Belgium's Loena Hendrickx takes gold at European figure skating championships
Belgian figure skater Loena Hendrickx was crowned European champion for the first time in her career on Saturday in Kaunas, Lithuania. Nina Pinzarrone brought home a second medal for Belgium by taking bronze.
24-year-old Hendrickx took the lead after the short programme on Thursday and never relinquished it in the long programme. She received 138.59 points for her routine, giving her a total score of 213.25 points.
Hendrickx started the battle for the medals on Saturday with a combination of a lutz and a cherry flip, two triple jumps, a double axel and a triple flip. She intended to finish with a series of three jumps, but dropped the last one when she knew she had sealed the win.
Talent and hard work
Last year at the European Championships in Espoo, Finland, Hendrickx finished second behind Russian Anastasiia Gubanova, who competes for Georgia. Gubanova finished second this time with 206.52 points. Hendrickx also holds two World Championship medals, having won silver in 2022 and bronze in 2023.
Born in Turnhout, Hendrickx has been skating for 20 years. She always had talent, but hard work became her motto. The decision to hire sports psychologist Eline Berings as her mental coach a year ago seems to have been an important step toward the top.
Pinzarrone, who is only 17, won her first European Championship medal on Saturday. She scored 132.59 points in the long programme and finished with 202.29 points to take bronze and improve her record of 198.80 points.
Pinzarrone stands out for the mastery and serenity with which she skates. Choreographer Benoit Richaud is already predicting she has a good chance of a medal at the 2026 Winter Olympics.
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