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Japan’s Kaori Sakamoto wins gold at world skating championships

Kaori Sakamoto from Japan during Womens final, at Sud de France Arena, Montpellier, France on March 25, 2022. (Photo by Ulrik Pedersen/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Kaori Sakamoto took home gold at the World Figure Skating Championships, becoming the first Japanese woman to win the competition in eight years.

Her victory at the World Figure Skating Championships follows up her bronze medal from the 2022 Tokyo Olympics in February.

Sakamoto posted personal best scores in the short program and free skate for a winning 236.09-point total.

Loena Hendrickx clinched silver, finishing behind Sakamoto with a score of 217.70 points. She is the first Belgian women’s skater ever to medal at worlds.

Alysa Liu rounded out the podium, capturing the first U.S. women’s world medal in six years. A phenomenal free skate program lifted the American skater from fifth to a bronze medal, finishing with a total of 211.19 points.

Liu’s U.S. teammate, Mariah Bell, finished fourth, while Team USA Olympian Karen Chen came in eighth.

Russian skaters were barred from the World Figure Skating Championships due to the country’s invasion of Ukraine.