Rika Kihira's future plans: "I want to be able to nail a quad"
Rika Kihira is in a quad state of mind.
After a stellar senior debut season the Japanese teen intends on adding a quadruple jump to her free program - and wow the figure skating world once again.
"I want to be able to nail a quad jump before the start of next season," she said to Kyodo News. "I need to build up not only my core strength but my lower body as well."
The 16-year-old is one of just a few women who have landed triple axles in competition.
Now she wants to push the envelope even further, adding a quadruple jump to her repertoire.
If she's able to achieve the feat she would become just the second woman to do so in senior competition.
Kazakh figure skater Elizabet Tursynbayeva was the first to land a quad at the 2019 Figure Skating World Championships in March.
The Japanese teen gave a sneak preview of her new free skate on Monday. In a tweet she showed off a quad salchow followed by her trademark triple axel in combination with a double toeloop.
Kihira further revealed that the "beautiful" quads of double Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu are a perfect example for her to emulate.
''(Hanyu's) jumps have a flow to them with no wasted energy,'' she said.
In an interview with Skating China she added:
"When watching him live, you can really feel that the jumps he completed did not imply any excessive unnecessary energy. Many of his jumps are textbook ones."
Kihira's senior level debut was a roaring success.
She won six of seven individual events in international competitions during the 2018-2019 season
After Grand Prix victories in Japan and France, the teenager earned a spot at December's ISU Grand Prix Final in Vancouver.
Kihira shone and took the title with Olympic champion Alina Zagitova and Elizaveta Tuktamysheva (both Russia) finishing second and third.
The victory meant she became the first Japanese skater since her idol Mao Asada in 2005 to win the Final on debut.
The teenager was a medal favourite going into the 2018 World Championships, on home ice in Saitama, but finished fourth.
A new season presents new challenges and new challengers for Kihira.
She is weary of several Russian skaters moving to the senior circuit as a lot of them are capable of doing quad jumps.
"Last season (when I competed on the junior circuit), I thought I couldn't beat them. But I've really worked hard on the senior circuit this year. I need to try harder and overcome this challenge," Kihira said.
"I need to keep doing the things I've been doing and not change the way I skate. I want to take on new challenges, but I need to maintain stability. It's no use if I change what I've been doing."
One thing is certain: She wants to take the figure skating world by storm. Once again.