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Kaori Sakamoto’s road to figure skating history starts, ends in Canada; Grand Prix stream info

Kaori Sakamoto

TURIN, ITALY - DECEMBER 09: Kaori Sakamoto of Japan competes in Women Short Program of the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final 2022 on December 09, 2022 in Turin, Italy. (Photo by Marco Mantovani/Getty Images)

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Japan’s Kaori Sakamoto begins her season in earnest at this week’s Skate Canada, a campaign that could end with figure skating history come March.

Peacock airs live coverage of the second of six Grand Prix Series events on Friday and Saturday from Vancouver.

Sakamoto, the back-to-back world champion, is the headliner.

She hopes to compete in Canada three times this season. Sakamoto already won a lower-level event in Montreal last month.

March’s worlds are also in Montreal. There, Sakamoto can become the first woman to win three consecutive world titles since American Peggy Fleming from 1966-68.

The task at Skate Canada, and at her second Grand Prix in Finland three weeks later, is to qualify for December’s Grand Prix Final, which often serves as a worlds preview.

A podium at each of her two Grand Prix starts should get her to the six-skater Final.

Sakamoto, the Olympic bronze medalist, has a Grand Prix title each of the last three seasons.

A benchmark score for her at Skate Canada should be 221.28, which Belgian Leona Hendrickx put up to win Skate America last week. That’s the world’s best score in the early season.

Challengers at Skate Canada include defending champion Rinka Watanabe of Japan, plus Americans Starr Andrews, Lindsay Thorngren and Audrey Shin.

Andrews was runner-up at last year’s Skate Canada to become the first Black American figure skater to make a Grand Prix podium.

The U.S. gets two spots at March’s worlds — to be filled after January’s nationals. Reigning U.S. champion Isabeau Levito scored 208.15 at Skate America. The next-best American so far this season is Amber Glenn, who had 189.63 at Skate America.

The other Skate Canada disciplines include world silver medalist Cha Jun-Hwan of South Korea (men’s), world bronze medalists Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier of Canada (ice dance) and Canadian pair Deanna Stellato-Dudek and Maxime Deschamps, who were fourth at worlds.

Skate Canada Broadcast Schedule

DayProgramTime (ET)Platform
FridayWomen’s Short5-6:30 p.m.Peacock
Rhythm Dance6:50-8:09 p.m.Peacock
Pairs’ Short9:45-10:50 p.m.Peacock
Men’s Short11:10 p.m.-12:40 a.m.Peacock
SaturdayWomen’s Free4:15-6:03 p.m.Peacock
Free Dance6:25-8:30 p.m.Peacock
Pairs’ Free9-10:17 p.m.Peacock
Men’s Free10:37 p.m.-1 a.m.Peacock
Gala5-7:30 p.m.Peacock