Home Figure Skating News Kao Miura takes five-point lead

Kao Miura takes five-point lead

by Paula Slater
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Kao Miura

Japan’s Kao Miura performs his Short Program at the 2023 Four Continents Figure Skating Championships.

2023 Four Continents Figure Skating Championships
Men’s Short Program

Japan’s Kao Miura took a five-point lead in the Men’s Short Program at the 2023 Four Continents Figure Skating Championships on Thursday. Keegan Messing of Canada is in second with USA’s Jimmy Ma right on his heels by 0.06 points.

Miura struggled with his opening quad Salchow, missing the triple toe for the combo, but added it later to a quad toe. His routine to tango routine to music by Astor Piazzolla also featured a smooth triple Axel with earned hoards of high grades of execution (GOE). Last year’s bronze medalist picked up a level four for two spins and earned 91.90 points.

“I made a mistake on my Salchow, but I was able to add the triple toe at the end (quad toe), so I was able to keep my mistakes at a minimum,” Miura pointed out. “The short program has been my forte in international competition, but at nationals, I ended up in 13th place. In the free program, I hope I can skate a good one and show Beauty and the Beast at my best!”

Messing fell on his opening quad toe, but quickly recovered to land a solid triple Axel and triple Lutz-triple toe. The 2022 Nebelhorn Trophy Champion also received high GOEs on his spins, two of which were graded a level four in his routine to “Grace Kelly” by Mika. He scored the highest program component score of the night and received a new season’s best of 86.70 for his efforts.

“This program is so much fun to perform!” said the 31-year-old. “I can go out here with my head up high and forget about the first 20 seconds of it. I try my hardest not to think about the end of my career. On one hand, I can’t wait for it to be done, but I also can’t imagine myself stopping. My kids broke me, tears are coming far too easy now!”

Ma landed a quad toe, triple Lutz-triple toe, and triple Axel in his “Black Swan” routine. However, the Lutz received an edge call and the Axel was a quarter underrotated. Nevertheless, all spins and footwork received a level four and he scored a new personal best of 86.64.

“It feels amazing!” said Ma. “The short program has been a battle for me all season, so I tried this program again as I love it! The good free program at nationals was an amazing motivator for this event.”

Boyang Jin of China, who now trains with Brian Orser and Tracy Wilson, made his season debut at this event after withdrawing from his Grand Prix events due to injury. In his short to Seven Nation Army, the skater landed a quad toe, triple Axel and  triple Lutz-triple toe. Two spins were graded a level four, while the footwork was a scored a level two. The two-time World bronze medalists scored 85.32 points for fourth place.

“It is better than I expected,” said Jin. “I’ve been preparing for this competition as soon as I got back on the ice. The time is so tight. I have been systematically training for only about two months. I started from bad triple jumps to what happened today. I think that’s pretty fast recovery!”

Jin feels good about his score, but admits that he’s still not in the best shape and needs more recover.

“I hope this is a kind of motivation to the free skating,” said the 25-year-old from Harbin. “I just wish I can finish the free skating. I felt really unwell starting from the second jump.”

The skater is thrilled with his move to Canada and wanted to thank the Chinese team for sending him there to train.

“Brian (Orser) and Tracy (Wilson) take good care of me,” said Jin. “I was too rushed after the surgery. Then the illness came back. Also I changed my skating boots. I only finished the choreography in December. It was pretty difficult, but the recovery was fast. I got COVID-19 twice in the last two months. The physical condition was terrible. This is a brand new start. I didn’t consider this time as a competition, but a test for my collaboration with my team.”

South Korea’s Junhwan Cha landed a quad Salchow, but the fell on the triple Luz-triple loop. He landed the triple Axel, but it was a quarter turn underrotated. Despite the errors, the defending champion showed quality level-four spins and footwork, scoring 83.77 points for fifth place.

“At the beginning, there was something on the ice, so I picked it up and gave it to the judges,” said Cha. “I really worked hard before getting here, practices here were super good. I hardly made mistakes on my jumps, so I am a little disappointed with the fall. I want to skate the free program for myself and just give my best and fight!”

Shun Sato of Japan is currently sixth (80.81), followed by Canada’s Conrad Orzel (80.09).

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