Takahashi gets a confidence boost
Daisuke Takahashi of Japan ended the season on a high note when he won the Men’s event at the 2012 ISU World Team Trophy of Figure skating in Tokyo, Japan, last week, setting a new record Short Program score of 94.00 and a personal best free skating score.
For the first time since he won his World title in 2010, the Japanese beat two-time World Champion Patrick Chan of Canada.
“I don’t really have any feelings that I have to remain at the top,” Takahashi answered when asked what he needs to do to beat Chan in the future. “Patrick wasn’t perfect, he made mistakes. We both weren’t perfect. If he was perfect I know that Patrick’s program would have more points. I just need to do what I did this season and to build up on that, and maybe at the end of the day I might win.”
This season was an important stepping stone for the 26-year-old.
“I started from where there was no hope (to beat Chan), but little by little I have come closer to him,” said Takahashi. “It will boost my confidence, but I know I can’t be complacent. I know that Patrick will be very good next season, so I’m going to work hard.”
Obviously, one thing on Takahashi’s mind is the quad.
“I’ve understood that the necessity of the quad is important and I really have to work on it,” the athlete stressed.
First, however, he needs to nail the toeloop.
“I’m going to practice that,” said the five-time Japanese national champion. “According to the circumstances, I might change the type of jump, but I know I need the quad in order to win.”
Takahashi hasn’t worked on the quad flip since the Grand Prix series, but doesn’t exclude bringing it back.
In addition to the quad, Takahashi keeps a close eye on his component score.
“Every competition when I look at the five components and compare them to the others, I realize that this is where I need to get really high scores,” the 2010 Olympic bronze medalist pointed out. “Maybe the judges were generous at the World team Trophy, but having that score made me very happy. It helps my confidence and tells me that I’m on the right track. I never had so many 9s!”
As for next season, Takahashi isn’t sure yet about his choreography. He worked successfully with David Wilson and Pasquale Camerlengo this season, however, he is known for being someone who embraces change and likes to do try new and different things.
“Right now I don’t have any plans, and so I am in trouble,” he joked. “I have only two years left (before the Olympic Winter Games) and I have to try as much as I can.”
Lori Nichol is one of the top choreographers he hasn’t used yet. Apparently Chan won’t work with her now, so perhaps Takahashi might grab the opportunity?
Currently Takahashi feels healthy, but has been longing for a break and is looking forward to his vacation.
“I’m going to have a break and then I’ll start refreshed,” said the 2010 World Champion, who still has quite a few ice shows in Asia that he is slated to perform. “I want to rest,” he stated. “Stress-free practices is what I’d like to do. As for my plans or what direction to take, I’m still thinking about it. I don’t know right now. I’m not going to rest much, just mentally I’d like to relax.”
The knee that he injured in the fall of 2010 no longer troubles him.
“It is fully healed,” he confirmed.
Overall, Takahashi felt that this season has set him up nicely for next one.
“This season, I think I was able to get my confidence back,” the two-time World silver medalist said. “I won medals at the Olympic Games and Worlds, but to be honest, I didn’t have so much confidence.”
Takahashi considers the Worlds his highlight of the season.
“I really trained hard for it,” he recalled. “I was able to perform my best. In the short program I made a mistake, but I was able to land the quad in the middle of all the attention. The training has built my confidence to get everything out there. Everything was a necessary process and that went into the highlight, the peak of the season.”
The Japanese skater didn’t have a quick answer when asked about whom he likes to compete against.
“I cannot single out one person,” he said. “The competition right now is at such a high level and all the competitors have a strong character. I like competing with everyone.”
He can be sure that many skating fans from all over the World are waiting impatiently for the next season to begin and to see him competing with his new programs against Chan and the others.