Daisuke Murakami has decided to hang up his competitive skates, calling an end to a nine-year career on the senior circuit.
Though his announcement on June 14 appeared to come out of the blue it was one he had been considering for some months. “It was something I started realizing after nationals. Not making the Olympic team was a factor,” Murakami said, adding this was the reason he chose not to do any international competitions in 2018. “It was not an easy decision for me to retire from competitive skating, but I could not see myself skating for the next four years, especially with the next generation coming. I just could not see myself being competitive with them.
“Also, my coach Frank Carroll advised me he would not be travelling and would not be going to competitions any more. I could not see myself getting a new coach, which I would have had to do if I continued. I am 27 and I have been there, done that with coaching changes. That is what also helped me decide at the end of the day.
“Going back to work with Frank was the best decision I ever made. Even though compared to a lot of skaters I did not accomplish as much, I have never had better results outside of working with him. Throughout the last four years he always believed in me and I felt I had someone I could trust with my skating. I was able to talk to him — whether it was about a life situation or skating-related — and he was always there for me and he was always very supportive. I was very grateful for that.
“He thought I could have continued competing — I was landing quad flips and the quad Lutz last summer — but anyone can continue for a year or two. The ultimate stage is the Olympics and I could not see myself at the next one even if I continued. Frank is not one to stop skaters from retiring or continuing so he supported me when I made the decision to retire.”
Murakami, who is spending the summer in Toronto, said he needed to get away from Los Angeles and be “somewhere where I could take a breather. I am staying with Carmen James and her family. This is the host family I stayed with every year when I came to Toronto for choreography. They have always been so accommodating and I am looking forward to spending this time with them.
“This summer I am just going to enjoy myself and move on from the skaters’ mentality of ‘what’s next?’ I need to take some time. In a way, I feel like I am having a Daisuke Takahashi moment like when he went to New York for a year after he retired. I have been so consumed with skating and I have always been told what to do. Now, for the first time in my life I get to do what I want to do. I need to find clarity.
“I know there are going to be offers and opportunities coming my way, but I did not want to jump into anything right away. For the first time I did not bring my skates to Toronto. I just wanted to have some time and, for the first time in my life, I want to sit back and analyze everything and find myself again.”
Murakami said he announced his retirement to his Japanese fans via his YouTube channel “because I wanted to let them know myself rather than have them read it on a Japanese news site or someone else breaking the news. I wanted to do it on my own terms and even though my Japanese is not the best, I wanted to be the one to announce it.
“I want to thank everyone…I really appreciate all the years of support from my parents, my coaching team, my management team and sponsors. I would never have been able to get where I am today without that support.
“To my fans I want to say that I am sorry it came as sudden news to them because I think many expected me to continue. Obviously the last season or two were not the best but the fact that they still supported me meant so much. I am thankful to have had such great support from my fans.”
Murakami intends to remain involved with the sport and said he would like to do something to give back to the skating community, perhaps in a coaching capacity. “But, also I want to pursue other ventures outside of skating. I have never had the opportunity to think about what I want to do next. So that is the reason I am taking this time. I don’t want to rush into the next thing.”