S. Korea places 2 inside top 10 at figure skating worlds for 1st time

Teen figure skaters You Young and Lee Hae-in have made a piece of South Korean sports history in France, with both cracking the top 10 at the annual world championships.

You finished fifth overall in the women’s singles at the International Skating Union (ISU) World Figure Skating Championships with 204.91 points in Montpellier, France, on Friday (local time). She had the sixth-best free skate score Friday with 132.83 points.

Lee ended up seventh overall with 196.55 points, after posting the seventh-best free skate score with 132.39 points.

This gave South Korea two figure skaters inside the top 10 at the world championships for the first time.
You, 17, became only the second South Korean to finish in the top five since Kim Yu-na, the retired legend who captured two golds, two silvers and two bronzes at the annual competition. Lee, 16, enjoyed her second consecutive top-10 showing after finishing 10th a year ago.

With these results, South Korea has secured three quota places in the women’s singles for next year’s world championships. Under the ISU rules, if the combined ranking position of two skaters is 13 or higher, then their country grabs three spots for the following year. If the number is between 14 and 28, then the country is awarded two spots.

You had finished sixth at the Beijing Winter Olympics last month, with three Russian skaters, including gold and silver medalists, Anna Shcherbakova and Alexandra Trusova, ahead of her. And with all Russian athletes banned in France following their country’s invasion of Ukraine, the path to the podium seemed wide open for You at Sud de France Arena.

You ranked fourth after the short program with 72.08 points, as she played it safe and did away with her high-risk, high-reward triple axel.

In the free skate, You went back to the triple axel but ended up losing points for under-rotating the jump. She also had an incomplete, quarter landing with her triple lutz-triple toe loop combination.

You never even got to complete her next jump element, a triple loop. Her feet got tangled up in the air immediately after the takeoff, and she was only credited with a single loop.

You settled down with a succession of clean jumps, step sequence and spins. But she was later called for under-rotation on a triple toe loop and fell on the landing of a triple flip.

You earned 65.70 points in the total element score (TES) for her technical performance and 68.13 points in the program component score (PCS) for her artistry and choreography.

Lee received four quarter-landing rulings, including on the latter jump of her opening triple lutz-triple toe loop combination. She later lost points for taking off on the wrong edge on her triple flip.

Lee made up for these miscues with clean spins and step sequence. She had 68.27 points in TES and 64.12 points in PCS.

Kaori Sakamoto of Japan, the reigning Olympic bronze medalist, won her first world title with 236.09 points overall. Loena Hendrickx of Belgium finished as the runner-up with 217.70 points, and Alysa Liu of the United States took the bronze with 211.19 points.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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