This Stunning Figure Skating Program Took My Breath Away, One-Handed Cartwheel and All


It’s time for the World Figure Skating Championships (the most wonderful time of the year) and out of all the mesmerizing routines we’ve seen so far, Rika Kihira’s short program is the one I can’t stop watching.

Kihira, the Japanese national champion, showed up to impress. She went for the ever-challenging triple axel for her first jump (which may have been under-rotated) and peppered the rest of her program with triple lutzes and triple flips, but the move that made my jaw drop was the one-handed cartwheel, known as one of Kihira’s signatures. The entire routine is strong, graceful, and powerful, set to the crescendoing soundtrack of Jennifer Thomas’s “The Fire Within”; my goosebumps started with the first note and just got stronger as the program went on. Kihira’s score of 79.08 was enough to put her in second place (two points off the lead) going into her free program, which I can only assume will be just as breathtaking as this one. Watch it for yourself above!

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