Japan’s Sakamoto Three-Peats as Women’s Figure Skating World Champion

The Canadian Press via AP
Kaori Sakamoto reacts following her free skate at the world figure skating championships on Friday in Montreal.

MONTREAL (AP) — Kaori Sakamoto of Japan is the first women’s figure skater to three-peat as world champion since American Peggy Fleming from 1966 to 1968.

Sakamoto captured gold again Friday at the Bell Centre, climbing from fourth place after the short program to the top of the podium with a near-flawless performance.

The 23-year-old led the pack by more than 10 points in the free program to finish with 222.96 points and earn a standing ovation from the 6,000 fans on hand.

Isabeau Levito of the United States — a 2022 world junior champion — claimed silver (212.16) for her first medal at a senior worlds. Chaeyeon Kim of South Korea took bronze (203.59).

Belgium’s Loena Hendrickx placed first in the short program Wednesday, but slipped to fourth after missing her rotation on a double lutz, triple-toe loop combination and subsequently falling on a triple flip.

American Amber Glenn was 10th (186.53), after placing ninth on Wednesday.

Earlier Friday, defending ice dance champions and 2022 Olympic gold medalists Madison Chock and Evan Bates of the United States finished first with a season-best 90.08 in the rhythm dance. Italy’s Charlene Guignard and Marco Fabbri were second (87.52) ahead of Canada’s Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier (86.51).

Christina Carreira and Anthony Ponomarenko of the United States qualified with an eight-place finish (79.26).

Competition ends Saturday with the free dance and the men’s free program.