The 2013 ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships continued in Osaka, Japan, on Sunday with the Pairs and Ladies Free Skating and the Free Dance.
Meagan Duhamel/Eric Radford (CAN) skate off with Pairs gold
Meagan Duhamel/Eric Radford of Canada skated off with the Pairs gold while teammates Kirsten Moore-Towers/Dylan Moscovitch claimed the silver medal. The bronze went to Marissa Castelli/Simon Shnapir (USA).
Duhamel/Radford's program to Angel featured a triple twist, difficult lifts, a throw triple loop and Lutz. However, both had to fight for the landing of the side by side triple Lutz. The Canadian Champions picked up a level four for five elements and scored a seasons best of 128.74 points, which added up to 199.18 points overall. Duhamel/Radford are the first Canadian team to take this title since Jamie Sale/David Pelletier had won in 2002. We made a couple of changes in our program, we really worked on the artistic side and today we saw an improvement in the program component scores since the Grand Prix Final. Today we had to fight for everything. We showed all we have, but for the worlds we have more, Duhamel commented.
Skating to a Queen Medley, Moore-Towers/Moscovitch produced a triple twist, triple toe-triple toe sequence, a triple Salchow and strong lifts. The only error came when she fell on the throw triple loop. Moore-Towers/Moscovitch were ranked first in the Free Skating with a seasons best of 130.45 points and overall remained in second place at 196.78 points. We feel great about our performance. It is a bit unfortunate that we lost the championship on an element we do easily all the time, but we don't intend on that happening next time, Moore-Towers said. (At the ISU World Championships next month) we want to skate two clean programs. We want to better ourselves from here and from Nationals and we're really hoping that lands us on the podium. There are a lot of teams vying for the spot and we are trying to get it. If we keep working hard and skate the way we know we can it's attainable, she added.
Castelli/Shnapir completed a triple twist, throw double Axel and throw triple Salchow in their Tango program, but he singled the Axel-toeloop combination. The U.S. Champions picked up a seasons best of 117.04 points and accumulated 170.10 points. We are very excited. The long was a toss-up, it could be anyone's game. We are happy with how it came out. We worked hard and had a good long program. It was our season's best. We both would have liked a little better short, but overall we are very happy with where we started and ended, Castelli said.
Felicia Zhang/Nathan Bartholomay (USA) finished fourth at 167.30 points ahead of Cheng Peng/Hao Zhang (CHN/164.82 points) and Paige Lawrence/Rudi Swiegers (CAN/162.30 points).
Mao Asada (JPN) leads Japanese podium sweep
Mao Asada led a Japanese podium sweep in the Ladies event followed by teammates Akiko Suzuki and Kanako Murakami. The Japanese Ladies had swept the podium once before at the ISU Four Continents Championships in 2003 with Fumie Suguri, Shizuka Arakawa and Yukari Nakano.
Performing to Swan Lake, Asada first landed a triple loop and then went for a triple Axel, but underrotated and two-footed it. The 2010 Olympic silver medalist produced three more clean triples but underrotated two others. Her spins were rated a level four. Asada scored 130.96 points, narrowly surpassing her previous seasons best and racked up 205.45 points. For the first time since the Olympic Games I went over 200 points, so I feel that I am coming back to my performance level. Today's performance was about in-line with my practice, so I need to practice more to exceed today's level, the two-time World Champion said. Throughout this Four Continent Championship, I was able to have great performances on both short and free. My short program was beyond my practice level and free program was within the range of my practice level. Lessons I learned from this competition are that I can push my level higher as long as I practice hard, she went on.
Suzuki produced six triples including a triple flip-double toe-double loop combination and three level-four spins as well in her routine to O from Cirque du Soleil. However, she singled an Axel. The World bronze medalist earned 124.43 points and totaled 190.08 points. Overall it was ok, it was good, because in the competition just before that (a national event) I did very badly. My aim was to redeem myself in this competition. I talked to my coach a lot about how to become stronger mentally before the competition, the 27-year-old commented.
Murakami's Tango program included five triple jumps and two level-four spins, but she underrotated two triples and singled an Axel. She picked up a new seasons best with 116.99 points to win her first ISU senior Championships medal at 181.03 points. The jumps were okay however my skating was not powerful enough. My coach told me that as well. I only focused on my jumps so that is the reason I could not care about the skating. I definitely got my confidence after my short program in this competition. But my task is to skate more powerfully in both short and free program. That is what I want to do at Worlds, the National silver medalist noted.
Christina Gao (USA) finished fourth with 176.28 points. Zijun Li (CHN) moved up from tenth to fifth at 170.42 points while Gracie Gold slipped from fifth to sixth (166.66 points).
Meryl Davis/Charlie White (USA) dance to victory
Meryl Davis/Charlie White (USA) danced to victory. Canadians Tessa Virtue/Scott Moir settled for the silver and Madison Chock/Evan Bates (USA) claimed the bronze medal.
Davis/White put out a strong performance to Notre Dame de Paris, completing difficult footwork and lifts. The World silver medalists collected a level four for seven elements, only the circular footwork was a level three. The U.S. Champions scored a seasons best of 112.68 points which added up to187.36 points overall and recaptured the title they had lost last year to Virtue/Moir. It was a really emotional skate. We gave it everything we had, literally, and that's all we can ask of ourselves. It's difficult coming off nationals so to be able to go out and perform the way we did is a monument to our preparation and I'm really proud, White said. We would like to show our best skating yet. Charlie and I have been talking a lot this week about growth and improvement. That's always what we look back to … how we can improve, how we can continue to grow throughout the season. We're in a great place but the sky's the limit, Davis added.
Virtue/Moir started well into their intense Carmen routine, but almost three minutes into the program after the circular step sequence they had to stop as Virtue felt a cramp in her legs. After a few minutes they were able to resume the performance. The reigning World Champions earned a level four for the lifts, the spin and the twizzles while the two step sequences merited a level three. Virtue/Moir earned 109.20 points, a seasons best, and slipped from first to second at 184.32 points overall. Tessa and I feel like as a team we have a lot of positive things this week, especially in our short dance. In the free dance, we were able to execute a lot of the elements that we've been struggling with in practice and a little bit at the National Championships. Obviously there are a couple of things we want to work on going into the World Championships. We know what we have to do, luckily, Moir told the press. I just had some cramp in my legs to deal with. I'm glad we collected ourselves and kept pushing through the program, Virtue explained when asked about the interruption.
Chock/Bates gave a smooth performance to Doctor Zhivago that was highlighted by interesting lifts, but they lost a few points on the twizzles and the diagonal footwork that were graded a level three and two. With a seasons best of 94.98 points, the National bronze medalists were ranked fifth in the Free Dance but held on to third place overall at 160.42 points. They won their first ISU Championships medal in their second season as a team. As the season has progressed, we have gotten stronger and stronger. Worlds is the culmination of the full season and all of our hard work. Our goal is to have the best two performances we have had all season and carry that momentum into the Olympic year, Bates noted.
Maia Shibutani/Alex Shibutani (USA) placed fourth at 159.97 points. Piper Gilles/Paul Poirier (CAN) were third in the Free Dance and came fifth at 157.83 points ahead of Nicole Orford/Thomas Williams (CAN/139.10 points).
The ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships 2013 conclude Monday with the Exhibition Gala. For more information, and full results please see: www.isu.org and http://fcch2013.com/index.html