There have been some discussions on what has happened during the free at the Worlds and what had gone through Daisuke’s mind during the season in another thread, so I thought it was worthwhile reading his own account.
Here is a translation (by me) of his latest column in Nihon Keizai Shinbun Newspaper. Well, he is as honest and candid as ever…
‘The accident at free skate and they say it was a bad luck, nonetheless…'
Could I have won the silver if there had not been that accident? Well, the silver would not have been good enough for someone who had won the gold last year.
I think throughout the season, Patrick was expected to win the world title. I watched his performance at the Canadian Nationals and official practice in Moscow, and I felt that was going to happen. I could not change the momentum. I could not even make people believe that I was the one to challenge Patrick; I lost to him at that stage.
Utako-sensei (his coach Utako Nagamitsu) checks my boots everyday, before each skate, for me. While we were waiting for the score to come up, she apologised to me many times, but it was not her fault.
No matter how carefully one checks the skates, a screw sometimes gets loose and comes out. It happened during the competition, that was all.
Some say I was unlucky, but a skater has to deal with the situation, whatever that may be. I have no excuse for the poor result.
I change my boots every 2 months or so. The World Championships was postponed for a month, so I tried to change to the spare ones in mid March. The right one fitted OK-ish, but the left was impossible. So I changed the right one only.
I ordered a new pair but they arrived only 2 days before we left for Moscow. I was doing OK in practice and had no problem with the boots, so I decided to keep the old ones rather than the new pair just arrived.
I was very focused on the day of free skate and the condition was good too, so I felt I could land the quad. I guess the left boot could not stand the force when I put the toe pick down. The sole of the boot also got damaged and I regret that I also could not land the salcow, which we take off on the left leg, because of that.
As soon as I finished the performance, my mind went a bit blank and ended up saying that I would continue until Sochi. But then I thought I’d better think it through; so I asked for the press conference to be held in two days, not on the next day as usual.
The accident happened, but I am not depressed by that. It’s no use crying over spilled milk. Time flies (while you are mourning about what has happened). I believe I can learn something from this kind of incident; and I always have. I am convinced this will lead to something better.
I used to hate to see myself degrading and wanted to quit before I start going down hill. I won the bronze at Vancouver; and if everything had gone smoothly, without the injury, I would have retired after that. But I started to seeing things differently since.
I thought – I wanted to believe in my potential, I wanted to have a go.
I was told that once the screw on my right knee was removed, I could move more freely. I watched Daisuke Ohata, a former member of Japanese rugby team, continue playing rugby despite many injuries he has had to suffer, and I thought that to live my life like his must be so fulfilling.
To set a goal at Sochi should make it easier to give it all. Four years ago, all I could think of was to move up and up, but I feel differently now.
I will be 27 when Sochi Olympics comes. I know it would be hard (to be there), to be honest. It may be normal to continue until that age in other sports, but there have been fewer skaters, who carry on competing till that age, since the IJS was introduced. Of course, the competitive career of figure skaters may be prolonged again in the future. I just want to try as long as there is a possibility.
I am feeling like a challenger again. I hated myself feeling ‘defensive’ this season. I knew it had never worked for me before… Perhaps I was feeling secure because of the result of the last season. Sometimes I thought I should have quit… I was sensing myself being feeling increasing so.
When I have a clear goal, I can put up with hard work; but this year, I was struggling to keep my motivation high. It was a hard season for me.
Having said that all, I was getting into high gear from mid-March. I took a week off when it was announced that the Tokyo Worlds was cancelled and it would be held in Moscow instead in end of April, although I kept practising for the charity show (held in April 9).
‘No way - I could not keep going as I have been until then’ – it was good to take a chance and have some rest. It is more detrimental to carry on practising, without being focused, just for the sake of it. I was in a good form when arrived in Moscow. However, on the day of the short programme, I was slightly less focused and I knew I would.
The Mambo programme is great to perform in the show lighting and get the audience going. In competitions, without the show lighting, it demands extra power to appeal to the audience.
I was feeling less focused that day, not being able to project towards the audience enough to draw their reactions. I failed to connect with them and that made it really hard. I think that was reflected in the low score.
The Tango free programme is a more conventional competition programme, so the more I had skated, the better it had become. To ‘revenge’, skating the same programme next season? No. I want to feel fresh each year. I know the longer you keep the programme, the more you get used to it, but then I’d get bored with it. I always want to be in love with my programmes.
I want to include the quad in the short next season. There are many skaters this season, who tried the quad in the short. Michal Brezina, my favourite, landed two different kinds of the quad in the free.
In Japan, we perhaps did not expect the standard of men’s figure skating would change so drastically. Oda-kun was keeping up with the change, but I could not even if I wanted to, as my consistency in landing the quad had not been as good as before the injury. I like to challenge, but there is no point in challenging when there is no chance of success at all.
I would like to learn basic skating again. I have been taught (occasionally) by my ex-dancer choreographers, Shae-Lynn and Pasuquale, but I would like to spend more time doing the basics in everyday practice.
Spins are my nemesis. It is getting better, but I have not many variations. The hardest of all is programme; it’s been 10 years since I joined the senior circuit, and it is hard to skate the different kinds of programmes and make sure people are not bored by my performances every year.
Takahiko won the silver and I am delighted that it will keep people interested in men’s figure skating in Japan, although, as a competitor, I regret it wasn’t me. The power we receive from the supporting fans while in the rink is huge.
There are many young and upcoming skaters. I wonder if it is the first time in the history of men’s figure skating in Japan, that we have 3 spots at the next World Championships and no one knows who would go.
The situation like this is exciting and motivates me too. I am not sure if I could go to Sochi, but as long as I try, I will aim for the gold.
I may struggle and I may appear uncool. Gosh, we have to keep putting up with this difficult person… many people, including Utako-sensei and the Team Daisuke, must be feeling.
I’d still like to ask for you continuous support, please.
Daisuke had a surgery today to remove the screw from his right knee. He'll stay in the hospital for a week. According to his management, it is not going to affect his plans for the next season. They will monitor his recovery and will draw up plan for a rehabilitation and start practising again.
Perhaps I should post another thread for this piece of news, but Nobunari Oda is now nursing the injury on his left knee. The doctor prescribed a complete rest of 6 weeks for him. It is reported that it should not affect his plan for the next season.