Daisuke Takahashi, the 2010 World figure skating champion who ended a four-year retirement last year, will switch from singles skating to ice dancing next year.
Takahashi, 33, will couple with Japanese ice dance Olympian Kana Muramoto and train under renowned Michigan-based coach Marina Zoueva, according to Japanese media. He will officially move after competing in singles one more time at the Japanese Championships later this season.
“There will be many hurdles that we will come across,” was posted on Muramoto’s social media, “but with our shared passion to perform and skate, we believe we can overcome any challenges together as a team.”
Takahashi said he wasn’t yet aiming for the 2022 Olympics, according to his website. But he could become the first skater to compete at the Games in singles and dance as medal sports, according to the OlyMADMen.
Brit Malcolm Cannon finished 20th at the 1964 Innsbruck Winter Games, then participated in ice dance in 1968 when it was a demonstration event.
Last season, Takahashi unretired and finished second at Japanese Nationals, then declined a world championships spot to allow a younger skater to take his place.
He last competed internationally at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, taking sixth, four years after becoming both the first Japanese male Olympic figure skating medalist (bronze) and world champion.
Takahashi won two other world championships silver medals and finished eighth or better at every worlds and Olympics at which he skated from 2006 through Sochi.
He helped usher in an internationally accomplished generation of Japanese men’s skaters.
“I asked him for advice, and he has helped me many times,” 2014 and 2018 Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu said in a statement when Takahashi retired, according to Agence France-Presse. “As a skater … he will always be someone I look up to.”
The fourth son of a hairdresser and an architect, Takahashi opted not to follow his brothers into karate.
He would become one of the beloved athletes in the sport, adored in Japan as a five-time national champion. Fans were brought to tears when it was announced in the arena at the 2013 Japanese Championships that he was placed on the three-man Olympic team despite finishing fifth at that event.
NBC Olympic Research contributed to this report.
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