The ice dance partnership of Japan′s Kana Muramoto and Chris Reed has come to an end. A statement released by the Japanese federation on August 9 stated the duo was splitting over ″differences in direction.″

This news came as a surprise to many. Last season, Muramoto and Reed showed great improvement, capturing a bronze medal at 2018 Four Continents, dancing into 15th place at the Olympic Winter Games and finishing 11th at the World Championships — the best results of any Japanese ice dance team in history. 

Muramoto, 25, and Reed, 29, who teamed up three years ago, both said they intend to continue competing and are now looking for new partners.

In an Instagram post, Reed wrote: ″I am hugely disappointed with how this partnership has ended, but regardless I am in great physical condition now, I’m not done yet, I do plan on continuing the pursuit of achieving greater heights for Japan in ice dance. I would like to thank everyone involved, your support will never be forgotten and I will work even harder. And for Kana I wish her all the best in her future endeavors.″

Muramoto thanked her former partner, fans and the federation, adding: ″Although this outcome was caused by differences in direction, I would like to challenge even more towards my dream in the future.″

UPDATE: In late September 2019 it was announced that Muramoto has teamed up with Daisuke Takahashi and that the duo will train with Marina Zoueva in Florida starting in January 2020.

Takahashi plans to compete in singles at Japanese nationals for the final time. ″When I decided to switch from singles and partner with Kana, I wanted to know more about ice dancing and hoped to expand my skating experience. That is my ultimate goal,″ Takahashi said during a press conference to announce the partnership. ″But as an active skater and athlete, I believe it is important to aim for the 2022 Olympics. Both of us know it will not be easy but we agreed we’ll try to make it one of our main goals when we decided to skate together.″

Muramoto added: ″Of course I am aware that we must have a big goal so that we can work hard together. But more than that I hope to contribute to the future of ice dancing by partnering with Daisuke. And if possible I want us to work hard so that we will be able to skate in the Olympics.″

On March 14, 2020, Chris Reed passed away after suffering a heart attack. He was 30.