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Rio Nakata Captures Silver at the World Junior Championships

In earning a runner-up finish at the World Junior Championships, 15-year-old Nakata was nearly flawless after an early miscue in Taipei.



World Junior Championships
Rio Nakata competes in the men's free skate at the 2024 ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships in Taipei on March 2. (AP/via KYODO)

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Rio Nakata came up just short in his bid for gold and had to settle for silver despite a valiant effort in his free skate at the World Junior Championships at Taipei Arena on Saturday night, March 2.

The 15-year-old vaulted from fifth place after the short program and moved into the lead after his performance, only to see South Korea's Minkyu Seo edge him by just over one point for the title as the final skater of the evening.

Seo's winning total score was 230.75 points, while Nakata tallied 229.31 in second. Slovakia's Adam Hagara finished with 225.61 to get the bronze.

World Junior Championships
Men's world junior champion Minkyu Seo (center), silver medalist Rio Nakata (left) and third-place finisher Adam Hagara stand during the medal ceremony at Taipei Arena. (©ISU)

Shunsuke Nakamura came all the way from 10th place after the short program to place fourth with 215.46, while Haru Kakiuchi ended up 17th on 192.82.

Seo Keeps Poise Under Pressure at World Junior Championships

Seo led Nakata by almost three points after the short program on Thursday, and needed all of that margin to top the podium this night. 


The 15-year-old from Daegu competed to "Notre Dame De Paris" and began with a triple axel/double toe loop combination jump. Then he singled his planned triple axel on the next jump, which appeared to open the door for Nakata have a shot at the gold.

But Seo dug deep and kept his poise, moving through the rest of his program with no significant errors. He also landed seven triples and notched level fours on all of his spins.

"It feels so amazing," Seo stated after his victory. "I want to thank my parents, who made this possible. It was not always easy for me to find the facilities to train, so I am really thankful to them."

Added Seo, "After I popped the second axel I felt a bit embarrassed, but I still had too many elements to go and focus on. I knew I had the possibility to win and be the first Korean [man] to win junior worlds, but I tried not to think about it and stayed calm."

World Junior Championships
World Junior Championships men's runner-up Rio Nakata (KYODO)

Hard Charge Nearly Nets Nakata Gold

Nakata, who was victorious at the Junior Grand Prix Final in December 2023 in Beijing, won the free skate with a dynamic effort. He skated to a James Bond Medley, and after over-rotating his opening quadruple toe loop and having to step out on the landing, was nearly flawless with the rest of his elements. 

Nakata landed seven clean triple jumps and earned level fours on all of his spins.

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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