Kana Muramoto and Daisuke Takahashi announce retirement from competitions | Golden Skate

Kana Muramoto and Daisuke Takahashi announce retirement from competitions


Final Flight
Mar 1, 2014
Video of Kana's and Daisuke's retirement press conference, held on 2 May, 2 pm JST:

Summary of the 1 hour-long Q&A session:


Machine translation:

Kanadai's retirement press conference: Takahashi's right knee "has reached its limit", Muramoto "couldn't ask for a better partner".

[ 2 May 2023, 14:24 ]

Figure skaters and ice dancers Kana Muramoto (30) and Daisuke Takahashi (37=Kansai University KFSC) held a press conference on the 2nd in Tokyo, and announced their retirement.

Takahashi said "Kana Muramoto and Daisuke Takahashi have decided to retire from competition after this season", and Muramoto reiterated "After experiencing many things, we have decided to retire from ice dance competition".

The pair announced their retirement on Instagram on 1 May. Muramoto said: "I'm a little refreshed because I can finally tell the world. There's no need to keep it a secret, so... I don't really feel it, but I feel that I've finally finished my athletic career", and Takahashi added: "There were quite a few people who asked me what I was going to do in the future, so I couldn't tell them, but I feel relieved to make the announcement. As for myself, I feel that I am starting a new chapter in my life."

On the timing and reasons for his decision to retire, Takahashi said: "I was the one who told Kana about my retirement. I'm very sorry about the timing, but I told Kana after the Four Continents Championships. It was already decided then that we would retire after this season's World Championships. But we didn't want to challenge the World Championships with the feeling of retirement, so we decided to make the announcement afterwards. We were thinking of announcing it before the World Team Trophy, but we missed the timing while we were doing various things..." he laughs.

"The reason was that my right knee felt like it had reached its limits. I still don't feel any limitations in terms of performance, but as I train at a competitive level, I've reached a point where I can't do anything with my own efforts in terms of the technical aspects of taking it to the next level. I wanted to go beyond that, but the biggest thing was that my body couldn't keep up with it. I couldn't get rid of that, and I felt that even if I continued, I wouldn't be able to grow as a person."

Muramoto said: "I heard after the Four Continents, that he would be retiring at the end of this season. We had started with a two-year plan when we were formed, so I was prepared to hear that he would be retiring at any time. When I actually heard, I wasn't surprised at all. I thought, oh, I see, I knew it," she said frankly.

Muramoto added, "I didn't feel that I had reached my limit yet when I heard from Dai-chan, but I feel that there is no better partner, and I still want to create works with Dai-chan... so the option of looking for a new partner didn't come up at all". She said she couldn't think of any other partner, and added: "I decided that this season's World Championships would be my last, and I'm very happy now, because we gave our best performance. I think we have done our best. I think we have achieved the memorable performance that we have been aiming for for a long time. She also thanked Takahashi: "I know it has been hard for you for the past three years, so I am grateful to you for ice dancing."

In their 3rd season of formation, they won the All Japan Championship in December last year for the first time. It was a season of leaps and bounds, with an 11th place finish at the World Championships in March this year, matching Japan's best ever result. This was Takahashi's second retirement.

While they are retiring, they will continue to perform as "Kanadai" in ice shows, such as "Ice Explosion", which will be held in Fukuoka from 12 to 14 May. In addition to active athletes, they will perform with Torino Olympics gold medallist Shizuka Arakawa and others. Muramoto and Takahashi will appear in ice shows not only as a couple but also on their own in the future.

More information on Daisuke's right knee:

Sometimes he loses strength when he stands up, so he has no choice but to squat down on the left. Sometimes he wakes up in the morning and can't get on his feet, making it impossible to practice lifts. He wanted to push himself, but he couldn't push hard enough. This season, he was able to make it to competition in good shape without pushing too hard.

I also read that they are both interested in coaching, but can't find the source anymore.


I will thoroughly miss Kana and Dai in competitions, but am looking forward to everything they have to offer from now on.

Thank you, Kana and Dai, for the countless memorable performances and all you have given to the sport in your long active careers! ❤️
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Jun 26, 2012
Very understandable indeed. That kneestuff looks onimous! And I recall Kana stating that Dai would be her last partner. As I stated earlier I am going to miss them! Thanks for all the wonderful performances. Pleased that they could go out on a high note!


