16-year-old Japanese star Rika Kihira wins Grand Prix Final
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Teenage Japanese star Rika Kihira won the Grand Prix Final women’s title Saturday.
The 16-year-old had a combined score of 233.12, despite stumbling on a jump in her free skate. The score topped her career best of 224.31 set last month in Japan in her NHK Trophy victory.
“My failures from the past seasons really motivated me to do well,” Kihira said through a translator. “I promised myself that I would remember them and never repeat those mistakes again.”
Olympic champion Alina Zagitova of Russia, also 16, was second at 226.53 points.
“The first senior season is easier than the second one,” Zagitova said through a translator. “Because when you go out the first time, there are no expectations, no one expects anything and you can just got and skate.”
Fellow Russian Elizaveta Tuktamysheva was third at 215.32.
The women’s competition was made up entirely of skaters from Japan and Russia.
Americans Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue won the ice dance, finishing with 205.35 points. They spent the last five weeks completely revamping their programs.
“We knew that to reach to the highest level and reach that world championship title, we had to stop being afraid and just start going for it when it counts,” Hubbell said.
Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov of Russia were second at 201.37, and Italy’s Charlene Guignard and Marco Fabbri followed at 198.65.
Vanessa James and Morgan Cipres of France came from behind to take the gold in the pairs event.
Cheng Peng and Yang Jin of China took silver with 216.90 points, while Russians Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov came in third with a score of 214.20.
On Friday night, American Nathan Chen won the men’s event.