Japanese figure skater Tanaka Keiji retires

The 27-year-old, who took part at the 2018 Winter Olympics, says he will become a professional ice show skater and work as an assistant coach after an eight-year international career at senior level.

By ZK Goh
Picture by 2021 Getty Images

Japanese figure skating Olympian Tanaka Keiji has announced his retirement from the sport aged 27.

Tanaka, who had an eight-year international career at senior level, competed at PyeongChang 2018, finishing 18th in his only Olympic Winter Games appearance.

In a message posted on Twitter, Tanaka said that after 20 years in the sport, he would transition to professional show skating as well as coaching.

"The experiences I have gained throughout my competitive life are irreplaceable," Tanaka wrote.

"It was a happy competitive life."

During his career, Tanaka won two ISU Grand Prix medals, bronze at the 2016 NHK Trophy and another bronze at the 2019 Skate Canada International, with compatriot Hanyu Yuzuru winning both of those events.

He also won the 2019 Challenger Series U.S. International Classic, and finished on the national championships podium three times.

A three-time World Championships entrant, his best finish at Worlds was 13th in 2018. He also participated five times in the Four Continents Championships, finishing fourth that same year.

Tanaka is the second Japanese skater to announce their retirement this off-season after Miyahara Satoko did so last month.

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