Final Flight
Apr 27, 2011
In the conference, Dai said "people often say my life is like a rollercoaster, and I hope my fans continue riding the rollercoaster".

After the conference, they appeared on a program of Fuji TV, which owns the broadcast rights of Nationals, 4CC and Worlds. He actually decided to retire before 4CC but could not find a right timing to tell Kana until the competition was over.
I remember Kana kept saying they had good training before 4CC and Worlds. I admire her for hiding all the worries in front of the media.

I've been on an emotional rollercoaster since yesterday...
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Anna K.

Feb 22, 2014
Oh, Dear :cry:

It's always so sad when there is still so much to give artistically but the body can't keep up to that any longer.

Anyway, thank you Dai & Kana. It had been just incredible "overtime" of your competitive career. And, hopefully, a great prelude to your post-competitive careers.


Jul 22, 2014
My heart is full; there are no words. - it is like the end of an era for me. Daisuke has been my favorite since before he went to Junior Worlds in singles. I wish them both a wonderful future of shows and life! 💗
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Congrats to Sota, #10 in World Standings!
Record Breaker
Nov 12, 2013
Wishing them both the best in their new endeavors!
I'm really happy I got the opportunity to see them skate live.

[...], but she is a superstar ice dancer that finally got the opportunity to shine alongside Diasuke.

Are you sure about the 'finally'? Because she was quite successful with Chris Reed as well, and I recall them getting nice results (similar to KanaDai if I'm not mistaken, though maybe they didn't rise as fast?), and a lot of attention and praise. I really liked both couples.


Final Flight
Apr 27, 2011
Wishing them both the best in their new endeavors!
I'm really happy I got the opportunity to see them skate live.

Are you sure about the 'finally'? Because she was quite successful with Chris Reed as well, and I recall them getting nice results (similar to KanaDai if I'm not mistaken, though maybe they didn't rise as fast?), and a lot of attention and praise. I really liked both couples.
But still the Japanese media tend to focus on Dai, and many felt Kana was not receiving respects she deserved.
I knew her since when she was a single skater, but never knew she was such a creative artist.
She always told to the media they had good training before the competitions at 4CC and Worlds, which was far from truth. She managed to hide all the worries from the public.

Marina suggested them to take one-year break and come back to competitions, but he didn't want to retire again like he did back in 2014, struggling with his health, missing the last big competition, fading out. He wanted to end this time on a high note.
Dai looked a bit happy when he was telling that Kana decided not to continue her competitive career looking for a new partner but chose to retire with him, so they can collaborate together as professional skaters. As Inside Skating summarized, he's not alone this time.


Final Flight
Mar 1, 2014
The ISU published a comprehensive summary in English and a short, sweet tribute on instagram:


Two more partial transcripts of the press conference for more details:


Kana's and Dai's training mates, fellow ice dancer Adrienne Carhart and pair skaters Isabella Gamez and Aleksandr Korovin, on instagram:

[Adrienne's ig story expired]

While I’m heartbroken that the lingering effects of Dai’s old ACL injury forced them into an earlier retirement than they would have liked and that Dai had such a hard time making that decision (he said he was crying when he told Kana :(), I’m in awe of what Kana and him achieved in such a short time while his knee was giving him so much trouble that Kana “wanted to lend him one of her own knees”. I can only imagine what else they would have been capable of, if Dai’s body had been 100%.

Dai’s knee injury was responsible for his first retirement too, but this time he got to retire on a happier note (their reaction after their Worlds FD appears in a different light now) and with dreams and ideas of what to do next – for one wanting to branch out into other fields of entertainment and to promote ice dance/skating in Japan in some form or other. Kana says she’s excited to also tackle new things after only knowing skating for 25 years. These words comfort me a little, even though my heart, like that of many other fans, is very heavy at the moment.

I will cherish the memory of cheering them on together with other fans like surimi and briefly meeting and getting to tell them how wonderful they both are at the Warsaw Cup in 2021.

