Breakout star Rika Kihira eyes repeat of Stunning Skating Season
Following her incredible debut season on the senior international circuit, teenage star Rika Kihira said she is preparing to take the figure skating world by storm once again by expanding her repertoire of jumps during the offseason. The 16-year-old Japanese had a sensational start to her senior career this …
The teenager said she hopes to include one quad to her free program in addition to one triple axel, with one in the first half of the routine and the other later. She also revealed that she takes Japan’s double Olympic men’s champ Yuzuru Hanyu’s “beautiful” quad jumps as a model to emulate.
“I want to be able to nail a quad jump before the start of next season,” she said. “I need to build up not only my core strength but my lower body as well.”
“(Hanyu’s) jumps have a flow to them with no wasted energy.”
One highlight of this past season was striking gold at December’s Grand Prix Final in Vancouver. There she became the first Japanese since her idol Mao Asada in 2005 to top the podium in her Final debut.
Kihira scored 6.59 points more than Pyeongchang Olympic champ Alina Zagitova in the competition between the Grand Prix circuit’s six top women skaters. She claimed the lead in the short program and then consolidated with the top-scoring free program to lock in victory.
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