The ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships 2012 continued Saturday in Colorado Springs, USA, with the Pairs Short Program, Short Dance and the Ladies Free Skating.
Wenjing Sui/Cong Han (CHN) win Pairs Short Program
Wenjing Sui/Cong Han of China won the Pairs Short program. Two U.S. teams Caydee Denney/ John Coughlin and Mary-Beth Marley/Rockne Brubaker follow in second and third.
Sui/Han put out a strong performance to American country music that was highlighted by a big triple twist, a side by side triple toe and a throw triple flip. The two-time World Junior Champions earned a seasons best of 66.75 points. Today we did our best in the short program. It's very amazing and wonderful. We feel so happy and my partner did very well. In the free program, we will do both quad throws (twist and Salchow) and I hope we will succeed, Han commented.
Performing to East of Eden, Denney/Coughlin produced a triple twist, triple toe, throw triple flip and picked up a level four for the footwork, death spiral and pair combination spin. The U.S. Champions posted a new seasons best with 63.35 points. It felt really good, it felt like I hoped it would skating at home and I felt that support from our friends and family. It was nice to put out a good perform for them and for ourselves. We took a step in right direction building toward the World Championships. We are excited to be part of this event, Coughlin said.
Marley/Brubaker landed a side by side triple toe and triple twist, but she put both hands down on the throw triple Lutz. The National silver medalists scored 62.42 points, another seasons best. We're just really happy with our skate today. We were pretty strong on things and this was definitely a step in the right direction. Between nationals and here, it's definitely how you want to be skating here, Brubaker noted.
Narumi Takahashi/Mervin Tran (JPN) are currently ranked fourth at 61.54 points after she fell on the triple Salchow. Amanda Evora/Mark Ladwig (USA) came fifth (60.75 points) and Paige Lawrence/Rudi Swiegers (CAN) wrap up the top six at 57.97 points.
Meryl Davis/Charlie White (USA) dance to the lead
Meryl Davis/Charlie White (USA) edged out Canada's Tessa Virtue/Scott Moir by less than one point to take the lead in the Short Dance. Kaitlyn Weaver/Andrew Poje of Canada are sitting in third.
Davis/White's dance set to Samba and Rhumba rhythms featured fast twizzles, a curve lift and smooth steps. The World Champions earned a level four for the lift and the twizzles while the Rhumba parts and the circular footwork were a level three. The defending Four Continents Champions scored 72.15 points. We felt really good out there. Everyone likes to talk about altitude but we tried hard to counter and it helped our performance. The characters were better portrayed. Technically we need to work on our levels so we'll get back to work on that, White told the press.
Dancing to Samba and Rhuma, Virtue/Moir produced level-three twizzles and footowork and a level-four rotational lift to pick up 71.60 points. It was a good skate for Tessa and I the way that we attacked it. I made a couple of mistakes and there are some places where we can make up some points at Worlds, but all-in-all, the changes we have done in the last month, and specifically in the weeks since nationals, have really worked well. We had a strong skate, so we have to be happy with that and it sets us up well for tomorrow, Moir stated.
Weaver/Poje skated last out of the 11 couples. The straight line lift and twizzles in their dance to Rhumba and Samba merited a level four, and the Rhumba patterns were a level two. The 2010 Four Continents Champions earned 64.23 points. This wasn't our strongest performance. We had our goals in mind when we came to this competition and that was to get higher Rhumba levels, make more of a performance, really light up the crowd. I think we did two of the three, Weaver pointed out.
World bronze medalists Maia and Alex Shibutani (USA) stayed in contention for a medal with a strong performance and 63.38 points. Madison Hubbell/Zachary Donohue (USA) finished fifth at 49.93 points just ahead of Alexandra Paul/Mitchell Islam (CAN) at 48.52 points.
Ashley Wagner (USA) skates off with the gold
Ashley Wagner (USA) skated off with the gold medal. Mao Asada of Japan claimed the silver and Caroline Zhang (USA) earned the bronze medal.
Wagner put out an excellent performance to Black Swan, reeling off six clean triples and three level-four spins. She posted a new personal best score of 128.34 points and racked up a total of 192.41 points to win her first international title. Overall I am pleasantly surprised with how this weekend went. It's a great build on top of my nationals performance and hopefully I can keep on this upward trend, the U.S. Champion commented. Going into Worlds we just need to work on getting the Axel toe and the triple flip-triple toe consistently in the program. I think that's the most crucial thing for me to have.
Asada opened her routine to Liebestraum with a triple Axel, but underrotated. She went on to produce two triple flips, a double Axel-triple toe and triple loop and difficult spins. The 2010 World Champion scored 124.37 points and slipped from first to second at 188.62 points overall. My goal for this competition was to land the triple Axel and I am happy that I did that. But I lost a lot of points on other jumps. For the World Championships I want to include the triple Axel in both short and long program and avoid the little mistakes and minuses on my jumps, the Olympic silver medalist noted.
Performing to the Allegretto from Dvorak's Cello Concerto in B Minor, Zhang completed five triple jumps and two double Axels. The 2010 Four Continents bronze medalist picked up a personal best of 117.44 points and pulled up from fourth to third at 176.18 points. There were a lot of things that I did differently than my previous long programs so I'm really happy with how I did, the 18-year-old said. It (beating the personal best) feels great. It just gives me more motivation to keep working and help me get an even better one next year, she added.
Kanako Murakami (JPN) dropped from third to fourth after some errors (169.32 points). Kexin Zhang (CHN) placed fifth with a solid performance (162.59 points). Agnes Zawadzki (USA) came sixth at 157.32 points.
The ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships conclude Sunday with the Pairs Free Skating, Free Dance and Exhibition Gala. For more information, full entry lists and results please see: www.isu.org and http://www.2012fourcontinents.com/