Like the phoenix rising from the ashes, Daisuke Takahashi returned to the competitive arena after more than a year off the ice to claim gold at Finlandia Trophy today.
In early 2008, the Japanese star suffered a ligament injury that required surgery forcing him to skip last season. A month in hospital was followed by three months of physical therapy.
Looking stronger than ever, Takahashi scored a resounding victory in his short program set to “Eye” by Japanese composer Coba. The routine, choreographed by Kenji Miyamoto, scored 83.23 points. America’s Stephen Carriere was second with 70.22 points ahead of Sergei Voronov of Russia who earned 68.50 points.
Takahashi tripped over his toe pick after completing his final spin, losing his balance on the closing pose. He tumbled unceremoniously to the ice but laughed as he picked himself up.
The free skate was, however, a completely different story. Takahashi’s “La Strada” program choreographed by Pasquale Camerlengo lacked the spitfire of the short. His spins were slow and he experienced technical difficulties on a number of his jumps.
Voronov won the long program and the silver medal with 210.22, but Takahashi won the title by a wide margin (224.25). Carriere was third with 193.24 points. Michal Brezina from the Czech Republic, fresh out of the junior ranks, skated into fourth with 190.31.
Read the exclusive interview with Takahashi by IFS editor in chief Susan Wessling in the December issue of International Figure Skating magazine.