Even though I tried to capture the nuances of his speech, I most likely missed on something.
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The original article:
I Do Not Insist on the Quad Jumps --- Daisuke Takahashi
The season has finally begun. I was 2nd at Grand Prix Series Cup of China. All I can say is that I was lucky to have saved my second place finish, since the content of my performance was just awful. My younger colleague (Tatsuki Machida) topped me and became the first one on the list to go to the Grand Prix Final (in Sochi), but I’m not in a situation to be worried about others. All I can think is: how about my chances of getting to the GPF?
■ Difficulties of adjustments
Just before the Cup of China, I changed my shoes when I came back to Japan after training for a couple of weeks in the United States in October. The shoes happened to be uncomfortable beyond my expectations, which attributed to difficulty in blade adjustments. As a result, I was not able to practice as I had scheduled. When I went to China, I was really “off”, not being able to complete any jumps. I was frustrated during warm-ups, and felt the rink was so much bigger than usual. My reflection on this competition is that I was not in control of my condition, including the preparations (of my shoes).
Still, I felt good at the 6-minute warm-up before the Free Skate and thought maybe I could pull it off. But insufficient practice really shows during the performance. Some people might say putting two quads in FS is too risky a challenge, but I had no intention of not doing them. I could not jump as high as I wanted to, though. My tiny, insufficient jumps resulted in under-rotation and two-foot landings. I should have just jumped high and fall. The shoes that didn’t fit forced me to have extra-careful control so the blades wouldn’t go wild in any way they wanted. That’s why I couldn’t jump as high as I wanted to, and was afraid of going all the way in the step sequence, for fear of falling.
■ Mistakes besides the quads
But what I am most upset about myself, more than the quads, is the fall on a triple jump. It’s one thing to fall on quads, but it’s not acceptable to fail on other parts in the program. Honestly, at that point I had lost my concentration and my mind wasn’t there. I could not keep my focus because I had exhausted all my energy in other unnecessary parts in the program and wasn’t breathing properly because of exhaustion. Nevertheless, I think I should have been able to do at least that despite my worst condition.
People might want to focus on “yonkaiten” (quad jumps), but I myself really don’t have any special insist on the quads. I include two quad jumps in my FS only because that’s necessary to win. This sport, by its nature, doesn’t focus only on the quad jumps, and I feel that you need to focus on other things as well in order to win.
■ Nicholai as an engine
Although coach Nicholai Morozov was not there at the Cup of China, he told me on the phone: “It’s OK, don’t worry”. During practice, he is not particularly strict; rather, he watches his students intently. He asks “Is it difficult to do? Let’s change this way then.” He says so even when I just happened to make that mistake (LOL) ! In the past, I wanted him to focus on me only, but now, it’s better to keep a good distance between us. Now I’m able to practice at my own pace regardless of any physical environment, whether someone's watching me or not watching me.
For me, the presence of Nicholai is like having an engine of my car. Coach (Utako) Nagamitsu is the body of the car. My image is like having a sense of security by being protected by the body of my car while having the momentum of the engine. Rather than expecting something specific out of Nicholai, I have more fun thinking about what it will bring between us in the future.
■ Because I need the results
This season represents a “pre-Olympics’ season. However, I personally don’t feel too strongly about it since my “pre-season” started last year as my 3-year plan toward the next Olympics.
I will have to compete against young and up-coming skaters at this week’s NHK Trophy. I feel pretty nervous, because I need the result in order to go to the Grand Prix Final (in Sochi) even though I say I don’t insist on my wins.
Besides the fact that the Grand Prix Final will be held at the same venue as the Olympic games, I also want to have as many experiences as an athlete. I also wish to make as much impression as possible on judges.
(by Naoko Kashiwagi/photos by Shin-ichi Watanabe/Sankei Express)