After the press conference Kana and Dai held an ig live for their fans (which was archived on their team account: https://www.instagram.com/p/CrvXvgGJ7vs/), in which Kana also spoke English for a bit. She said they hope to be able to perform in shows not only at home, but also abroad. I so hope they and we, as international fans, get that opportunity (just like when Dai was invited to AoI and Ice Legends in the past). And of course, for now, there are “Ice Explosion” and “Hyoen” to look forward to.
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All Hail Queen Gracie
Record Breaker
Mar 14, 2007
I am sad that we didn't get prime KanaDai, not just for Daisuke but for Kana..many underestimate how good she is as Dai gets more media and commentator coverage, but she is a superstar ice dancer that finally got the opportunity to shine alongside Diasuke.
I agree.


Final Flight
Aug 16, 2018
I am sad that we didn't get prime KanaDai, not just for Daisuke but for Kana..many underestimate how good she is as Dai gets more media and commentator coverage, but she is a superstar ice dancer that finally got the opportunity to shine alongside Diasuke.
Agree. The opportunities and spotlight Kana has gotten alongside Daisuke (and even then, most of the time it's about her as Dai's partner and not Kana individually) is incomparable to when she partnered with Chris (RIP).
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Final Flight
Jan 17, 2022
Sniff. I loved watching them even though their lifts always frightened me a little.
Daisuke was one of the reasons I became fascinated with figure skating in the first place and seeing him come back with Kana and creating these unique programs was a bit like a dream. They came really far in such a short time and I'm sad that it has to end. I hope they can get into coaching or choreographing together.

Skater Boy

Record Breaker
Feb 24, 2012
It is always hard to hear about these injuries. But they have done so well. I think Kana was often overlooked; but I admit I found it hard to watch Dai not on the podium after being so used to him being a world contender and medallist.


Final Flight
Mar 1, 2014
I am sad that we didn't get prime KanaDai, not just for Daisuke but for Kana..many underestimate how good she is as Dai gets more media and commentator coverage, but she is a superstar ice dancer that finally got the opportunity to shine alongside Diasuke.

She absolutely is (I gave her one of my personal season's awards for it)! 🤩

I think that she got to shine alongside Chris too though and would say that most skating/ice dance fans did not underestimate her. I remember many calling Kana a bright talent and being impressed with how fast she got the hang of the technical aspects of her new discipline. When she teamed up with Chris in 2015 she only had about half a season of previous ice dance experience and only competed internationally once at the 2014 Tallinn Trophy with her first partner, Hiroichi Noguchi, but it really didn’t show. Right from the start she was able to hold her own alongside her veteran partner. In terms of the performance she was a natural too. When she teamed up with Dai after a two year abstinence from ice dance, the roles were in many ways reversed, and even if her new partner had been a star singles skater known to be one of the most charismatic performers in the sport, he did not outshine her. This speaks to Kana’s own performance ability and star power and also to the quality of the partnership as well as to their coaches’ understanding of how to make Kana and Dai a team with two equal performers. Imo it was the correct approach not to use the classic picture/frame model for them – this is what makes them so unique and compelling. They are a wonderful match and bring out the best in each other.

Commentators and the media are a different story. I often found the overfocus on one half of the team annoying, shouting at my tv/computer screen “will you please show Kana some love too?” (To the chagrin of my neighbours. :laugh:) I get it from the media’s perspective though. Dai’s backstory is well known and his switch after all he had achieved in singles made for great headlines. You have to dig a bit deeper to find sources on Kana and when you have to cover an event with lots of competitors, you either stick to easily available information or to what you already know. I’m under the impression many international journalists don’t even know she used to be a singles skater for the majority of her amateur life and that her backstory is quite impressive too.

I was happy that Katharina Müller made sure to shine a spotlight on Kana in her commentary with Daniel Weiss for Worlds 2022, particularly emphasizing how talented and hardworking she is.

For anyone wanting to learn more about Kana, the following are two of her solo interviews. The first one, in which she spoke quite extensively about her switch from singles to dance, was published when she and Dai had just started their partnership. The second one was conducted right before Kana’s and Dai’s retirement press conference. :)

Figure Skating Life Extra, published 29 February 2020

Kana Muramoto​

Born 3 March 1993, Hyogo prefecture. In her singles career she competed in international and the All-Japan competitions. In 2014 she switched to ice dance. She represented Japan at the Pyeongchang Olympics with Chris Reed, finishing in 15th place, in a tie for the highest placement of a Japanese couple, and at the World Championships in the same year, finishing 11th, one step away from the top 10. She announced the formation of a couple with Daisuke Takahashi in 2019.

