Takahashi vows to atone for free skate meltdown

by Gus Fielding

Kyodo

Former world champion Daisuke Takahashi insists his error-littered performance in Saturday’s free skate has not dampened his Christmas cheer, and says it has only made him even more fired up to come back with a bang in his next competition.

Takahashi landed a quad in an epic short program to establish a lead of over 10 points over Takahiko Kozuka, but only just about managed to hang on and win his fifth national crown after unraveling in his free program on Saturday.

“I feel really disappointed because that was one of my worst free skates. It was worse than the bare minimum I needed to do and having practiced so much it makes it all the more frustrating,” Takahashi told reporters Sunday.

“I did not perform well but that has only made me really motivated for next time. In that sense it was a great Christmas for me.”

Although points at the national championships are not officially recognized by the International Skating Union, Takahashi’s short program score was 3.03 points better than the world’s highest score held by current world champion Patrick Chan of Canada.

But the 25-year-old fell on his quad in the free skate and also tumbled to the ice on a triple axel sequence and a triple flip and finished on 254.60 points, ahead of last year’s champion Kozuka, who scored 250.97.

Olympic bronze medalist Takahashi, who finished runnerup to Chan at the Grand Prix Final in Quebec earlier his month, world silver medalist Kozuka and 17-year-old Yuzuru Hanyu were selected Sunday for the world championships in March in Nice, France.