Reigning Four Continents Champion Rika Kihira of Japan put herself in a good position by winning the Ladies' Short Program at the ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships in Seoul (KOR) on Thursday.
Kihira opened her performance to “Breakfast in Baghdad” with her trademark triple Axel and followed up with a triple flip-triple toe combination and a triple Lutz, as well as difficult spins and footwork. The Japanese Champion earned 81.18 points.
Rika Kihira (JPN) | 2020 © International Skating Union (ISU)
“I’m very happy with my jumps but they were not 100 percent yet and I’ll keep working to make them better for the free skating,” the 17-year-old told the press.
“I still have practice in the next days and I will determine the program content then. For now, the quad Salchow is looking good. I’ll keep practicing it and depending on my condition I’ll determine my final content for the free skating,” she added.
Skating to “Mechanisms” and “Chronos” by Kirill Richter, Tennell produced a triple Lutz-triple toe, a double Axel, triple flip and two level-four spins to set a personal best of 75.93 points.
“Overall I am pretty happy,” the ISU Grand Prix Finalist said. “I was very relaxed out there, having fun. There were a couple of little things that could have been better but I’m going to the free skating feeling confident.”.
Bradie Tennell (USA) | 2020 © International Skating Union (ISU)
Fifteen-year-old You stepped out of her opening triple Axel but pulled off a triple Lutz-triple toe combination and a triple flip in her routine to music from “Romeo and Juliet”. The 2020 Youth Olympic Games Champion scored 73.55 points.
“I had a little mistake on my Axel but I did well on the other jumps,” You said. “But I did not get the full levels for my spins and steps so I’ll think about that more in the free skating.”
Young You (KOR) | 2020 © International Skating Union (ISU)
2018 Four Continents Champion Kaori Sakamoto (JPN) remained close to the podium with a solid performance and 73.07 points. 2018 World silver medalist Wakaba Higuchi (JPN) completed a strong showing by the Japanese Ladies to finish fifth (72.95 points). Eunsoo Lim (KOR) completes the top six (68.40 points).