Sochi remains ultimate goal for Takahashi
Olympic bronze medalist does not plan to retire any time soon
|Daisuke Takahashi worked with David Wilson and Pasquale Camerlengo on the choreography for this season's short program and free skate, respectively. (Getty Images)|
Icenetwork.com talked to Takahashi about his training, the development of figure skating in Japan and his plans for the future.
Icenetwork.com: The Japan Open opened a new season for you and Japan's other skaters. What does this event mean to the Japan's skaters?
Takahashi: This is a kick-off event for the upcoming season. I was not ready to compete yet, but I learned what I need to know for the next competition. It's also good for us to skate new programs in front of the audience before the Grand Prix so that we get feedback from judges and audiences.
Icenetwork.com: How would you evaluate your readiness for this season?
Takahashi: I'm not ready yet since I had a surgery to remove a screw from my knee. I didn't have much time to skate my new programs during this summer compared to last year. However, I want to improve my skating in the next three years leading up to the Sochi Olympics, so I went to Lyon [France] this year to learn 'skating skills.' I took lessons from Muriel Boucher-Zazoui, Romain Haguenauer and Olivier Schoenfelder. I trained in the great atmosphere there, and I am looking forward to taking lessons there again in the near future.
Icenetwork.com: Could you tell us about the creation of your new programs?
Takahashi: I made a short program with David Wilson. I have wanted to make a program with him for a long time, but I have not had the chance. It was great to work with him and fun to discover new movements that I have not done before. He has lots of ideas for programs, so that was new for me. For the long program, Pasquale Camerlengo made a number for me. It is called "Blues." This will be another challenge, but it will be a great opportunity for me to skate to different kinds of songs. Pasquale is always giving me a new challenge, and I appreciate that.
Icenetwork.com: Is there anything in your training on which you are concentrated the most?
Takahashi: I spend a lot of time on stretching. I'm not very flexible, so I need to stretch my body a lot, and I started ballet as well. I'm not sure how quickly it will show in my skating, but it will for sure have a positive influence on me. On the ice, I pay more attention to what I have learned from Muriel Boucher-Zazoui, Romain Haguenauer and Olivier Schoenfelder.
Icenetwork.com: What can you say about your work with Stéphane Lambiel? Just a few years ago you skated at the same competitions as he did.
Takahashi: I love his skating. When he was in Japan, he asked me, 'If there is any way can help, please let me know.' I was so happy that I could work with him to create something new. It was great time to share the ice and time with him in Zurich.
Icenetwork.com: It's no secret that you are one of the most popular skaters in the world, and people enjoy seeing you in competitions and ice shows. How do you manage your time between ice shows and competitive events?
Takahashi: I usually take part in ice shows right after the season. During the season, I skate for the fans. During the summer, I make programs, and then I skate them to see the audience's response at the end of summer. Then I prepare for the upcoming season. This year was so much fun at Friends on Ice. I skated with Shizuka Arakawa, Shae-Lynn Bourne, Akiko Suzuki and Takahiko Kozuka in "Mambo," my short program from last year, as a group number. This was my best summer memory.
Icenetwork.com: Let's talk about quads. It's clear that fans like when skaters execute them, but I don't think everyone understand how much strength and energy skaters spend on them. What are your thoughts about this?
Takahashi: Quads are not easy for me to do in programs. However, I believe we should do quads when we think about the future of the sport, so I have keep quads in my programs. Quads are dynamic and powerful, and those are things we need to express in men's skating.
Icenetwork.com: Figure skating is very popular in your country. Every year we see a Japanese team with new, talented, young skaters. What are the reasons for the successful development of skating in Japan?
Takahashi: There are lots of role models [in skating] since Shizuka Arakawa got the gold medal at the  Olympics. Since then, many young people started skating. Miki Ando, Mao Asada, Akiko and other skaters are following, and kids follow them. They inspire children.
Icenetwork.com: Could you give advice to young skaters who are taking their first steps in the sport?
Takahashi: I would recommend playing on the ice. When I was young, I was on the ice almost the whole day. I'm not sure it was good or not, but I have good memories and learned from that time. Winning is not the only goal. I have met a lot of people though this sport. Of course, it's important to win at any sport, because people are interested in the results. However, I believe sports provide a great life experience.
Icenetwork.com: What is next for Daisuke Takahashi?
Takahashi: I have decided to skate until Sochi as an eligible skater. I'm not sure I will be on the ice at the Sochi Olympics ... I still have to qualify! I would like to develop my skating skills and learn other things that will allow me to challenge [for the gold] in Sochi. I will have ups and downs for sure, but I'm looking forward to the challenge of seeing what I can do.