– First of all, please tell us about the attraction of ice dance and how to watch it. Ice dance is beautiful and graceful, but it's not as easy to understand as jumps, so many people don't know what to look for.

Kana: The first thing I like about ice dance are the lifts. I think this is easy for everyone to understand. Also, people who are really good at ice dance have smooth steps and skating, and are not "fluttering". The same is true for cross-overs. Even in cross-overs, they are not picking their feet or flapping their legs (laughs). It's hard to explain (laughs). It's all very smooth, and with every step you take, your foot goes right next to the foot you're on. The back foot doesn't step out without passing by the foot on the ice. The next step always comes from the foot that is still on the ice. It's like you're skating on a single, continuous line. In ice dance, people often say that there is never a straight/flat line. My coach always tells me that if you look at it from above, you will see that I am on a curve and there is no straight/flat line. The lifts are stressful, but when you're doing them, you can go from strength to strength. Also, it is important to point your toes and the way you handle your free leg makes a difference to the way you look.

– Which part of the body do you pay particular attention to when you are skating?

Kana: The fingertips. Even one finger can make a difference. It's a habit for me to forget my fingertips, so I try to make sure that my nervous system is connected to my fingertips. I'm also conscious of moving my arms from my back and make my eyes and the line of my neck look good. I'm conscious of how I can make my body line look beautiful.

– It’s all about a beautiful line, isn't it? For example, it's not enough to just align the twizzles, is it?

Kana: That’s right. Of course they should be aligned, but the closer the two people are, the better. And it's better to keep the same distance than to be too close or too far apart.

– What should I look for in a lift?

Kana: There are different types of lifts and each couple is unique. It is important to check that the lifts are neat and clean. The way the lift is dismounted and the way it is entered, that's where GOEs are added, so I think the way the man lowers the lift is looked at and in rotational lifts, if the feet are moving/rotating correctly….. I think it's difficult to know what to look for. I think the position of the (liftee's) legs and whether they are aligned or not is also looked at.

– Does it take a lot of practice to get it right?

Kana: Yes, it does. I have a coach who takes videos of me, so I watch them back and try to move my free leg down a bit, or I watch in a mirror on land and try to match them. That's how I'm getting better and better at it.

– It's about a millimeter.

Kana: It really is. Just one little difference makes all the difference to the cleanliness/the beauty of the picture.

– I remember when I spoke to you a few years ago, you told me that the Shibutani siblings’ practice was amazing.

Kana: It's amazing! Even if it's just a small detail, they spend half an hour practising it over and over again. They were so meticulous about it. I thought it was important to practice in such a way.

– Ice dance is very interesting, isn't it?

Kana: The more you know about it, the deeper it gets. But as an entry point to watching ice dance, I like the beautiful costumes, and I like the space from the moment your name is called to the moment your performance starts. It's the atmosphere that makes ice dance unique. There are some who go straight to their starting positions, but there are others who create the atmosphere even before the performance starts, and I think that's where the individuality of the team comes out.

– What is your favourite programme in the history of ice dance?

Kana: There are so many...! I would like to recommend to watch the legendary "Bolero" by Jayne Torvill & Christopher Dean and also Tessa Virtue’s & Scott Moir’s flamenco program “Farrucas” at the Vancouver Olympics. That was the first ice dance video I ever watched from start to finish. I was watching a skate video once in a while. When it came up I was like, "What is this?” I was so impressed. It was really cool. Everything was perfect, even from the way she moved her skirt. And also Meryl Davis’ & Charlie White's Bollywood! This is also from the Vancouver Olympics. I really like this one. The twizzles are amazing and the costumes are really nice. Also, this season's Madison Chock’s & Evan Bates' “Egyptian Snake Dance“ FD. That's a very good programme. Oh, I also like Marina Anissina’s & Gwendal Peizerat's flamenco.

