2013 ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships
Saturday, Feb. 9, 2013 | Osaka, Japan
The first medals were awarded Saturday, with Canada’s Kevin Reynolds coming out as a surprise champion. The gold was his second international medal at the senior level (he won bronze at this event in 2010). Also Saturday, Team USA’s ladies turned in a trio of solid short programs.
Newly crowned U.S. champion Max Aaron, didn’t disappoint as skated a strong free featuring a pair of his signature quad Salchows. His free skate totaled 162.19 points, en route to 234.65 overall. He finished fourth overall and second in the segment.
“This is my first time at a championship event and I’m glad to be here,” Aaron said. “The fans were great, they really got me going. They get excited and cheer for everything in the program. It’s amazing. This is a good experience to get the chance to learn how championship events work at the senior level. It’s something special I can take toward worlds.”
Richard Dornbush also set a season’s best score in the free skate with a score of 151.03 points. He finished directly behind Aaron in fifth. His season now over, Dornbush will take some time to regroup with the plan of “training as hard as I can the whole way through” the upcoming Olympic year. Ross Miner suffered some mistakes in his program and placed ninth. He looks forward to refocusing as he heads into worlds in March.
“I’m disappointed in myself,” he said simply. “That’s not the way I train. It’s been a long couple of weeks since the U.S. Championships. I’m excited to get home and have a few days to mentally recuperate and get ready for the world championships.”
The finals in pairs, ladies and ice dance are set for Sunday with Team USA in medal standing in all three events.
Christina Gao is the top-ranked American and sits in fourth place. Gao turned in her best short program of the season to earn 62.34 points. She is in fourth place behind Japan’s Mao Asada, Akiko Suzuki and Kanako Murakami. Asada’s lead is nearly nine points, but only eight points separate skaters two through eight.
“I trained hard this whole season so I hope that this competition, I can go out and show how I have been training,” Gao said. “It’s only been a week since nationals but I think I kept my momentum going.”
Gracie Gold is in fifth place with 60.36 points. As recent history shows, Gold is capable of putting up big numbers in the free skate.
“I have a lot of confidence in my free skate,” she explained. “After my second grand prix, we changed the jumps around so the program is more comfortable for me. I think this really works for me as nationals showed.”
Agnes Zawadzki, in seventh place with 57.35 points, fell on her double Axel, but noted her growing confidence in the triple-triple combination.
“I am starting to feel a lot more comfortable with the triple-triple,” Zawadzki said. “That was something I was lacking early in the season with the toe-toe.”
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.
Sunday Schedule (All times Eastern)
Pairs Free Skate: 10:50 p.m. (Saturday, Feb. 9)
Zhang and Bartholomay: 11:38 p.m.
Castelli and Shnapir: 11:46 p.m.
Ladies Free Skate: 1:30 a.m.
Zawadzki: 3:41 a.m.
Gold: 4:12 a.m.
Gao: 4:28 a.m.
Free Dance: 6:15 a.m.
Davis and White: 7:52 a.m.
Chock and Bates: 8:15 a.m.
Shibutani and Shibutani: 8:23 a.m.