Loena Hendrickx surpassed herself on Thursday afternoon at the European Figure Skating Championships in the Estonian capital Tallinn. Our 22-year-old compatriot skated together 76.25 points in her short freestyle, a personal best. This puts her in an unexpected second place for the time being, after the unapproachable Russian Kamila Valieva. The 15-year-old child prodigy delivered yet another historic achievement.
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“I am rested and have a lot of confidence. I feel more and more ready for the Olympics.” Loena Hendrickx told this on the phone last Tuesday and put her words into action on Thursday with a great performance in the short freestyle of the European Figure Skating Championships. On a modest version of Caruso, the Kempen skated very stylishly and almost flawlessly in the choreography with which she had laid the foundation for a bronze medal a few months ago at the Turin GP.
Then she got 73.52 points from the jury, who rewarded her with 76.25 on Thursday in Tallinn. When Hendrickx received her score, her highest score ever in the short freestyle, she burst into tears and grabbed her brother Jorik and her choreographer Adam Solya firmly. With that score she is unexpectedly in second place. With a point ahead of the Russian Alexandra Trusova, the number three of the previous World Cup, who fell briefly. Hendrickx is also seven points ahead of Russian world champion Anna Shcherbakova. She also made a tumble and saw a combination go wrong. Our compatriot told us beforehand that it was almost impossible to be on the podium at the European Championship because the Russian girls were hors category with their exceptionally difficult jumps. But now that the Russians are making mistakes, a stunt has become a lot less unlikely.
Hendrickx was the last of all 36 participants on the ice on Thursday afternoon. Just after the perfect short freestyle of the Russian prodigy Kamila Valieva. The barely fifteen-year-old Valieva skated to smash all world records this season and also stood head and shoulders above the rest on Thursday. She achieved 90.45 points, her highest score ever. Without accident, she crowns herself as European champion this weekend and in a few weeks she will also become Olympic champion in Beijing (read more).
On Saturday, Hendrickx skates the freestyle, where twice as many points can be earned. Then all points are added up and we know the final result. Four years ago she finished fifth at her last European Championship. She also finished fifth at the previous World Cup in March of last year.