--I watched them all the other day! (laughs)

Kana: Did you watch them? (laughs) Anissina performed her flamenco on the ice show “Heroes & Future 2018” in Nagano. I was very moved and had goosebumps when I saw it live while we were practising together there. It's amazing that even after so many years, it hadn’t changed at all! I thought. I love all their programmes. I was talking to my mother the other day, and she said that even if you don't know much about ice dance, you still remember the 'red-haired girl'. That's how memorable this couple is.

And then there's Gabriela Papadakis’ & Guillaume Cizeron’s RD this season. It has a different feel from what I’m used to see in Ice Dance, but I like it very much. It's interesting (laughs). There is a part in the beginning where I’m obsessed with the sound and that I love so much that I keep repeating it. They also always have great frees, don't they? Piper Gilles & Paul Poirier also have many unique and wonderful programmes, and Kaitlyn Weaver & Andrew Poje had a great program where Kaitlyn performed as a statue [2012-13 FD “Humanity in motion”].

I also really like Nathalie Pechalat’s & Fabian Bourzat’s Egyptian-themed program [2011-12 FD “Passion”].

--Which dancers influenced you?

There are so many ...... and I like them all (laughs). Tessa and Scott and Meryl and Charlie are very acrobatic and I really like Madison Chock for the way she presents herself, because she is very good and I like her style of skating. But Tessa and Scott are the biggest ones in my mind. ......! Oh, I forgot the biggest one! I like all of Shae-Lynn's programs! I like all of Bourne & Kraatz and I like Shae-Lynn the best. She's so cool. I still love her. I admire that she can do all those programmes by herself.

--I like the way the chair looks like a partner (in her exhibition “La Cumparsita”).

That chair is alive, isn't it? It's really cool.

--Next, I would like to ask you again about yourself and ice dance. You were originally a single skater. What made you decide to switch to ice dance?

Kana: I made the decision to switch to ice dance in my third year of university, just around the time my sister, who I had been training with, retired. At exactly the same time, I wasn't able to jump as well as I wanted to anymore, but the girls around me were starting to jump triple-triples. I felt I couldn't keep up with them at all. There was a time when my feelings didn't catch up with my technique. I wanted to enjoy my university life, and I had no sister [to train with], so I had no motivation to go to practice. It was during this time that I was asked to try out for ice dance. I had been approached before, but at the time I was still thinking that I wanted to do singles and I didn't want people to think I was running away from singles, so I just let it go. But then, I was approached by a guy who used to come to my evening practices at a time when I wasn't enjoying skating at all. It was because I was not good at jumping to begin with (laughs).

--Is that so?

Kana: I was not good at it or at least I didn't like it. I didn't want to do it if I could avoid it. I preferred skating more, so I consulted with Ms. Mie Hamada about it. She said, "Why don't you try ice dance for a change?” So I joined a tryout. It was the first time I skated hand in hand with someone, and it was an experience I'd never had before, a completely different world. From the first day of tryouts, I felt that skating was fun for the first time in a long time. That was the impetus for me and my first partner, Hiroichi Noguchi, to quickly decide on a lot of things and I moved to Vancouver to start my life as an ice dancer.

--Did you start your tryouts with Noguchi-san?

Kana: There were other dancers like Kentaro Suzuki and Kaoru Tsuji [who partnered Misato Komatsubara in 2011-2013] too and Noguchi-san was just helping out. I didn't know it at the time, but after the tryouts we had to write down the name of the person we wanted to skate with on a piece of paper and submit it so that no one could see it. So I wrote down Noguchi-kun's name and he wrote down mine, and we matched, so it was like we had no choice but to work together (laughs).

--I didn't expect that. Who asked you to try out?

Kana: It was Kentaro who asked me. I was sorry about that, but I felt more comfortable with Noguchi when I skated.

--Next up were three seasons with Chris Reed. What made you decide to work with Mr. Reed?

Kana: It was a great timing, but after Noguchi and I had split, I tried skating with some other people. I skated with boys who were at the same rink as me, and one of them was actually Tim Koleto.


