"I do not yet realize the result," he reacted.

"I often hide my emotions but I'm very happy. It's something to be European champion! I realize that hard work pays off."

With a total of 267.77 points, he is ahead of the Italian Matteo Rizzo (259.92 pts) and the Swiss Lukas Britschgi (248.01 pts) and offers France a first continental title in the men's category since 2011 and the Gold by Florent Amodio.

All the technical elements of his free program did not go perfectly in the first part of the choreography, but Siao Him Fa freed himself afterwards.

"I tried to stay focused and stay in my bubble. There were mistakes but I fought until the end. I didn't give up because every element counts," he said.

He had a comfortable lead of more than ten points after the short program on Wednesday anyway.

Change of direction

In the absence of the defending champion, the Russian Mark Kondratuik suspended due to the war in Ukraine, the first place seemed more accessible than ever for the native of Bordeaux, who responded present on the Finnish ice.

He was able to express his qualities of interpretation on his two programs, which have the particularity of responding to each other and telling a single story, an innovative artistic choice in skating.

Frenchman Adam Siao Him Fa, crowned European figure skating champion, on January 27, 2023 in Espoo, Finland © Antti Hämäläinen / Lehtikuva/AFP

A love that is torn in the court, between hatred and misunderstanding.

Same notes and same gestures to start along, with a reversal of the choreography, to go back in time and find redemption.

Fourteenth at the Beijing Olympics then eighth at the Montpellier Worlds last year, Siao Him Fa changed everything last summer, leaving Laurent Depouilly and the Courbevoie ice rink in the western suburbs of Paris to train in Nice under the orders of Cédric Tour and Rodolphe Maréchal.

A change of course and "a questioning" rewarded by good results this season, the best of his career.

This European gold medal comes on top of his first Grand Prix victory, in November in Angers, and his first French Champion title won in December.

"I know I'm on the right path and I have to keep working like this," he said, two months before the world championships scheduled for Saitama.

In Japan, the competition will be tougher with in particular the Japanese armada led by Shoma Uno and the young American prodigy Ilia Malinin.

In the meantime, "I'm going to have a very good night and sleep a lot," said the Frenchman, before continuing: "Then I'll be back in training next week."

"No regrets" for Aymoz

The other tricolor engaged, Kevin Aymoz, finished at the foot of the podium, as in 2019.

On the music of the Gladiator wire, the 25-year-old skater, back from injury, was only able to chain two jump combinations, which earned him a few points.

Frenchman Kevin Aymoz during the free program of the European figure skating champion, January 27, 2023 in Espoo, Finland © Antti Hämäläinen / Lehtikuva/AFP

"I felt good in the program. I was less stressed, I really wanted to give it my all," he reacted.

"I have no regrets about my performance, I've been fighting for a podium for years and I think I have what it takes to get there."

Earlier in the day, the Italian duo of Charlène Guignard and Marco Fabbri took the lead in the ice dance competition.

Skating a medley of rumba, salsa and samba, they earned 85.53 points for their rhythm dance.

They are favorites in the absence of Olympic champions, the French Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron, who have put their careers on hold this season.

The French Evgeniia Lopareva and Geoffrey Brissaud, sixth at 1.07 points from the provisional podium, are in the race for a medal.

© 2023 AFP