Kaori Sakamoto & You Young, the “Heroines of the Season” in the Figure World | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Kaori Sakamoto & You Young, the “Heroines of the Season” in the Figure World

All eyes are on these two! Figure Skating Women's "NHK Cup" Opens: Next Generation Star Candidates from Japan, Korea and Russia Gather

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Sakamoto has put a lot of effort into building up his body with the Covid-19 disaster. He will aim for a higher score by jumping more jumps in the second half of the season, when his base points will be higher.

The fourth round of the Grand Prix (GP) series, NHK Cup, will be held on the 12th of this month. However, Rika Kihira (19) announced on April 5, one week before the event, that she would not compete due to her right ankle injury, which was not fully healed. This meant that the ace would be absent from this important domestic event.

However, amidst this situation, there is one player who has risen to become the new ace. This is Kaori Sakamoto (21), who finished second to Kihei at the All-Japan Championships held at the end of last year.

When she was three years old, she saw a TV series called “Teruteru Kazoku” on NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation). She says she loves Yoshimoto Shinkigeki and yakiniku (grilled meat), and always eats meat dishes as a wish before competitions. Her greatest weapon is her powerful skating. Emi Watabe, a former member of the Japanese women’s national figure skating team, explains her appeal.

“She has a sense of speed and horsepower. At last year’s All-Japan Championships, she won the highest rating of Level 4 in all steps and spins. Her jumps are also attractive. At last year’s NHK Cup, he won points with his high and beautiful jumps, including his triple Lutz.

Sakamoto’s biggest rival at the NHK Cup is You Young (17), the South Korean ace who is regarded as “the successor to Kim Yona.

She is the first of the generation called “Yona Kids” who started skating out of admiration for Kim Yona, and became the first Korean skater to pull off a triple axel, which attracted a lot of attention. She is the first Korean skater to pull off a triple axel, and has attracted attention. Since becoming the youngest Korean champion at the age of 11 years and 7 months in 2004, she has been growing steadily, winning the first medal for a Korean in 11 years at the Four Continents Championships held in her hometown in 2008.

At the first round of the GP series in the U.S. in October, the two had their first head-to-head competition of the season. What will happen in the second showdown between the Japanese and Korean aces?

Although they will not be competing in the NHK Cup, Russia, a major figure skating nation, has been showing new stars one after another. Camilla Waliyeva (15), known as “Zagitova II,” is the first of them, and she scored 265.08 points at the GP series in Canada, the highest score in her career. Alexandra Trusova, 17, can jump four different quadruple jumps.

“Alexandra Trusova (17) can do four different quadruple jumps, and Alexandra has a high level of stability in her steps and spins, as well as quadruple jumps. She has such a high level of consistency in her quadruple jumps, as well as in her steps and spins, that she has earned the nickname “Despair,” a reference to the fact that her opponents have no choice but to give up on her. Also, Trusova, as the ‘Queen of the Four Rotations,’ jumped five four rotations in the free skate this season and landed all of them for the first time in women’s history.

Who will win the gold medal at the Beijing Olympics next February, and become the heroine of this season?

You Young is unbeatable in Korea, having won the Korean championships three times in a row. In Korea, she is said to be a sure bet for the Beijing Olympics.

From “FRIDAY” November 26, 2021 issue

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