Shoma Uno (JPN)
The ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships 2018 will open in Taipei, Chinese Taipei, Wednesday. The ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships return to Taipei for the fourth time. Taipei has hosted the ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships in 2011, 2014 and 2016. A total of 103 skaters from 15 ISU members have been entered for the Championships: 30 Men, 23 Ladies, 11 Pairs and 14 Ice Dance couples.
Skaters/couples need to have obtained a minimum total technical score in Short Program and Free Skating in order to compete at the Four Continents Championships.
Overview of the top contenders
In the Men’s event, reigning World silver medalist Shoma Uno (JPN) will face World bronze medalist Boyang Jin (CHN). Uno tops the seasons best list with 319.84 points, achieved at Lombardia Trophy in September. Jin has a seasons best of 264.48 points, but he missed the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final due to injury. Both have been on the Four Continents podium before, Uno got a bronze a year ago while Jin has a silver from 2016. Several other men are eyeing the podium as well: ISU Grand Prix Finalist Jason Brown (USA/seasons best 261.14 points), Cup of China bronze medalist Max Aaron (USA/seasons best 261.56 points) and Internationaux de France bronze medalist Misha Ge (UZB/seasons best 258.34 points). Other contenders include Han Yan (CHN), 2013 Four Continents Champion Kevin Reynolds (CAN), Nam Nguyen (CAN), Olympic bronze medalist Denis Ten (KAZ), 2014 Four Continents Champion Takahito Mura (JPN) and Keiji Tanaka (JPN).
Satoko Miyahara (JPN)
Defending Champion Mai Mihara (JPN) has to expect stiff competition from her teammates Satoko Miyahara, the 2016 Four Continents Champion, and World Junior bronze medalist Kaori Sakamoto. Mihara earned a seasons best of 206.07 points at Cup of China while Miyahara scored a seasons best of 214.03 at Skate America and Sakamoto has a seasons best of 210.59 points from the same event. A Japanese sweep is very well possible, but several other contenders wait for their chance in Taipei, among them Mariah Bell (USA), Elizabet Tursynbaeva (KAZ) and Dabin Choi (KOR).
World Junior Pairs Champions Ekaterina Alexandrovskaya/Harley Windsor (AUS) and reigning Four Continents bronze medalists Liubov Ilyushechkina/Dylan Moscovitch (CAN) lead the Pairs. Alexandrovskaya/Windsor (seasons best 190.31 points) could make history again and become the first Australian skaters to medal at Four Continents or at a senior-level ISU Championship. Ilyushechkina/Moscovitch (seasons best 193.07 points) want to improve on their bronze medal from last year. Other podium contenders are Tae Ok Ryom/Ju Sik Kim (PRK/seasons best 180.09), Tarah Kayne/Danny O’Shea (USA/seasons best 162.26) and Ashley Cain/Timothy LeDuc (USA/seasons best 176.35). Reigning World and Four Continents Champions Wenjing Sui/Cong Han (CHN) have withdrawn from the event.
The Ice Dance event features up and coming young teams including three World Junior Champions from the USA – 2017 Champions Rachel Parsons/Michael Parsons (seasons best 163.14 points), 2016 Champions Lorraine McNamara/Quinn Carpenter (seasons best 160.51) and 2015 Champions Kaitlin Hawayek/Jean-Luc Baker (seasons best 165.20). Competition should come from Carolane Soucisse/Shane Firus (CAN/seasons best 154.60), Shiyue Wang/Xinyu Liu (CHN/seasons best 158.36) and Kana Muramoto/Chris Reed (JPN/seasons best 159.30).
Jin Boyang (CHN)
Please note that for the seasonal best total scores only the ISU Grand Prix competitions (senior and junior) and ISU Challenger Series events have been taken into consideration, not other international competitions or National Championships.
The ISU awards a global prize money of US$ 289,500 at the ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships to single skaters placed 1st to 8th, to pair skating couples placed 1st to 5th and Ice Dance Couples placed 1st to 6th. The prize money is awarded as follows:
Men and Ladies Pairs and Dance (per couple)
1st place US$ 20,000 1st place US$ 30,000
2nd place US$ 13,000 2nd place US$ 19,500
3rd place US$ 8,000 3rd place US$ 12,000
4th place US$ 6,500 4th place US$ 9,750
5th place US$ 5,000 5th place US$ 7,500
6th place US$ 4,000 6th place US$ 6,000 (only Ice Dance)
7th place US$ 3,500
8th place US$ 3,000
The schedule of the ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships 2018 is as follows:
Wednesday, January 24: Short Dance, Pairs & Ladies Short Program
Thursday, January 25: Free Dance, Men’s Short Program
Friday, January 26: Pairs & Ladies Free Skating
Saturday, January 27: Men’s Free Skating, Exhibition Gala