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Adam Siao Him Fa lands back flip en route to European figure skating title

FSKATE-LTU-ISU-MEN-FREE
FSKATE-LTU-ISU-MEN-FREE

France's Adam Siao Him Fa performed a back flip in his free skate at the European Championships — an illegal element and a throwback to the move trademarked by countrywoman Surya Bonaly.

Siao Him Fa, 22, repeated as European champion in Kaunas, Lithuania, totaling 276.17 points between the short program and free skate.

He distanced silver medalist Aleksandr Selevko of Estonia by 19.18 points, so his two-point deduction for performing the back flip near the end of his free skate didn't affect the standings.

The move occurred 3 hours, 40 minutes and 30 seconds into the Peacock world feed stream of the competition.

FIGURE SKATING: Full Results | Broadcast Schedule

"I've actually done this back flip for you people," he said in an address to the crowd. "It's a little French touch."

Many skaters, including Nathan Chen, have done back flips in exhibitions, but the most famous back flip occurred at the Olympics.

Bonaly did one in her free skate at the 1998 Nagano Games, landing on one skate en route to a 10th-place finish overall. Siao Him Fa had a two-footed landing Friday.

Bonaly, who dealt with an Achilles injury, was already out of medal contention in 1998 after a sixth-place short program in the final competition of her career.

"I had a special thing in my back pocket, and I say, 'Hey, I can do it. It's my last—it's my last competition,'" Bonaly said on a 2016 Radiolab podcast.

At the 1976 Innsbruck Olympics, American Terry Kubicka performed a back flip, after which the move was banned because it was "too dangerous, and because it violated the figure skating principle of landing on one skate," according to Olympedia.org.

Siao Him Fa ranks second in the world by best score this season behind American Ilia Malinin. They are among the medal contenders for March's world championships in Montreal.

Siao Him Fa, whose parents are originally from Mauritius, climbed from 14th at the 2022 Olympics to 10th at last season’s worlds and then won two Grand Prix events this past fall.