(VIDEO) Kaori Sakamoto got a deduction but she still won. ISU Finnish Grand Prix 2023 in Espoo

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The women’s program at the Finnish Grand Prix was disappointing with its short program. The hope that the numerous mistakes could be linked to acclimatization or lack of time on the local ice and the possibility of recovery for the free skating category had almost faded. Unfortunately, these expectations were not met.

The only positive moment on the second day of the tournament was Amber Glenn’s performance. After failures at Skate America, the American did not have high hopes in Espoo. The beginning of her performance did not bode well, but Glenn pulled herself together, demonstrating excellent jumps, a high level of difficulty in spins and an emotional step track. This overshadowed the earlier difficulties, leaving a pleasing impression. Her score of 133.78 points was a new personal record.

This result lifted the American woman up several positions in the overall standings. With each unsuccessful performance of her rivals, Amber improved her position. In front of her were Eun Yoo from Korea, Lorin Schild from France and Starr Andrews from the USA. Despite the good performance of the top three from the previous stages, Glenn was able to overtake them when Chae Eun Kim started to make mistakes.

Rion Sumieshi, who became the oldest female figure skater with a quadruple jump a few weeks ago, was unable to build on her success in Espoo. Her jump failed and ended up landing on two legs. Her entire skate was tense, with many mistakes on triple jumps, loss of basic position on combined spins and a fall on the rittberger. Despite this, she managed to hold on to the silver medal with a performance score of 121.56 points, which miraculously secured her a place on the podium and almost guaranteed her participation in the Grand Prix Final.

Kaori Sakamoto could only lose to herself at this tournament, especially after the failures of her opponents. Visually she looked great, except for a small error on the final triple rittberger. However, the judges’ scores, including strict marks for technical details, surprised everyone. Sakamoto received 135.52 points for her nearly flawless roll, which was an unexpectedly high score. The judges commented on a noticeable error on the triple lutz and an under-twist on the salchow, and also evaluated the components strictly, which added extra points. In the end, she held the lead despite a deduction for exceeding her performance time.

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