Russia secures top two places in the women’s figure skating short program on Tuesday. However, Japan’s Kaori Sakamoto put herself into contention with a wonderful performance that secured her bronze.
Sakamoto scored 79.84 points, while her countrywoman Wakaba Higuchi also kept the Russian Olympic Committee athletes with a skate that was awarded 73.51, good enough for fifth.
On Tuesday, Kamila Valieva of the Russian Olympic Committee shook off the doping controversy that has engulfed her to score 82.16 and take the lead. Her teammate, Anna Shcherbakova came in second and received 80.20.
The other Russian athlete Alexandra Trusova, was knocked off the provisional podium by Sakamoto, however there remains a medal threat with her 74.60.
Sakamoto opened with a double axel and then went up with three triples, such as a flip-toe loop combination.
Japan’s Higuchi had three flawlessly performed triples, an axel, a lutz-toe loop combination and a flip but did not approach her personal best in the segment of 79.73 set in late 2021.
The 21-year-old combined her jumps with an expressive performance.
Japan’s Mana Kawabe early in the evening’s skating earned a place in the free skate with a 62.69 score. On her first jump, she fell in a tangle of legs, a triple axel, but completed her skate with a fine triple lutz-triple toe loop combination and a triple flip.
17 year old Kawabe, has already had a Grand Prix podium this season when she finished second at the NHK Trophy with personal best short and total scores. She held the provisional highest score for a period before sliding down to 15th.