Polish figure skater Ekaterina Kurakova currently sits in fifth place at the 2022 European Championships following this short program, which is no small feat in a field dominated by incredible skaters like Russia's Kamila Valieva, who just broke her own short-program record. Nineteen-year-old Kurakova, who hopes to represent Poland at the Olympics in a few weeks, is known for skating with total joy, which is why this routine is so fun to watch. She leapt across the ice and floated up into her jumps. Kurakova is one of those skaters whose personality comes across in every move she makes.
The ending is what really makes us love this short program. By the time Kurakova finished her final spin, she was already smiling, and that turned into a huge grin that she could hardly contain as she took her bows. In the kiss-and-cry, while waiting for her scores, you can tell Kurakova was still beaming even behind her mask. She gave a high five to one of her coaches when her score of 67.47 came in, putting her in third at the time. It held up to keep her in the top five heading into the free skate, which promises to be another showdown. Kurakova's right within striking distance, which means we'll definitely be in for another joy ride.