Kana: Yes (laughs). I had a tryout with Tim and when I finally decided to partner with Tim and was about t send him an e-mail reply, I heard from the federation about the dissolution/break-up of Cathy and Chris. I was told that Chris wanted to try out with me because Cathy was retiring after the World Team Trophy. I was in Vancouver by myself at the time, so I panicked (laughs). When I had the tryout with Tim, Cathy and Chris were training in Detroit, so the four of us went out for dinner. I didn't know Cathy and Chris at the time, so Tim said, 'I'll introduce you to them'. It was just before the World Championships, so I wrote them a letter wishing them good luck at the World Championships. I felt sorry for Tim, but I told him that I was going to the tryout. So I bought a plane ticket to Japan and went to Chukyo to tryout with Chris. Soon after (because I was going to partner with him) we decided to go to the USA (laughs).

--That’s great timing. So Koleto was chosen by Misato Komatsubara because of that same background?

Kana: It's amazing, isn't it?

--So it was from there that you decided to aim for the Olympics in earnest?

Kana: At first I didn't team up with Chris because of the Olympics. I had a little bit of a feeling that I might be able to go to the Olympics, but I just wanted to see if I could keep up with Chris. He is a dancer with more than 10 years of experience. So, just before we entered the third season of our partnership, I looked at him and the Olympics, and I felt like I was on the same page.

--After working with Reed-san, your progress was amazing, wasn't it? Every year you got better and better.

Kana: No, no, no. The biggest thing for me was that I enjoyed skating since I started ice dancing. I also learned the importance of practice. When I was a singles skater, I must have not practiced very hard (laughs). That's how much you have to practice dance. It was hard, but it was also fun, and every day there was a new discovery.

--Have you changed a lot as a skater?

Kana: Yes, I have. I feel that I am a different person now than I was in singles. I wanted to be better as a single skater too, but since I started ice dancing, I have a stronger desire to be better.

--Do you wish you had taken up ice dance earlier?

Kana: I do! Hahaha. There were times when I wished I had started ice dancing when I was younger, but I think there are things from my singles career that helped me in dance.

--For example, what kind of things did you find useful?

Kana: For one it's a mental thing. Unlike when I was competing in singles at the All-Japan Championships and Junior Grand Prix, in ice dance I feel less nervous because I have someone next to me. I can feel the difference, and in single skating, the legs are stronger, so I have more pushing power when I skate. I think those things helped me.

--Then you were selected to compete in the Olympics.

Kana: I didn't really feel it when I was selected. It was like ‘Oh, I can go’. I was in Pyeongchang and it felt like I was going to be competing in a foreign country. But when I stood on the Olympic rink for the first official practice, I remember I had goosebumps. I finally realized that I was at the Olympics.

--What was the atmosphere like?

Kana: The skaters, who are in the competition together are the same as usual, so that part is the same as the world championship, but everywhere I look, there is the Olympic logo (laughs). It's an event once every four years, and every time I see the Olympic logo, I remember that. I had only seen the venue and the athletes' village on TV before, so I thought it was strange that I was there.

--I heard that you had a hard time when you broke up with Japan’s leading ice dancer after that.

Kana: It was tough. It was probably the hardest thing I've ever done. There were times when I took a break from skating even when I was a singles skater, but after breaking up with Chris I didn't want to go on the ice at all. I wanted to continue with ice dancing, but I couldn't find a partner right away. At that time, when I heard that Dai-chan (Takahashi) was coming back I was like, 'Oh my God!’ (laughs). So I went to see the All-Japan Championships and was really moved. I didn't want it to end yet either.

--To think you would go on to team up with Takahashi!

Kana: I never thought I would be working with Takahashi. It's a miracle, I still can't believe it.

--I'm sure he will enjoy ice dancing.

Kana: Yes, I think so. I don't know what will happen, but I think he will enjoy it.

--What do you think is the most attractive thing about Mr. Takahashi?

Kana: There are many things, but the way he moves and the way he catches the sound are exquisite. He has a way of capturing the sound that only he can do and it's very pleasing to watch. You can see the nerves all the way down to the tips of his fingers. I think there are times even in a short program that feel much longer for the skater, but for the people watching they are over in the blink of an eye, like ‘Did you finish the free skate in about a minute?’ I feel the way he creates an atmosphere, the way he catches the sound and the way he moves his body are so nice to watch.

