Golden Skate

Japan’s Rika Kihira grabs leat at 2019 Skate Canada

Rika Kihira

Japan’s Rika Kihira performs her Short Program at 2019 Skate Canada International.

2019 Skate Canada

Ladies’ Short Program

Rika Kihira of Japan took the lead in the Ladies’ Short Program at 2019 Skate Canada International in Kelowna, B.C., on Friday afternoon. Grand Prix debutants Young You of South Korea and Russia’s Alexandra Trusova are currently in second and third, respectively.

Kihira reeled off a solid triple Axel, triple flip-triple toe, and triple loop in her routine to “Breakfast in Bagdad” by Ulf Wakenius. The 2019 Four Continents champion also earned a level 4 on all three spins and footwork, racking up high positive grades of execution (GOE) throughout and placing first with 81.35 points.

“The quality of my triple Axel and my triple loop was good, like in practice, but in some parts of the program, I was nervous and I didn’t do my spins so well,” admitted the 17-year-old. “Tomorrow in practice I want to focus on my jumps and spins. I want to keep a positive attitude.”

You was also clean, landing a triple Axel, triple Lutz-triple toe, and triple flip. The 2019 U.S. Classic silver medalist earned a level 4 on all three spins, but the footwork was graded a level 2. She earned a new personal best of 78.22, nearly eight points higher than what she received earlier this season at 2019 Lombardia Trophy where she finished third.

“The triple Axel was not as good as in practice, but it was still good and the other elements were as good as in practice,” observed the South Korean champion. “I have been working on the triple Axel for three years. Now I feel good and have more confidence.”

Trusova landed a strong double Axel, triple flip, and triple Lutz-triple loop while showing good level 4 spins, but like You, also received a level 2 on her footwork. The two-time world junior champion is in a close third with 74.40 points after her performance to music from Peer Gynt by Edvard Grieg.

“I am pleased with my performance today, but I will continue to work on my spins, skating skills and I hope to do the triple Axel soon,” said the 15-year-old. “I’ve waited a long time to be able to compete at the senior level and I really like it.”

Tennell is currently fourth with 72.92 points. The 2019 Skate America silver medalist was nearly flawless in her routine to “Mechanisms” and “Chronos” by Kirill Richter. The only mistake was an underrotation on the back end of a triple Lutz-triple toe, but she otherwise landed a double Axel and triple flip and showed two level 4 spins and footwork.

Canada’s Gabrielle Daleman landed a double Axel and triple toe-triple toe in her routine to “Jazz Man” by Beth Hart, but put a foot down on the triple flip which also received an edge call. The 21-year-old was otherwise clean, displaying level 4 spins throughout, however, the footwork was graded a level 2. She sits in fifth with 63.94 points.

Russia’s Evgenia Medvedeva had a disappointing skate in which she underrotated the back end of a triple flip-triple toe and stepped out of a double Axel. The 2018 Olympic silver medalist also took a fall on a triple Lutz and is currently in sixth place (62.89).

Teammate Serafima Sakhanovich stepped out the backend of her triple flip-triple toe, but showed two level 4 spins, a double Axel, and triple Lutz. She is seventh with 62.63 points.

Yelim Kim of South Korea is in eighth (61.23), followed by Italy’s Alexia Paganini (60.68) and Marin Honda of Japan (59.20).