Whatever happens between now and Sochi, Daisuke Takahashi will still go down as one of the greatest figure skaters in history. The legacy, as it stands right now, already speaks for itself.
At 26, he’s the most experienced of the current post-Takeshi Honda crop of Japanese male skaters. Takahashi won Junior Worlds 11 years ago now and is now in his tenth season on the senior international circuit. A World title, two World silver medals, five Japanese titles, and an Olympic bronze later, he is, believe it or not, still improving.
A knee injury in 2008 took him out of the season entirely and threatened to end his career, but he came back stronger and better. Skaters have risen to challenge, and he is more than up for the competition.
Takahashi may not win every competition he enters, but what distinguishes him as one of the Greats (with a capital G), is the way that he has transformed himself as an artist while continuing to deliver technically difficult programs. This Blues For Klook free skate, skated at its very best in its last competitive iteration at the World Team Trophy, will always be remembered as a pivotal program in figure skating.
Takahashi’s skating is seamless with the music, jumps interwoven within the program to highlight its intricacies. In the IJS era, where fans and skaters alike have criticized the sport for its sometimes-formulaic feel, this program was the epitome of what you can do with the rules and still make a competitive program a piece of art.
It’s a masterpiece in every way. Enjoy.