Mesmerizing Photos of Performances of the Women’s Figure Skating “5 Rising Stars” that is Shimmering on the Ice | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Mesmerizing Photos of Performances of the Women’s Figure Skating “5 Rising Stars” that is Shimmering on the Ice

There are many potential stars to follow in the footsteps of the queen, Kaori Sakamoto, and Mai Mihara!

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The first round of the Figure Skating Grand Prix Series, Skate America, will start on October 20. Last season, Japanese skaters made their presence felt with Mai Mihara (24) winning the GP Final and Kaori Sakamoto (23) winning back-to-back World Championships. How about this season? Figure skating commentator Emi Watanobe says, “This season, Sakamoto, Mihara and Sakamoto’s performances have been very good.”

This season, the highlight is that the young generation following Ms. Sakamoto and Ms. Mihara is developing world-class skaters one after another.

Rinka Watanabe (21), whose stoutheartedness at the World Championships last season became a hot topic when she encouraged her coach Kensuke Nakaniwa, who was overcome with emotion after watching Watanabe’s performance.

Among the fast-growing rising stars, Rinka Watanabe (21, TOKIO Incarcerami/Hosei University) is probably the one to watch the most. Last year, she won her first competition at the GP series in Skate Canada. She also advanced to the GP Finals on the strength of her victory.

She was selected for the national team for the first time at the age of 20, a rare late bloomer and hard worker in figure skating. She overcame a serious knee injury that required the transplant of cartilage in her hip, to reach the world stage. Although she finished a close 10th in her first World Championships, she is expected to do well based on her highly accomplished jumps.

Aina Kawabe (18) showed tears of joy after a disappointing result at the Gensan Summer Cup in August. She is determined to make a comeback.

Aina Kawabe (Mana), 18, of Chukyo University, stands out for her achievements. She competed in the Beijing Olympics in 2022 at the age of 17, but suffered from a poor performance last year. A reporter from the previous issue continued,

She showed rapid growth during the Olympic season, and I think she suffered a physical reaction. After the Beijing Olympics, she studied under coach Mihoko Higuchi, who coached Masama Uno (25) and others. She has been working on her expressive ability, which has been an issue for her. If she can perfect her triple axel more than she did at the Olympics, she will be able to be a top-ranked skater this season.

Rion Sumiyoshi (20) scored 200 points for the first time in her career at the Tokyo Summer Figure in August. She will enter the GP Series in her second season with an impressive mark.

Some athletes are trying to take a further leap forward by incorporating into their programs the highly difficult “quadruple,” in which Russian athletes excel. Rinon Sumiyoshi (20), a member of Oriental Bio/Meiji University, is one of them.

She has been trying quadruple toeloops for the past two years, and is very close to succeeding. She has outstandingly long arms and legs, and her ability to perform visually appealing is also a weapon.

YOSHIDA Hina (18), a gem who has been attracting attention since junior high school, has finally made the switch to the senior ranks! Her free skate performance this season is a crane-conscious program.

The two who have made a full-fledged switch to seniors this season are also expected to make an immediate impact. Hana Yoshida, 18, plans to take on Skate America with the momentum from winning the Kinki Championships in October.

A reporter from the sports department of another newspaper said.

“Hana succeeded in a triple axel when she was in junior high school, and she was regarded as a girl prodigy. However, when she was in the doldrums due to injury, she met coach Mie Hamada, who led Rika Kihira (21) to the GP Final victory, and under her guidance, she recovered. This season, she is expected to incorporate a total of three triple axels in the short and free skating.”

Another skater who has been gaining recognition for her graceful skating is Chiba Momone (18), a junior in high school like Yoshida.

Chiba Momone, 18, started competing at Ice Rink Sendai, which was Yuzuru Hanyu’s home rink. She is a student at Tohoku High School, the same school as Yuzuru Hanyu.

She is a legitimate skater with a solid foundation in skating, while many skaters put more emphasis on jumps. He and Yoshida are teammates and rivals at Kinoshita Academy. They have built a friendly rivalry. You can’t help but admire the beauty of his speedy skating before he moves to jumps.

Which of the rising stars will sparkle on the ice for the Olympics in two and a half years?

From the October 27, 2023 issue of “FRIDAY

  • PHOTO Kyodo News (Watanabe, Kawabe) Getty Images (Sumiyoshi) Nikkan Sports (Yoshida ) Sankei Shimbun (Chiba)

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