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Skating Worlds: third coronation for Kaori Sakamoto

Japanese Kaori Sakamoto won the World Figure Skating Championships in Montreal on Friday, her third world title in a row, a feat that had not been achieved by a woman since the American Peggy Fleming between 1966 and 1968.

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Skating Worlds: third coronation for Kaori Sakamoto

Japanese Kaori Sakamoto won the World Figure Skating Championships in Montreal on Friday, her third world title in a row, a feat that had not been achieved by a woman since the American Peggy Fleming between 1966 and 1968.

However, for the third year in a row, the Worlds are taking place without the Russians, who are generally used to the podiums.

Kaori Sakamoto is ahead of the American Isabeau Levito (212.16 points), who arrived in Montreal after having experienced an up-and-down season, with 222.96 points, followed by the South Korean Chaeyeon Kim (203.59 points).

“I was only fourth after the short program so I was anxious,” said Kaori Sakamoto after her victory.

“But today I was in a very good emotional state and I managed to manage the tension,” she continued, before slipping into a smile “I am very, very happy”.

Crowned with the best score of the season, the 23-year-old skater scared herself with an unconvincing short program, marked by two errors.

But on Friday, carried by the warm and suave voice of Lauryn Hill singing “Feeling good”, the Japanese showed all her talent, igniting the stands of the Bell Center, the home of the Montreal Canadiens ice hockey team.

Same enthusiasm for the young American Isabeau Levito, greatly applauded by the Canadian audience who ended up standing at the end of her performance.

Very gently and gracefully, the 2022 junior world champion achieved her best performance of the season in the free program. And finished her performance, hands on her head, with a surprised pout, almost seeming astonished at her own display of strength.

On the other hand, big disappointment for the Belgian Loena Hendrickx (200.25 points) who found herself at the foot of the podium even though she had dominated the short program. The reigning European champion hoped to become the first Belgian to win in the discipline but she fell during her free program.

A misstep which allowed the discreet Chaeyeon Kim to climb to the last step of the podium after a solid performance.

“I want to show a more mature appearance,” she said shortly before. “I'm a little more relaxed now, and I want people to remember me as a hard-working skater.”

A few hours earlier, Americans Madison Chock and Evan Bates took the lead in the rhythm dance.

On the established theme of the 80s, the American pair, undefeated this season, played with the public and put on a show to the sound of hits from the group Queen.

In the absence of Olympic champions Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron who are taking a break from their careers, the two French tandems produced two solid performances.

With their program inspired by Mylène Farmer, Evgenia Lopareva and Geoffrey Brissaud beat their personal best to reach 80.01 points, synonymous with seventh place. Loïcia Demougeot and Théo Le Mercier are in 11th position (75.74 points).

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