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Mao Shimada Wins Gold and Yo Takagi Gets Bronze at the Winter Youth Olympics

Despite a flurry of jump issues, Winter Youth Olympics champion Mao Shimada extended her incredible streak of victories in international competitions to nine.

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Winter Youth Olympics
Gold medalist Mao Shimada (left) and third-place finisher Yo Takagi display their medals after the women's free skate at the Winter Youth Olympics on January 30, 2024, in Gangneung, South Korea. (OIS/via KYODO)

Read the full story on SportsLook - Mao Shimada Wins Gold and Yo Takagi Gets Bronze at the Winter Youth Olympics

The mark of a true champion is one who can prevail when they are not at their best. And that was the case on Tuesday, January 30 as world junior titlist Mao Shimada held on to her lead after the short program despite three under-rotations in her free skate and emerged with the gold medal at the Winter Youth Olympics in South Korea.

Skating before an audience at Gangneung Ice Arena that included 2010 Olympic champion Yuna Kim and IOC president Thomas Bach, the 15-year-old Shimada added yet another noteworthy triumph to her resume with a five-point victory over South Korean rival Jia Shin.

Shimada's winning total score was 196.99 points, with Shin moving up from third after the short program to claim the silver with 191.83 and Shimada's compatriot Yo Takagi capturing the bronze on 183.20.

Shin's teammate Yuseong Kim came in fourth with 181.53.

The win by Shimada gave Japan its third gold ever in figure skating at the Winter Youth Olympics, with the young star joining Yuma Kagiyama (2020) and Sota Yamamoto (2016) on that rare list.

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Winter Youth Olympics
Mao Shimada competes in the women's free skate at the Winter Youth Olympics on January 30. (OIS/via KYODO)

Shimada Recovers From a Rough Start

Shimada skated to "Benedictus" and got off to a rough start as her opening triple axel was judged one quarter rotation short. The Kyoto native then fell on her quadruple toe loop, and was dinged on both ends of her triple lutz/triple toe loop combination jump, where she was a quarter short on the front end and under-rotated the back end.

Shimada received two more under-rotations on the first two legs of her three-combination jump (triple salchow/triple toe loop/double toe loop), but despite the miscues she was carried to victory by a strong second half of her routine and her program component scores. She received level fours on all of her spins.

It is unclear what prompted the flurry of jump issues for Shimada, but she did have a rough go of it during the six-minute warmup preceding the free skate. Nevertheless, when all was said and done, she was on top of the podium once again, extending her incredible streak of victories in international competitions to nine.

Continue reading the full story on SportsLook.

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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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