference in Tokyo on May 2nd and officially announced their retirement from competitive skating. While Kanadai will step away from competitions, they plan to continue their activities as professionals. Furthermore, during the press conference, they also mentioned their dedication to mentoring junior skaters and promoting pair skating.
Daisuke Takahashi explained the reason for retiring from competitive skating:
“The right knee reached its limit. (In ice shows) I can still perform, but when it comes to performing at a competitive level, I have reached a point where no matter how much effort I put in, I cannot do it.”
It seems that Takahashi had already informed his partner, Kana Muramoto, after the Four Continents Championships in February. Muramoto recalls:
“When I heard about Daisuke’s retirement, I was prepared for it because we had initially agreed to ‘at least two years.’ I wasn’t surprised at all. I didn’t think, ‘Oh, really? Is that so?’ There was no astonishment.”
Now, as for their future plans, it seems that the pair will continue skating together. Muramoto stated, “I didn’t feel like searching for a new partner,” and continued:
“There is no partner better than him. I still want to create various works with Daisuke, so searching for a new partner was not an option.”
In response, Takahashi expressed his thoughts.
“Kanachan (nickname for Kanata Muramoto) chose to retire from competitive skating, so personally, as the Kanadai pair, I still want to continue performing.”
Let’s briefly look back at the journey leading up to the formation of Kanadai. Daisuke Takahashi participated in three consecutive Olympics (2006 Turin, 2010 Vancouver, 2014 Sochi) as a single skater, winning a bronze medal in the Vancouver Olympics. After the Sochi Olympics, at the age of 28, he retired from competitive skating but made a comeback in singles in July 2018. About a year later, Kana Muramoto, who was already excelling in ice dance, approached Takahashi.
“I wondered if it was okay to invite him. I also wondered if it was really a good idea to approach him after inviting him,” said Muramoto. From there, the history of Kanadai began.
When it comes to their “programs” as a pair, their recent Free Dance (FD) performance of “The Phantom of the Opera” at the World Championships left a lasting impression. Kanadai captivated the audience with their smooth edge work and synchronized steps. Takahashi effortlessly executed lifts, including the straight-line lift and combo lift, carrying Muramoto on his right knee, which had reached its limit. Reflecting on this FD, Takahashi said, “We had a great performance. Finally being able to execute the lift at the end, I felt a sense of accomplishment and happiness. After the performance, tears welled up in my eyes.”
During the press conference, questions about development were also raised. Muramoto mentioned, “There is no environment in Japan to continue developing ice dance or pair skating. And if we aim for the world level, coaching and team support become necessary. But that is still lacking in Japan,” addressing the challenges.
Takahashi takes over the conversation.
“It’s the same in any sport. Without a conducive environment, it’s difficult to concentrate and practice. Especially in pair skating, Japan still has a long way to go… Right now, the people at the Japan Skating Federation are working hard, but ultimately, you have to go overseas. Going abroad also requires funding. I believe there are people who want to do it but can’t. If the environment improves, pair skating will become more accessible. With an increase in the number of participants, it will stimulate each other and raise the level.”
And Muramoto proposes something like this.
“When we perform in ice shows, I feel like there’s an increase in the number of children who say, ‘I’m interested in ice dance.’ I wish I could help those children along with Daisuke and show them the fun of ice dance. The joy of ice dance cannot be fully understood by just watching. The most important thing is to skate together and increase opportunities to be on the ice together.”
According to Takahashi, the Olympic bronze medalist in singles, while singles and ice dance are different in many ways, there are similarities in aspects such as steps, turns, and edge usage. He also mentions that working on these elements at an early stage expands the range of choices. It seems that they have personally experienced and realized this.
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