Home Figure Skating News 2022-23 Grand Prix Final: Women’s Preview

2022-23 Grand Prix Final: Women’s Preview

by Tatjana Flade
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2022-23 Grand Prix Final: Women's Preview

2022-23 Grand Prix Final: Women’s Preview

The Women’s event for the 2022-23 Grand Prix Final will kick off on December 9, 2022, with the short program. The Women’s Final features five newcomers and Kaori Sakamoto, who competed in the Final once before. Without the dominating Russian skaters, three Asians, one American and one European made it through. In the past season, five Russian women plus Sakamoto were qualified for the Final that was eventually cancelled. Due to sanctions, Russia is currently banned from competing in ISU events.

Loena Hendrickx (BEL)

Hendrickx has made history in many ways: first Belgian single skater to win a World medal, first Belgian skater to win an ISU Grand Prix and now she is also the first female Belgian skater to compete in the ISU Grand Prix Final. The 2022 World silver medalist is a powerful skater, and after making some changes to her free skate music since the beginning of the season, she now has the right vehicle to get to the podium in any competition. She uses two pieces “Heaven” and “Fallen Angel”, both written especially for her by Karl Hugo.

[ISU Bio] [GS Fan Fest]

EventSP ScoreFS ScoreTotal Score
Grand Prix Espoo 202274.88
Grand Prix de France 202272.75
Nebelhorn Trophy 202276.19

Mai Mihara (JPN)

Mihara is the top qualifier as she is the only skater to have won her two Grand Prix events. She topped the podium in Sheffield and in Espoo, and won her first gold medals on the circuit after ending up fourth seven times. She also had a silver and a bronze from the circuit, but has never qualified for the Final until now. The two-time and reigning ISU Four Continents Champion sets herself apart with her expressive, fluid style, and she is simply beautiful to watch. Mihara finally seems to have gained more confidence in herself and that translates into more consistent performances. She is certainly a top contender for the podium in Torino and her new free skate to “El Amor Brujo” is certainly an eye catcher.

[ISU Bio] [GS Fan Fest]

EventSP ScoreFS ScoreTotal Score
Grand Prix Espoo 202273.58130.56204.14
MK John Wilson Trophy 2022

Kaori Sakamoto (JPN)

Sakamoto won Skate America and placed second at NHK Trophy on her way to the Grand Prix Final. The reigning World Champion was not at her best at NHK Trophy, but if in form, she will be hard to beat. Sakamoto’s strengths are her speed and power on the ice, and she has also grown as a performer. The Olympic bronze medalist competed in the ISU Grand Prix Final 2018-19 in Torino, coming in fourth. She qualified for the Final a year ago, but the event was cancelled.

[ISU Bio] [GS Fan Fest]

EventSP ScoreFS ScoreTotal Score
NHK Trophy 2022
Skate America 2022
71.72 145.89217.61
Lombardia Trophy 2022

Rinka Watanabe (JPN)

Watanabe was the biggest surprise this season so far and came out of nowhere to strike gold at Skate Canada. The Japanese skater never even competed at the Junior Grand Prix and had placed 10th in her debut at the World Junior Championships 2022. However, she has shown that she is a force to be reckoned with. Watanabe is still lacking experience at this level and made some errors, notably in the short program, in both her Grand Prix events and ranked fifth at NHK Trophy. She is the only senior-level women’s finalist that puts a triple Axel into her routines, but it does not always work.

[ISU Bio] [GS Fan Fest]

EventSP ScoreFS ScoreTotal Score
NHK Trophy 2022
58.36129.71 188.07
Skate Canada 2022
Lombardia Trophy 2022
66.83146.31 213.14

Yelim Kim (KOR)

Kim belongs to the strong group of young Korean skaters that one might call the “heirs” of Olympic Champion Yuna Kim. Inspired by the South Korea’s “queen,” Yelim Kim took up skating and now has grown into a medal-threat at each competition. The 2022 Four Continents bronze medalist and Olympian became the first Korean since Yuna Kim to win an ISU Grand Prix event at NHK Trophy. Before that, she collected the silver at the Grand Prix de France. Kim sometimes makes unnecessary errors, but she will aim at the podium.

[ISU Bio] [GS Fan Fest]

EventSP ScoreFS ScoreTotal Score
NHK Trophy 202272.22132.27204.49
Grand Prix de France 202268.93125.83194.76
Finlandia Trophy 202271.88142.09 213.97
U.S. International Figure Skating Classic 202258.32132.32190.64

Isabeau Levito (USA)

World Junior Champion Isabeau Levito just moved up from the junior ranks this season and made a splash right away. The 15-year-old American includes a triple Lutz-triple loop combination in  her free skate and has shown consistent skating. She has a nice, balletic style that got her to two silver medals at Skate America and MK John Wilson Trophy. Her consistency is her trump card and she will be ready if the opportunity arises, even though she still lacks the power and expression of her older competitors.

[ISU Bio] [GS Fan Fest]

EventSP ScoreFS ScoreTotal Score
MK John Wilson Trophy 2022
Skate America 2022
30th Ondrej Nepela Trophy
65.37 133.62198.99

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