Adam Siao Him Fa (FRA) won gold in the Men's free skating in the ISU European Figure Skating Championships, Espoo © ISU
Adam Siao Him Fa (FRA) brought the European Men’s title back to France after 12 years, in what was an exciting Men’s Final at the ISU European Figure Skating Championships Friday in Espoo (FIN).
Adam Siao Him Fa (FRA) golden in Espoo
Adam Siao Him Fa of France skated off with the gold medal and the first European title for his country in 12 years. Italy’s Matteo Rizzo took the silver medal, while Lukas Britschgi of Switzerland rose from fifth to claim the bronze, the first medal for his country since Stéphane Lambiel won silver in 2010. Siao Him Fa and Britschgi won their first ISU Championship medal in Espoo.
Siao Him Fa’s expressive program to a selection of music by Woodkid is the continuation of his Short Program, telling a story of going back in time to fix mistakes he made in the past. He opened with a triple Lutz and followed up with a quad toe-double toe and a triple Axel.
The French Champion landed three more clean triple jumps, but he wobbled on the quad Salchow and missed the quad toe. He picked up a level four for his spins and step sequence and scored 171.24 points.
Siao Him Fa ranked second in the Free Skating, but thanks to his lead from the Short Program solidly remained in first place at 267.77 points. Florent Amodio in 2011 was the last Frenchman to win the European singles title.
“I have not realized the result of the competition yet. I am good at hiding my emotions, but I am very happy. It is something to be European Champion,” Siao Him Fa said.
“I realize that hard works pays off and I have to continue like this. I had a difficult week of training which was very stressful, more stressful than the competition, but I think it helped me a lot. During my program, I knew it wasn’t a victory yet, there were errors, but I fought until the end. I did not let go, I fought for everything, each element counts,” he concluded.
Rizzo stood in second place following the Short Program and was fighting for more. The Italian Champion stumbled on his opening quad toe, but recovered instantly to land a quad loop and six triples including two triple Axels in his routine to “Talking to the Moon” and “That’s What I Like” by Bruno Mars.
Matteo Rizzo (ITA) took silver the Men's free skating in the ISU European Figure Skating Championships at Espoo © ISU
At the end, the 24-year-old sank to his knees and let out all his emotions. The 2019 European bronze medalist won the Free Skating segment with a season’s best of 173.46 points and settled for the silver, his second European Championships medal with a total of 259.92 points.
“There were a lot of emotions (at the end) because, as I'm always saying, I was preparing a lot for this competition,” Rizzo said. “There were mistakes, but overall I was happy. I was screaming so loud because this is the best way to release the tension.”
Britschgi had entered the medal race as a dark horse, as his best result at Europeans was 11th in 2022 and he came off an injury. His fifth place in the Short Program was already a surprise.
Lukas Britschgi (SUI) took bronze in the free skating in the ISU European Figure Skating Championships at Espoo © ISU
Britschgi then again surprised himself by putting out an almost perfect performance to “An Honorable Choice” and “Ghost of Tsushima” that included two quad toeloops, two triple Axels and three more triples. However, the Swiss Skater doubled a loop and his last spin garnered a level one. The 24-year-old achieved a personal best of 168.75 points with a total of 248.01 points.
“I only had four weeks of preparation, because I broke my collar bone before, so my finish was not the best; I was just dying at the end of the program,” Britschgi said at the post-event press conference. “I was just happy to survive.
“Honestly I never came here with an expectation to medal. My goal was top 10, so it was surprising.”
Kevin Aymoz (FRA) struggled with his quad toe and his first triple Axel to remain in fourth place at 240.92 points. 2022 European bronze medalist Deniss Vasiljevs (LAT) slipped from third to fifth at 236.35 points. 2022 European silver medalist Daniel Grassl (ITA) moved up from eighth to sixth place with 230.83 points.
Following the IOC recommendation and in order to protect the integrity of ice skating competitions and for the safety of all the participants of international ice skating competitions, the ISU Council based on Article 17.1.q)i) of the ISU Constitution, agreed that with immediate effect and until further notice, no Skaters belonging to the ISU Members in Russia (Russian Skating Union and the Figure Skating Federation of Russia) and Belarus (Skating Union of Belarus) shall be invited or allowed to participate in International ice skating competitions including ISU Championships and other ISU Events. The same applies to Officials listed in the respective ISU Communications and/or Regulations under Russia and Belarus (see ISU Communication 2469).
Schedule of the event
The schedule of the European Figure Skating Championships is as follows:
Wednesday, January 25: Pairs & Men’s Short Programs
Thursday, January 26: Women’s Short Program, Pairs Free Skating
Friday, January 27: Rhythm Dance & Men’s Free Skating
Saturday, January 28: Women’s Free Skating & Free Dance
Sunday, January 29: Exhibition Gala
Where to watch the ISU European Figure Skating Championships 2023:
The ISU European Figure Skating Championships will be live streamed on the Skating ISU YouTube Channel. Geo-restrictions will apply in markets where TV rights are in place. You will find the full list in the Where to Watch news here.
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ISU website: ISU European Figure Skating Championships 2023
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