Tuesday, December 18

Takahashi and Tran Split: My Take

Narumi Takahashi and Mervin Tran have officially split up. They were the first pairs team from Japan to win a World Championship medal, having done so at the 2012 event.

The team suffered a set-back at the very end of last season when Takahashi dislocated her shoulder in practice. After it kept recurring, they decided to withdraw from their Grand Prix events earlier this year and Narumi had surgery which would likely keep her out the rest of the 2013 season.

While the only reasonings for the split I have seen so far include Narumi saying, "We've been having different thoughts towards the sport recently," and the Japanese Federation saying that there is more to it than just competing in Sochi, I have to think that is the center of the problem. Here's why:

The team competition is officially part of the 2014 Olympics in Sochi. In order for a country to be able to qualify, there needs to be at least one skater or team in each discipline. Japan is bound to finish near the top in the singles competitions, and they have a dance team in Cathy and Chris Reed. Tran, from the beginning of the partnership, has been questionable on whether he would even get citizenship to Japan in the first place (as he was born in Canada). If he did, there was then a question if he would be able to receive it in time for the Olympics.

So you have a situation where a country is looking at a team medal-- perhaps even gold. But without a pair, they cannot even enter the competition. There is no other Japanese pair team that has competed internationally in a long while. I am thinking this partnership may have ended so that Takahashi, as soon as she recovers, can find a new partner (if there is not one already) and then work towards the Olympics. They would have to qualify for the individual event at an early-season competition next fall, which gives four additional pairs the right to compete in Sochi.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

You might be right, but a more immediate problem is the World Team Trophy to be held next April. I wonder what will happen, since the host country won't have a pair team to send...maybe they'll set a rule that would let Japan participate regardless, but with an automatic 0 points for pairs, which will mean that they can compete without any chances of winning???

Tony said...

I also thought about the World Team Trophy! Yeah, it looks like they just won't be able to compete.

Anonymous said...

I heard from a reliable source that this had nothing to do with the WTT/Team event at the Olympics, either. It looks like Narumi made the decision for other reasons.

Tony said...

I know what is being reported. But they had to say something. I'm just saying that I won't be surprised at all when she shows up competing with someone else early next season.

Anonymous said...

It's sad, I loved them together. But I can understand the Federation... they have probably the best team right now, they can't risk their position at the Olympics.

Anonymous said...

I hope Tran will skate for Canada.

Pete Murray said...

According to a statement made by ISU President Cinquanta regarding the WTT event in Apr. 2013...

"If in a country only three disciplines qualify for the Team Event, the athlete who didn't qualify will be able to partecipate anyhow."

So it would appear that would mean Japan could utilize the highest ranking Pair team in their national rankings. But who knows. The rules of the unheld 2012 WTT did not clarify such a situation. We will likely not learn more definitive word on this until around or after the World Championships.

Aiden Cimitiere said...

Ever since I was a kid, I always wanted to be a professional figure skater. But everything changed. Still I am doing a bit figure skating when I go home to Canada.

Lilly Duncan said...

An event that is worth to visit. Can't wait to see who'll be the partners of the both skaters. I think, it would be awesome to make these two players compete with each other to see which better. I would definitely watch this even if it will be that far.