--I agree, the movement and the line of the body that match with the sound are very pleasant. And I think Muramoto has the same sensibility. So when I heard that the two of you were going to work together, I was so excited.

Kana: I'm so happy!

--Now your practices together have started at last! How is it going?

Kana: There are mixed emotions of excitement and fear. One of them is that we don't have much difference in height and Dai-chan is very thin, so I’m a little worried for him. Our lift coach says there is no need to worry, but we should think about the range of lifts we can do. I hope we will be able to lift as much as we can. There are lifts that can be done by partners with little height difference that do not rely 100% on the man's strength, but where finding the right balance and the right timing is crucial. So even if it is scary at first, I think we will start with easier lifts, that will still get a good level. I am also worried about my ability to keep up with Dai-chan’s skating technique.

--Is that a problem?

Kana: When we skated side-by-side, it went very smooth. But when we were practicing in America, I asked him to skate in front of me and I tried to follow him and he was so fast. (laughs) It was hard to keep up with him.

--But Takahashi is still a singles skater, skating freely as he likes.

Kana: That's true. But if I could keep up with his technique and combine it with mine, it would be really good. But I guess from Dai-chan’s pov, his freedom is limited because he is skating with someone else, what do you think?

--You are a very considerate person.

Kana: Maybe I'll be skating while saying, "Oh, I'm sorry. Are you okay? " (laughs)

--Can you give a message to the readers?

Kana: I hope you'll enjoy watching the new team, but I think it’s also an opportunity to see the new Dai-chan and more of the core aspects of skating. I hope you can look forward to the world view that can only be created by two people skating together, and I would be grateful if you could support us and help us spread the word about ice dance.

---translated with DeepL---


Retired figure skater Muramoto talks in an interview with this newspaper before the press conference about her mother's support for her athletic career and her encouragement to her home prefecture Hyogo.

Kana Muramoto looks back on her active career with a smile in Tokyo.

The figure skating and ice dancing team of Kana Muramoto (30) and Daisuke Takahashi (37) (KFSC) reported their retirement at a press conference on 2 May. Prior to the press conference, Muramoto, who is from Higashinada-ku, Kobe, gave an interview to the Kobe Shimbun newspaper. She spoke about her family, who supported her to continue competing, and her thoughts on local athletes, including Kaori Sakamoto (23) of Sysmex and Kobe Gakuin University.

 -Why did you decide to retire?

Kana: I was ready to retire if Dai-chan (Takahashi) retired. The reason was that I felt that my way of expression and sensibility in skating matched with his. I wanted to do more things with him (outside of competitions), so it did not cross my mind to look for a new partner.

We've overcome many things together this season, such as the hurricane (in Florida, USA, where we train) and injuries, and at the World Championships, we really did our best. We also enjoyed skating together at the World Team Trophy. I respect Dai-chan as a performer and an expressive person."

 -Did you talk to anyone about your retirement?

Kana: "I said, 'Maybe it will be the last time,' but I didn't consult at all about whether I should retire or whether I should look for a new partner. I should decide that for myself."

 -What memories do you have of your time as a singles skater?

Kana: When I started skating with my older sister Satsuki, she was very important to me. We competed together as the biggest rivals. When she retired, there was a big hole in my heart. It made me think about what skating meant to me, what I loved about skating and what I had worked so hard for."

 -After switching to ice dance, you teamed up with Chris Reed to compete in the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. What did your time with Chris mean to you?

Kana: He taught me the joy of ice dance. Three seasons where I was able to build my own base. I am the person I am today because of the seasons with Chris. I will never forget how grateful I am."

 -After the dissolution of the couple with Reed, you went on a trip around Hokkaido with your parents. When you were unsure whether to continue competing, your mother advised you that if you wanted to continue skating, you could look for someone new.

Kana: 'After the dissolution, I didn't know what I wanted to do and wasn't sure if I wanted to continue skating. My parents tried not to talk too much about skating [during the trip], but when they saw that I wasn't feeling refreshed, they approached me. When I heard my mother's words, I was able to feel that 'I’m not ready to finish skating yet. Skating is a big part of me.'

 -How important are your parents?

