Kaori Sakamoto becomes 1st woman to win 3 straight figure skating world titles in 56 years


Japan’s Kaori Sakamoto made history in Montreal on Friday by clinching her third consecutive world title in figure skating, becoming the first woman in 56 years to achieve a three-peat.

Key points:

  • Sakamoto, 23, finished the International Skating Union’s (ISU) World Figure Skating Championships at Montreal's Bell Center with a final score of 222.96. She beat American figure skater Isabeau Levito (212.16) and South Korea's Kim Chae Yeon (203.59), who took the second and third place, respectively.

  • Her win marked the first time a woman took home three consecutive world titles since American Peggy Fleming's three-peat from 1966 to 1968.

The details:

  • While Sakamoto placed fourth in the short program on Wednesday, her free skate to "Wild Is The Wind/Feeling Good" by Lauryn Hill, which was combined with a double axel and a triple Lutz, helped pushed her to the No. 1 spot in the finals on Friday.

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  • The Japanese figure skater won her first title at the World Figure Skating Championships in Montpellier, France, in March 2022. She then became the first Japanese woman Japanese woman to ever defend her world title in Saitama, Japan, in 2023.

  • In addition to her world title, Sakamoto reportedly emerged victorious in every international competition she entered this season, securing the Grand Prix Final gold medal in Beijing and claiming her third consecutive Japanese national championship, both of which occurred in December.

What she’s saying:

  • Speaking to reporters, Sakamoto admitted that she got anxious on Friday after finishing fourth in the short program. She noted that she was in a “really good place emotionally” when she entered the free skate program, noting, “I was able to calm down today. I was able to keep focused and do my elements one after the other and I am happy with this result.”

  • Sakamoto also admitted that she made some mistakes in her routine. Expressing her disappointment to reporters, she noted, “I didn’t feel bad nerves today, I was actually feeling relaxed. I was like, ‘too much practice’ and couldn’t switch properly to ‘competition mode.’”

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