I'm not sure if I'm one of the last ones to know, but I did not realize that Kanako does not plan on competing anymore after Sochi. I got the information from here. It's translated from an interview of Team Japan members and where they see themselves in ten years.
Thoughts?“Probably a skating coach in 10 years. My goal is definitely Sochi… after that, my competition days end and I’ll return to a normal life. By normal life, I mean a normal university experience. Up until now, kindergarten, elementary school, junior high, high school… it’s all been skating. School, hanging out with friends, I’ve never been a normal student. So that’s why I really want it. If I’m still skating by the time I graduate university, I’ll never experience that life even once! So when Sochi ends, I want to try to be a regular student. After that, I want to be a skating coach—that’s my ideal life path. But, I still want to do shows, if I do shows, I’ll still be a student as well. Well, whether or not I’ll change my mind about all this, I don’t know (smiles).
But if I don’t make it Sochi, or if I don’t do well there, and I feel there’s more I need to do… maybe I’ll continue competing. If I feel I did what I wanted to do… I’ll probably stop (smiles).” —Kanako Murakami
I personally think that it's too soon for her to retire, but of course it is her choice. I know it must be hard to find a balance between school and figure skating, and to still have time to enjoy life outside of competing. I doubt that she won't make it to Sochi anyway, so next season really might be her last.