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[ICE TIME] For Kaori Sakamoto, Sublime Skating Sets Her Apart

Three-time world champ Kaori Sakamoto is on a different level than her peers, and what has always set her apart is her strength, speed and mental fortitude.



Kaori Sakamoto
Kaori Sakamoto dazzles the crowd during her free skate routine at the 2024 ISU World Figure Skating Championships on March 22 in Montreal, Canada. (Eric Bolte/USA TODAY SPORTS)

Read the full story on SportsLook - [ICE TIME] For Kaori Sakamoto, Sublime Skating Sets Her Apart

Kaori Sakamoto made history when she won her third straight world title on March 22 in Montreal, Canada. 

In doing so, the 23-year-old star became the first woman to claim three consecutive world crowns in 56 years, since American Peggy Fleming did it from 1966-68.

Ice Time has been covering Sakamoto since early in her days as a junior and what has always set her apart from her competitors is her strength, speed and mental fortitude. She is a powerful jumper, who is faster than the other skaters, and tougher.

Kaori Sakamoto
Kaori Sakamoto (Eric Bolte/USA TODAY SPORTS)

Kaori Sakamoto Never Lost Her Composure

The Kobe native didn't let her result in the short program at the world championships, where she finished fourth, affect her drive for a third gold.

"I felt a bit anxious before my short program, and unfortunately, that manifested in my performance," Sakamoto noted. "Although I experienced a range of emotions before my free program, I'm happy that I maintained my composure and completed my skate."

Sakamoto, who was the bronze medalist at the 2022 Beijing Olympics, said keeping her cool on the ice during her free skate was crucial to her victory.


"Despite the excitement that arose from the audience's enthusiasm after the triple combo, I made sure I didn't get carried away and skated with composure," Sakamoto stated. "I skated well from the beginning of the season and I feel like I gained confidence going into next season."

Sakamoto's big jumps and blazing speed were on full display in her win. Watching Sakamoto's skating and comparing it to those of many of her competitors made it seem as if they were skating in slow motion.

It is clear that at this time Sakamoto is on a different level than the other skaters. She took the title in Canada by more than 10 points and with a stronger short program the margin could have been even greater. Unless and until a strong challenger emerges, it's Kaori's world.

Continue reading the full story, with insights from and about several other skaters who participated in the world championships, on SportsLook.


Author: Jack Gallagher

The author is a veteran sports journalist and one of the world's foremost figure skating experts. Find articles and podcasts by Jack on his author page, and find him on X (formerly Twitter) @sportsjapan.


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