The ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships 2012 will open in Colorado Springs, USA, on February 9. Colorado Springs hosted the ISU Four Continents Championships twice before in 2006 and 2007. 100 skaters from 17 ISU members will compete at the Championships. There are no Preliminary rounds. All skaters/couples will compete in the Short Program/Short Dance. Competitors placed in the top 24 in Single Skating qualify for Free Skating/Free Dance.
Overview of the top contenders
The Ice Dance competition is highlighted by the rivalry of reigning World Champions Meryl Davis/Charlie White (USA) and reigning Olympic Champions Tessa Virtue/Scott Moir (CAN). Davis/White won the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final in December with a seasons best of 188.55 points ahead of their Canadian arch rivals who scored as seasons best of 183.34 points. Kaitlyn Weaver/Andrew Poje (CAN/seasons best 166.07) and reigning World bronze medalists Maia Shibutani/Alex Shibutani (USA/ seasons best 160.55 points) are competing for a spot on the podium as well. Also competing are Alexandra Paul/Mitchell Islam (CAN), Madison Hubbell/Zachary Donohue (USA) and Xiaoyang Yu/Chen Wang (CHN).
Reigning World Champion Patrick Chan (CAN) leads the Men's at the ISU Four Continents Championships 2012. The Grand Prix Final Champion comes with a seasons best of 260.30 points to Colorado Springs. He will meet another challenge from 2010 World Champion Daisuke Takahashi (JPN), who finished second to him in the Grand Prix Final in December (seasons best 259.75 points). Nan Song (CHN/seasons best 226.75 points), Adam Rippon (USA/seasons best 217.97 points), Denis Ten (seasons best 212.39 points) and Ross Miner (USA/seasons best 212.36 points) and are hoping for a podium finish as well. Others to watch include Tatsuki Machida (JPN), Richard Dornbush (USA) and Kevin Reynolds (CAN).
Two-time World Champion Mao Asada (JPN) headlines the Ladies event. Asada posted a seasons best of 184.19 at the NHK Trophy. The challenge should come from freshly crowned U.S. Champion Ashley Wagner (seasons best 165.65), 2010 World Junior Champion Kanako Murakami (JPN/seasons best 161.31 points) and Haruka Imai (JPN/seasons best 154.76 points). Other contenders are Agnes Zawadzki (USA), Kexin Zhang (CHN), Amelie Lacoste (CAN), Cynthia Phaneuf (CAN) and Caroline Zhang (USA).
In the Pairs event, competition promises to be tough. Two-time and reigning World Junior Champions Wenjing Sui/Cong Han (CHN) are debuting at the Four Continents Championships and are eyeing the top of the podium (seasons best 180.82 points). The new Canadian Champions and defending Four Continents silver medalists Meagan Duhamel/Eric Radford (seasons best of 176.62) and the new U.S. Champions Caydee Denney/John Coughlin (seasons best 175.40 points) are ready to challenge the Chinese and so are Narumi Takashi/Mervin Tran (JPN/seasons best 172.09). Other competitors include 2012 Four Continents bronze medalists Paige Lawrence/Rudi Swiegers (CAN), Jessica Dube/Sebastien Wolfe (CAN), Amanda Evora/Mark Ladwig and Mary Beth Marley/Rockne Brubaker (USA).
Please note that for the seasonal best total scores only the ISU Grand Prix competitions (senior and junior) have been taken into consideration, not other international competitions or National Championships.
The ISU awards a global prize money of US$ 350,000 at the ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships to skaters/couples placed 1st to 12th. The prize money is awarded as follows:
Men and Ladies Pairs and Dance (per couple)
1st place US$ 15,000 1st place US$ 22,500
2nd place US$ 9,000 2nd place US$ 13,500
3rd place US$ 6,000 3rd place US$ 9,000
4th place US$ 4,500 4th place US$ 6,750
5th place US$ 3,250 5th place US$ 5,000
6th place US$ 2,500 6th place US$ 3,750
7th place US$ 2,250 7th place US$ 3,500
8th place US$ 2,000 8th place US$ 3,000
9th place US$ 1,750 9th place US$ 2,500
10th place US$ 1,500 10th place US$ 2,250
11th place US$ 1,250 11th place US$ 1,750
12th place US$ 1,000 12th place US$ 1,500
The schedule of the ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships 2012 is as follows:
Thursday, February 9: Men Short Program
Friday, February 10: Ladies Short Program, Men Free Skating
Saturday, February 11: Pairs Short Program, Short Dance, Ladies Free Skating
Sunday, February 12: Pairs Free Skating, Free Dance, Exhibition Gala
For more information, full entry lists and results please see: www.isu.org and http://www.2012fourcontinents.com/