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[JAPAN SPORTS NOTEBOOK] Yuma Kagiyama Triumphs at the Four Continents

Kagiyama built a big lead after the short program at the Four Continents, and that continued in the free skate. He won the title by more than 30 points.



Four Continents
Yuma Kagiyama performs his rendition of "Rain, in Your Black Eyes" in the men's free skate at the Four Continents Championships on February 3, 2024, in Shanghai. (KYODO)

Read the full story on SportsLook - [JAPAN SPORTS NOTEBOOK] Yuma Kagiyama Triumphs at the Four Continents

Yuma Kagiyama, silver medalist at the 2022 Beijing Olympics, won his first figure skating competition of 2024, the Four Continents Championships, on Saturday night, February 3 in Shanghai. 

Holding a huge lead after the men's short program, Kagiyama also won Saturday's free skate and finished on top with 307.58 points.

Japanese compatriot Shun Sato, who was third in the free skate after finishing second in the short program (99.20 points), held on for the runner-up spot with 274.59 overall points. South Korea's Junhwan Cha earned the bronze on 272.95.

Four Continents
Shun Sato (KYODO)

Sota Yamamoto, fourth-place finisher in both programs, was the top non-medalist on the night at 263.43. China's Boyang Jin (256.89) rounded out the top five at the Shanghai Oriental Sports Center.

For the 20-year-old Kagiiyama, the 2023-24 Grand Prix season has been a solid overall endeavor. He placed third in the Grand Prix de France in early November 2023, followed by a victory in the NHK Trophy in late November in Kadoma, Osaka, Prefecture and a third-place finish in the Grand Prix Final in December in Beijing. 

In addition, Kagiyama was the runner-up at the Japan Championships in late December.

Four Continents
Yuma Kagiyama in action during the men's free skate at the Four Continents. (KYODO)

Strong Start in Free Skate Helps Propel Kagiyama to Four Continents Victory

For Kagiyama, a superb opening quadruple salchow was a good omen for him on Saturday night.

It wasn't a perfect performance, but Kagiyama's poise throughout the free skate was a sign of his maturation as an athlete. 

What's more, his all-around skills as a skater were on display throughout the event. For instance, he received 93.48 points for his Four Continents program components (artistry) in the free skate, second only to his career-best effort of 93.94 for that portion scoring in the free skate at the Beijing Olympics.

"In today's free skate, although I was unable to land the quad flip cleanly, I was able to recover and land all my remaining jumps," Kagiyama said, according to Olympics.com. "I am very happy with that and it gives me great calmness."

Four Continents
Four Continents men's champion Yuma Kagiyama (KYODO)

He continued by saying, "Although I've performed well here, there is still the world championships to come, and I will keep working hard to perform well there."

The 2024 World Figure Skating Championships will be held in Montreal, Canada, March 18-24.

Miura, Kihara Earns Pairs Silver at Four Continents

Reigning world champions Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara of Japan placed second in the pairs competition at the Four Continents on Saturday.


Canada's Deanna Stellato-Dudek and Maxime Deschamps, who held nearly a four-point lead over the Japanese duo after Thursday's short program, placed first with 198.80 points.

In the free skate, the Canadian pair outscored Miura and Kihara 129.32 to 125.16.

Miura and Kihara finished with 190.77 points.

Ellie Kam and Danny O'Shea of the United States claimed the bronze (187.28).


Continue reading the full story, which includes news items on soccer, baseball and more, on SportsLook.

Author: Ed Odeven

Find Ed on JAPAN Forward's dedicated website, SportsLook. Follow his [Japan Sports Notebook] on Sundays, [Odds and Evens] during the week, and X (formerly Twitter) @ed_odeven


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