Kana: 'It is an expensive sport and my parents continued to support me financially even after I entered (Kansai) University. Ever since I was little, my mother would take me to and from early morning practice and so on. She supported me when I started living overseas, and I am grateful for that. (When I retired) she said, 'You did a great job. Thank you for your hard work.'

 -In 2020, your first season with Takahashi, Takahashi cracked a rib while practicing lifts, and Muramoto fell and suffered a concussion. Did it not break your heart?

Kana: No, not at all. I was the one, who invited him to ice dance, and athletes have to live with injuries. I wanted to finish what we started.

'When we first formed, it wasn’t our goal to go to the Olympics, I wanted to know more about the world of ice dance and to experience the world of Dai-chan together. Then the results came and we were able to aim for (the Olympics)."

 -How did Takahashi's presence enhance your ice dance performance?

Kana: In the past, men used to show women as the main performers. For example, the women were on the judges' side and the men were in the back. We didn't stick to that, on the contrary, sometimes Dai-chan would be the main and show off in front of the judges. I thought that 'Kanadai' was able to show a performance in which the two of them were the main performers, regardless of whether they were male or female. We were able to do it because of Dai-chan's sensitivity and expressiveness."

 -You have always said that you wanted to spread the appeal of ice dance. Do you think you were able to achieve this?

Kana: I think so. At this year's World Championships (held in Saitama), we received comments from overseas athletes and judges, such as 'I didn't realise how many people come to ice dance events. It's thanks to Kana and Dai-chan' I was happy to hear that."

 -You will continue to promote the appeal of ice dance at ice shows and other events.

Kana: “We both still have programmes we want to express. I'm really looking forward to seeing what we can show in a world that transcends the framework of competition. I feel that we can show even better things."

-Your skating career began at the age of five. You have made history at the Four Continents Championships, the World Championships and the Olympics. Do you have any regrets in your athletic career?

Kana: "If I had to say one thing, I wish I had practised a bit more when I was a singles skater. I can't say I worked that hard back then. Since I switched to ice dance, I have realised the importance of practice and have put in a lot of effort. But now I can look back like this with a smile on my face, so I have no regrets."

 -Have you practised more now that you've switched to couples competitions and have a partner by your side?

Kana: 'Yes, that's part of it. I'm not alone, so I can't say 'I'm tired today, I don't want to do this'. We have to keep an eye on each other's condition and work together to find the right balance. I am also stubborn and I'm sure I caused a lot of trouble, but I learnt the importance of working together with others."

 -What are your dreams for the future?

Kana: We have a secret dream of producing an ice show together, something never seen before. We often talk about our fantasies together, but it would be great if we could have a project together. It doesn't matter if we perform or not."

 -In the figure skating world, Hyogo Prefecture-born athletes are active, including women's skaters Kaori Sakamoto and Mai Mihara, and pair skater Riku Miura. A shout out to the juniors from your home prefecture?

Kana: I think they have all had tough times due to injuries and illnesses. There are bad competitions and good competitions. But your active life is over in the blink of an eye. I want them to genuinely enjoy skating, no matter what the circumstances. Each of you has something wonderful to offer. I want you to find your own charm with confidence and show it to the world."

 -Do you have a message for your local Hyogo fans?

Kana: I recently found out that there are many people who have supported me since I was in primary and junior high school. The other day at an ice show in Kyoto, an elderly man said to me: 'I've been cheering for you for a long time. My challenge still continues, so I hope you will continue to watch me warmly. I think there will be many more great skaters from Hyogo in the future, so please keep an eye on them."

---translated with DeepL---
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Feb 11, 2023
Thank you @synesthesia for the details !

I too am really heartbroken to see them leave the stage, although it is absolutely understable... Aside from their skating qualities, what really stuck with me is how they had their own artistic identity, which I feel is hard to acquire in so few years of competing (granted, they were not beginners but as a new pair, it's still a challenge isn't it ?). Their RD never bored me, with a very special mention to Soran Bushi which was a masterpiece imo.
Also, I think they achieved the equilibrium between both skaters "eye-catching" qualities on the ice. Neither one outshone the other, and that's a very rare quality.
I'm going to miss them so much, but I'm happy they can retire on their own termes. Can't wait to see what they're up to next !