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[ICE TIME] World Championships Preview: Shoma Uno and Kaori Sakamoto to Vie for Three-Peats

Uno is seeking to match Patrick Chan's accomplishment (2011-13), while Sakamoto is aiming to equal Peggy Fleming's feat (1966-68) at the world championships.



world championships
Two-time world champions Shoma Uno (left) and Kaori Sakamoto return to the spotlight at the 2024 ISU World Figure Skating Championships in Montreal, Canada. (©SANKEI, KYODO)

Read the full story on SportsLook - [ICE TIME] World Championships Preview: Shoma Uno and Kaori Sakamoto to Vie for Three-Peats

Defending world champions Shoma Uno and Kaori Sakamoto will be looking to retain their crowns for the third straight year when the world championships get underway at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada, this week.

After a couple of days of official practices, the action will commence with the pairs and women's short programs on Wednesday afternoon, March 20. The men's short program will follow on Thursday, March 21.

Uno will be seeking his first victory in the 2023-24 season at an ISU event. The 26-year-old will have to find a way to beat American Ilia Malinin to do it. Uno finished second behind the 19-year-old Malinin at the Grand Prix Final in Beijing in December 2023. He was also second at both of his GP assignments this campaign.

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Shoma Uno (©SANKEI)

Malinin's jumping prowess has created a gap that Uno is having difficulty overcoming. Uno has not competed since winning the Japan Championships for the sixth time in December. He has no doubt used the time to practice additional quadruple jumps to employ in his free skate in Canada.

At the World Figure Skating Championships, Uno will need to skate two clean programs and hope Malinin makes some mistakes to have a legitimate chance at defeating the rising star. A third straight title for Uno would mark the first time in 11 years the feat has been achieved. Canada's Patrick Chan was the last do it, in 2011-13.

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Yuma Kagiyama (©SANKEI)

Kagiyama and Miura Also Vying for Men's Medals at the World Championships

Japan will have a good chance for multiple medals in the men's event, with Beijing Olympic silver medalist Yuma Kagiyama back to full health and looking good during his triumph at the Four Continents Championships in February. He was third at the GP Final behind Malinin and Uno.


Kao Miura is the third men's skater for the Hinomaru and he can also challenge for the podium with his speed and big jumps. The 18-year-old Miura, the 2023 world junior champion, has been eyeing his first senior worlds for the past two seasons and will certainly be fired up to be competing there.

Other potential medal contenders for the men include two-time European champion Adam Siao Him Fa of France and 2023's world silver medalist Jun Hwan Cha of South Korea, who has been out of form this season but could pull a surprise like he did last year.

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Kaori Sakamoto (KYODO)

Sakamoto Looks to Join Fleming with Three Consecutive Wins

Sakamoto is the clear favorite in the women's competition and will be looking to etch her name in the record books if she can take the gold again. A victory by the 23-year-old Sakamoto would make her the first female skater to win the worlds three years in a row since American Peggy Fleming did in 1966-68.

Sakamoto is a level above all of her competitors at this point, and barring an injury, should emerge victorious again. She has won every competition she has entered this season.

Continue reading the full story 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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