Home Figure Skating News Fa captures gold on home ice at Grand Prix de France

Fa captures gold on home ice at Grand Prix de France

by Paula Slater
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2022 Grand Prix de France Men

Adam Siao Him Fa of France performs his Free Skate at 2022 Grand Prix de France.

2022 Grand Prix de France – Men

Adam Siao Him Fa of France rose from third place to capture the Men’s title at 2022 Grand Prix de France on Saturday night. Japan’s Sota Yamamoto slipped to second overall, while teammate Kazuki Tomono earned the bronze.

Fa produced a very good quad Salchow in the short, but popped a quad to finish third (88.00). In his free skate to music by Cédric Tour and Woodkid, the 2022 Lombardia Trophy Champion turned out the back-end of a quad toe-Euler-triple Salchow, but landed a quad toe-double toe and quad Salchow. He also landed five triple jumps and showed very good level-three footwork that receive high grades of execution (GOE). The 21-year-old scored two new personal bests when he finished first in the free skate (180.98) and overall (268.98).

“I am very proud of myself today,” said the four-time French national silver medalist. “I felt really calm and relaxed during the program. The audience helped me a lot, they were really supportive, and it was really motivating. I’m really happy to win my first Grand Prix. I can see with my team we did a really good job on all the work we did from the beginning. I think I have to continue in this way. I can see I have my place with the best skaters in the world.”

It was the first time a French man has taken a Grand Prix title since Brian Joubert in 2009 (NHK Trophy) and Fa said he was “very proud.”

“Brian Joubert for me was a (role) model,” said Fa. “For the rest of the season I will fight to get better and better and continue to work on my choreography.”

When asked about the similarities of his two programs, Fa explained that his free skate is the second part of a story to his short program, which is to “Rain, In Your Black Eyes”.

Overnight leader Yamamoto landed a beautiful quad toe-triple toe, but slightly underrotated his quad Salchow in the short (92.42). In his free skate to Rachmaninov’s “Piano Concerto No.2,” the 2021 Warsaw Cup Champion fell on a quad Salchow, but landed a solid quad toe-triple toe and solo quad toe. He  popped a triple Axel and received an edge call on a triple Lutz, however, the final two spins were both graded level four with many positive GOEs. The 22-year-old finished third (165.48) in the free skate, but with a total score of 257.90, managed to stay in second place overall. Both scores were a new personal best for the skater from Aichi.

“Of course, up until now, even if I took part in competitions, I couldn’t have a good result,” said Yamamoto, who has had several surgeries after repeated fractures to his right ankle. “At present today, in my condition, I am really happy to be second and now I know there is a lot of room for improvement and I can go higher, so I’m just going to work day by day.”

Yamamoto was asked to reflect on his silver medal after skating as a senior for the past seven years and what it meant for him.

When I was coming up to the senior ranks from juniors, in that year I had my major injury,” he explained. “At that time, I was selected to take part in a Grand Prix (2016-17 season), so it is quite remarkable that I am here in France winning this medal. It is  special for me, and I know I couldn’t have achieved it myself. I have had all the support from my team as well as support from the fans. I’m really grateful for their support—I could have never made it on my own.”

In the short program, Tomono stepped out of his quad toe, but landed a quad Salchow-double toe for second place (89.46). In his free skate to Strauss’ “Die Fledermaus Overture,” the 2022 Four Continents silver medalist landed a quad toe-double toe, but struggled with the rest of the jumps. However, he earned a level four for two spins and his footwork and finished fourth in the free skate (159.31) and third overall (248.77).

“There are some regrets to my performance,” said the 24-year-old from Osaka. “Since last season, whenever there is a medal at stake and I go into my free program, I find it quite difficult. So it is a difficulty I need to overcome and I need to go back to training make sure I deliver the results.”

“The audience was so warm and supportive, just like they were during the World championships,” he added. “I kind of ask myself, ‘is this local’? because that is how supportive the audience was. It really pushed me to do better, so I’m very grateful. I’m very happy to have performed well, and I would be happy if I could provide that joy to the audience, as well.”

Three Grand Prix events have been concluded, and each event had a Japanese skater on the podium. This shows the depth of field in the men’s discipline for Japan, and both Yamamoto and Tomono were asked what their “take-away” was from this event.

“This season I’m trying in practice the quad flip which I did not include in this competition,” said Yamamoto. “Even without the flip, I did made mistakes and I know that it’s not competitive enough yet. With this layout right now, I need to give much better of a performance overall and hopefully I can practice a little bit more to include the flip in the program one day.”

“I believe coming into this season, the Japanese skaters are all doing very well,” noted Tomono. “Anybody could end up at the top of the podium a lot of the younger skaters have many different quads. This season for me to compete, I think my strategy will be that my program layout needs to be perfected. Now of course, next season, I might have to consider two to three different quads and I will probably do that.”

“With this current layout for my program, I want to push my limits and really perfect it, Tomono continued. “Figure skating is not only about triple and quad jumps. I know what my arsenal is, I know what my weapon is, so I know I just have to hone my technique and improve everything I can at this moment to be competitive and score high points.

South Korea’s Sihyeong Lee stood in sixth after a fall on an underrotated quad toe in the short (76.54) where he placed seventh in his Grand Prix debut. However, he finished second after posting a new personal best of 166.08 with his free skate to music from Cyrano de Bergerac after a solid performance. His routine included a quad toe and seven clean triple jumps. The only error was a slightly underrotated triple Axel, but the 2022 Nebelhorn Trophy silver medalist also picked up a level four for his two spins and footwork. His total score of 242.62 was also a new personal best.

This was a solo Grand Prix event for the 21-year-old who has waited for the opportunity for a long time.

“I finally made it!” said Lee. “I’m happy with that. It was tough after I fell on the quad toe in the short. Honestly, I was very disappointed with the short, but I know I can do better. Today I just didn’t think about the short and just focused on the free skating.”

Georgia’s Nika Egadze landed a quad Salchow-triple toe and quad toe in his short (82.44), but doubled and stepped out of a planned triple triple Axel for fourth place. In the free skate, the 2022 Denis Ten Memorial Challenge Champion landed a quad toe-triple toe and quad Salchow, but fell on a quad toe and triple Axel. He finished sixth (150.96) in the free skate and fifth overall with a new personal best of 233.40.

Luc Economides of France finished sixth overall (229.64) ahead of Lukas Britschgi of Switzerland (222.86).

Britschgi has nine points total in the Grand Prix standings after earning five points from Skate Canada.

Fa (15), Yamamoto (13), Tomono (11), and Egadz (9) will meet again on NHK Trophy ice.

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