Taipei City / Chinese Taipei

The 2016 ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships continued in Taipei, Chinese Taipei, Thursday with the Free Dance and the Mens Short Program.

Maia Shibutani/Alex Shibutani (USA) dance to gold

Maia Shibutani/Alex Shibutani (USA) danced to gold and took their first ISU Championship title. Madison Chock/Evan Bates (USA) moved up from fourth to claim the silver medal. Canada’s Kaitlyn Weaver/Andrew Poje settled for the bronze.

Performing to “Fix You” by Coldplay, Shibutani/Shibutani put out an excellent Free Dance, earning level fours for all elements but the circular footwork that was graded a level three. The brother-and-sister team scored 108.76 points, setting a new personal best for themselves, and totaled 181.62 points. “It [winning] is a really gratifying feeling. We’ve been working so hard over the past four seasons in particular, but this season we’ve been really focused on making sure we make the most of every opportunity. This was a great opportunity today and we’re very excited looking forward to Worlds”, Alex Shibutani commented.

Chock/Bates delivered a strong performance of their Rachmaninov Free Dance as well. The 2015 World silver medalists picked up a level four for their lifts, twizzles and spin while the two step sequences merited a level three. The Americans posted a new personal best with 107.59 points which added up to 174.64 points overall. Chock/Bates repeated as Four Continents silver medalists. “We had a pretty rough skate in our short dance yesterday and that was tough for us. Today we looked at the free dance like we had nothing to lose and we just enjoyed every second of our program. We just enjoyed skating together and I think that’s the attitude we’re going to have going forward. It felt really good to be out there and the audience was great”, Chock said.

Weaver/Poje’s dance to “This Bitter Earth” was highlighted by two level-four lifts and level-three footwork, but they were shaky on the twizzles and the rotational lift. The defending Four Continents Champions scored 101.43 points and were ranked fourth in the Free Dance and overall slipped from second to third at 173.85 points. “We didn’t have a great skate here today. We had some things to fight for and this is one thing I’m definitely proud of us is - we fought to the end. We definitely look to the next competition to bring a better performance for the audience and for ourselves. I did stumble in the program a couple of times and I’m not proud of that. I’ll definitely go home and work on that to make sure that that doesn’t happen again”, Poje noted.

Madison Hubbell/Zachary Donohue (USA) ranked third in the Free Dance, but dropped from third to fourth at 172.29 points. Piper Gilles/Paul Poirier (CAN) finished fifth with 162.19 points. Elisabeth Paradis/Francois-Xavier Ouellette (CAN) overcame a costume failure and placed sixth (146.94 points).

Boyang Jin (CHN) takes Men’s Short Program

Boyang Jin of China took the lead in the Men’s Short Program. Japan’s Shoma Uno came second and Han Yan of China placed third. All three earned a new seasons best score.

Jin nailed a quadruple Lutz-triple toeloop, a triple Axel and quadruple toeloop in his routine set to “Tango Amore” by Edvin Marton. The 2015 World Junior silver medalist also picked up a level four for his spins footwork to achieve 98.45 points. “I’m very satisfied today, it was a good performance. I was able to show what I can do in training and I did everything out there today. I didn’t feel much pressure. It is my first time at Four Continents and a senior level championship. I’m still lacking in some aspects of my skating and I’m competing more against myself than against others”, the 18-year-old told the press.

Skating to “Legends” by Sacred Spirits, Uno produced a somewhat shaky quadruple toeloop, a trile Axel and triple flip-triple toeloop combination as well as level-four spins and steps. The 2015 World Junior Champion picked up 92.99 points. “As soon as I took off (for the quad toe), I didn’t know where I was and I overrotated. I’m not totally happy, but overall it wasn’t a bad performance. Since I’m not really satisfied with it, it gives me motivation for the free skating”, the ISU Grand Prix Final bronze medalist commented.

Yan’s program to “Sing Sing Sing” featured a quadruple toeloop, triple Axel and triple Lutz-triple toeloop combination, but he received no value for his change foot sit spin. The 2015 Four Continents bronze medalist scored 89.57 points. “I’m quite pleased with my program. The jumps were quite good, but I made few little mistakes and I made an error on my sit spin. It is a shame, it cost me some points. I think I wasn’t sitting deep enough and maybe didn’t have the right angle”, the 2012 World Junior Champion explained.

Takahito Mura (JPN) is not far behind in fourth place with 89.08 points and Patrick Chan (CAN) sits in fifth at 86.22 points. Grant Hochstein (USA) came sixth (75.79 points).

The ISU Four Continents Championships 2016 continue Saturday with the Pairs and Ladies Free Skating. For more information, full entry lists and results please see: and the official event website, Hashtag: #4CCTaipeiCity