2013 ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships
Friday, Feb. 8, 2013 | Osaka, Japan
While you were sleeping, competition began in Osaka with the short dance and pairs and men’s short programs. Team USA is in medal standing in both the dance and pairs events, which are set for a Sunday finale. Richard Dornbush is in third place going into Saturday’s free skate.
Meryl Davis and Charlie White, five-time U.S. ice dance champions, sit in a close second place behind Canada’s Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir. Less than half a point separate veteran teams. Virtue and Moir set a season best of 75.12 points, as did Davis and White who have 74.68 points. Virtue and Moir earned a slight technical edge, something White acknowledged after the short dance.
“It happens from competition to competition,” he said. “Of course when you are competing against Scott and Tessa, you pretty much have to be perfect and that’s what’s expected of both of us. With one little mistake, we’re a little bit behind. It will make for an exciting free dance.”
Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir are in third place behind a pair of Canadian teams in the pairs event. The newly crowned U.S. pairs champs recorded 53.06 points. They suffered a fall on their throw but otherwise turned in a strong skate.
“It wasn’t our best performance but it’s a lesson learned and we are ready to go again,” Castelli said. “We are satisfied with our side-by-side jumps and we did a good job getting back into the program after my fall (on the throw). Every skate is a lesson learned and experience.”
Right behind Castelli and Shnapir are the 2013 U.S. bronze medalists Felicia Zhang and Nate Bartholomay with 52.98 points. In the lead are two-time reigning Canadian champions Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford, who earned a big 70.44 points. Their teammates Kirsten Moore-Towers and Dylan Moscovitch recorded the second-place score of 66.33 points. The third American team of Alexa Scimeca and Chris Knierim withdrew before the short program as Scimeca was experiencing pain in her right foot.
Richard Dornbush blew away his season’s and personal best international scores by 13 points and totaled 83.01 points for the segment. Short program leader and hometown hero Yuzuru Hanyu has a two-point lead over Han Yan of China. Japanese star Daisuke Takahashi is in fourth place. Five points separate Hanyu and Takahashi.
Dornbush was a late addition to the competition. His training as the first alternate came in handy when, on Sunday, he received word that Adam Rippon had withdrawn from the event.
“(Coach) Tammy (Gambill) always takes being alternate very seriously,” he explained. “I was on the ice every day. It’s hard to train as the alternate, because, in my case, you’re disappointed that you hadn’t gotten any assignments so it’s hard to have that self-motivation. I stayed fit enough and as soon as I got the call, there was a fire lit underneath me. I rose to the occasion.”
Ross Miner also set a season-high score of 74.01 points. He sits in ninth place. Max Aaron, with a score of 72.46 points, is right behind Miner in 10th. Aaron and Miner, who finished 1-2 at last month’s U.S. Championships, will represent Team USA at March’s world championships.
Coming late Friday into Saturday are the ladies short program and men’s free skate.
Saturday’s Schedule (All times Eastern)
Men’s Free Skate: 3:55 a.m.
Miner: 6:10 a.m.
Aaron: 6:43 a.m.
Dornbush: 6:58 a.m.