Rika Kihira: A new Japanese prodigy skater (UPDATED 2017)
Yes, Rika Kihira ,14 years old is the new figure skating prodigy. Why? She is able to succeed triple axel, the second female skater in junior category. Mao Asada, the 2010 Olympic silver medalist,was the first one.
Actually, few skaters are able to land a triple axel. So, interesting and exciting to analyze her performances. Rika competed in Ostrava for the ISU Junior Grand Prix (JGP) Czech Skate and in the ISU JGP Ljubljana Cup 2016 (Slovenia).
What is the difference between success and failure?
To get the global view of why Rika fell in Ostrava and succeed in Slovenia, I designed an advanced stromotion effect. Easier to understand and compare her jumps.
Triple axel fall during ISU Junior Grand Prix Czech Skate ( Ostrava, Czech Republic). Click Here to enlarge the picture.
Flight time: 0.633sHeight: 52cm Length: 221cm
Triple succeed during ISU Junior Grand Prix Ljubljana Cup 2016 (Ljubljana, Slovenia). Click Here to enlarge the picture.
Flight time: 0.633sHeight: 48cm Length: 262cm
As you can see on these two analysis, body angles are almost identical. The flight time also ( 0.633sec.). Quite impressive flight time by the way! To compare, triple axel men's flight time is around 0.667 sec.
The parabolic trajectory is really different. She is doing a longer jump (around 41cm) when she succeeds. Unfortunately, she didn't create enough torque before the take-off. So, the jump is clearly under-rotated. That's why the production of angular momentum for the flight phase is not efficient to land properly. Fall...
In 3 weeks, she found the good position during the preparation of her jump. Consistency will be the key of success. Video analysis help to acheive this goal.
It will be interesting to follow her during this season. Even, she is young, she needs to figure out how to manage the pressure.
A japanese technique?
According some researchs, female japanese skaters developped their own style to land triple axel. Rika is using the same technique like Mao Asada. In addition, she is the same age (14 years old) as Mao when she started to present this major difficulty in competition. They are coached by 2 differents coaches in two different cities.
As you can watch, Mao and Rika are doing the same preparation of the jump.
I wish to Rika the same carreer than Mao.
Welcome back in 2017
Really interesting come back of Rika. Ske just skates the JGP Egna/Neumarkt 2017 in Italy. According many witnesses, she succeeded a lot of of beautiful triple axel during the official traiinigs. Like in the warm-up for the Free Skate.