Daisuke Takahashi forms new figure skating team with Kana Muramoto

The Japanese figure skating stars 'aim for the 2022 Olympics' hoping to contribute to the future of ice dancing.

Japan's figure skating star Daisuke Takahashi is no longer single... on the ice.

The former world champion and Olympic bronze medallist will form a new partnership in ice dance with three-time Japanese champion Kana Muramoto.

Their new partnership will begin from January 2020, with Marina Zuewa as their coach.

"When I decided to switch from singles and partner with Kana, I wanted to know more about ice dancing and hoped to expand my skating experience. That is my ultimate goal," Takahashi said at a press conference on Monday in Yokohama.

"But as an active skater and athlete, I believe it is important to aim for the 2022 Olympics. Both of us know it will not be easy but we agreed we'll try to make it one of our main goals when we decided to skate together."

"Of course I am aware that we must have a big goal so that we can work hard together," added his new partner Kana Muramoto. "But more than that I hope to contribute to the future of ice dancing by partnering with Daisuke. And if possible I want us to work hard so that we will be able to skate in the Olympics."

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皆さん、こんにちは! いつも応援ありがとうございます。 この度、来シーズンから髙橋大輔選手とアイスダンスのペアを結成する事をご報告致します。 まだ自分自身もびっくりしていますが、この夢のような報告を出来る日がやっときて本当に嬉しいです! 今回の挑戦は、大ちゃんがアイスダンスに興味があると聞いていて、まさかと思い心臓がバクバクしましたが、今年の1月に話す機会があった時に平静を装って勇気を出してダンスの事を話しました。また氷艶でのご縁もあり、その時に一緒に滑ってみようと言ってくれました。 そして話し合いを重ね、トライアウトをして今回の運びとなりました。 関係者、またいつも応援してくださっている皆様にはパートナーが見つからずご心配をおかけしましたが、このような嬉しい発表が出来たこと、そして新しい挑戦ができることに感謝致します。 今後試練はたくさんあると思いますが、2人のスケートに対する情熱で一緒に乗り越えていこうと思います! 全力で頑張りますので、今後とも応援の程よろしくお願い致します。 村元哉中 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Hi everyone! I have a HUUUGE announcement to make today. Daisuke Takahashi and I have decided to partner up from next season! I know this is highly unexpected but we are very excited to finally share this big and wonderful news with you all. There will be many hurdles that we will come across but with our shared passion to perform and skate, we believe we can overcome any challenges together as a team. I would like to thank each and every one of you from the bottom of my heart for your endless support throughout my journey. I hope you can join me on this next big adventure that I am taking with Daisuke. See you next season! ⛸✨

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Step by step

Takahashi first announced his retirement from skating in 2014, before returning to place second in the 2018 Japanese championships, behind Shoma Uno.

"From 2020, a new challenge will begin for me, as a couple with Yanaka Muramoto," the 33-year-old said via a Skating Japan press release.

"I will do my best to reach the top.

"First of all, I will perform for the last time in the men's singles at the All Japan Championship, which I will aim to win. I look forward to your continued support in the future."

But why ice dancing?

"I'm 33 years old now and have been skating by myself for than 20 years. So I felt scared when another person skates very close to you," said Takahashi. "But when two people skate together and are in synch, you can experience such speed and lean that you can never achieve alone. So there are things that can be accomplished only when you have a partner."

Extending his career was also part of his motivation:

"I want to skate in front of other people as long as possible."

Daisuke Takahashi (JPN) | Men's Figure Skating - Sochi 2014 Replays

Daisuke Takahashi (JPN) | Men's Figure Skating - Sochi 2014 Replays

A new challenge

Muramoto is an ice dance specialist, having won the 2018 Four Continents bronze medal, 2017 Asian Games silver and competed at the PyeongChang 2018 Olympics, alongside former partner Chris Reed.

The ice dancing duo split in August 2018, due to 'differences in their direction', Muramoto said at the time.

"I am very happy to be able to take on a new challenge with Daisuke Takahashi," Muramoto said via a Skating Japan press release.

"Step by step, we will become a powerful team."

On Monday she added: "I've been a big fan of Daisuke for a long time. Especially I like his sense for music and each move. He has a unique way of skating and expressing himself. And I've always loved that. So I've always wanted to dance-skate with Daisuke and experience his world."

"He is my idol in skating."

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