Connect with us

Figure Skating

Mao Shimada and Yo Takagi Finish 1-2 in Women's Short Program at Winter Youth Olympics

Winter Youth Olympics gold-medal favorite Shimada landed all of her jumps and is in prime position to capture the women's title in South Korea.

World junior champion Mao Shimada took the lead in the women's short program at the Winter Youth Olympics in South Korea on Sunday, January 28 with an outstanding performance at Gangneung Ice Arena. 

The 15-year-old star landed all of her jumps while exhibiting beautiful line and edge and is in prime position to capture the gold medal.

Shimada's score in first place is 71.05 points, with Japanese compatriot Yo Takagi in second at 67.23. The host nation's Jia Shin, seen as Shimada's primary challenger in the competition, is third on 66.48. Shin's teammate Yuseong Kim is fourth with 63.64.

Shimada, who repeated as Junior Grand Prix Final women's champion in December 2023 in Beijing, is looking to extend her incredible streak of victories in international junior competitions to nine with a win. 

Including domestic championships, her run of triumphs is 11 and counting. Over the past two seasons, the only events she has not won were the Japan Championships, where she competed against senior skaters and finished third both times.

Mao Shimada is the two-time defending Junior Grand Prix Final women's champion. (KYODO)

Shimada Exhibits Strong Technique at Winter Youth Olympics

Shimada, who struggled in her short program at the JGP Final before rallying to win in the free skate, was in a groove from the outset this day. She skated to "Americano" and opened with a fine double axel, followed by a triple flip/triple toe loop combination jump, and went on to land an excellent triple lutz. Shimada received level fours on all of her spins and a level three on her step sequence.

"Going into these Youth Olympics, I was a little worried because I made mistakes in the short program at the last three competitions," Shimada was quoted as saying by "But I managed to leave all that behind me and performed well.

"I wasn't entirely happy when I saw the score because I thought I skated well, but at least I topped 70, which I hadn't done in a while so I was happy about that."

She added, "I made so many mistakes in the short program until now. The frustration led me to think and feel differently during practice, and I think it all paid off today."

Yo Takagi in a September 2023 file photo. (KYODO)

A Solid Short Program for Takagi

Takagi, a 16-year-old from Tokyo, competed to "Sous le ciel de Paris" and "Milord" and had a solid showing. An alternate for the JGP Final, Takagi started with a triple toe loop/triple toe loop combo, then hit a strong double axel, and went on to land a triple lutz. She recorded level fours on all of her spins and step sequence.

The 15-year-old Shin, who has been runner-up to Shimada in several competitions the past two seasons, skated to "Fascination" and began with a triple flip/double toe loop combo, which cost her points. She cleanly landed a double axel and a triple lutz while scoring notching level fours on two of her spins and her step sequence. Her final layback spin was judged as a level three.

"It was a bit disappointing that I made a mistake in the first jump (a triple flip-triple toe lowered to a triple flip-double toe), which I don't usually make," Shin told reporters, according to "But overall, I think I managed to do well."

The skating competition will continue on Monday, January 29 with the men's free skate, followed by the women's free skate on Tuesday.

It's just a shoe!


Author: Jack Gallagher

The author is a veteran sports journalist and one of the world's foremost figure skating experts. Find articles and podcasts by Jack on his author page, and find him on X (formerly Twitter) @sportsjapan.


Read about your favorite stars on ice.


We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Advertisement MX Free Shipping on $99+

Sign-Up to Our Newsletter


Receive regular sports updates and news directly in your inbox

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

Advertisement logo

More in Figure Skating