Anaheim, CA/USA

#4ContsFigure    #FigureSkating

GettyImages 1097515258

Madison Chock and Evan Bates dance their way to gold in Anaheim 2019©MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)

Coming off a 10-month break from training and competing, Madison Chock/Evan Bates (USA) upset the favorites to dance off with the gold medal at the ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships 2019 in Anaheim (USA) on Sunday. Canada’s Kaitlyn Weaver/Andrew Poje, who had sat out the Grand Prix series as well, earned the silver medal while fellow Canadians Piper Gilles/Paul Poirier pulled up from fourth to take the bronze.

Performing to “Fever” and “Burning Love” by Elvis Presley in their Free Dance, Chock/Bates produced difficult footwork and lifts, picking up a level four for the twizzles, lifts and the combination spin as well as a level three for the diagonal step sequence. The two-time World medalists earned 126.26 points and totaled 207.42 points to move up from second to win their first ISU Championship title.

As Chock was recovering from ankle surgery, the couple only started competing in January. “It feels incredible,” Chock said. “We didn’t set any expectations as far as placement, because that’s not why we are skating. We have this new found joy and happiness when we are skating and we want to share that and that is our main goal this season.”

Bates added: “We got a lot of medals, none of them are gold. If you had told us that we would win the Four Continents when we pulled out of the Grand Prix four months ago, I think we would be very surprised.”

GettyImages 1097524070

Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje's performance was a tribute to Denis Ten 2019©MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)

Weaver/Poje’s emotional dance to “S.O.S. d’un terrien en detresse” featured innovative lifts and smooth steps. The lifts, twizzles and spins were rated a level four and the 2018 World bronze medalists were ranked third in the Free Dance with 123.37 points. Overall they pulled up from third to second place at 203.93 points.

It is a very emotional piece, it was the last program he (Denis Ten) performed,” Weaver said about their program that they dedicated to late Kazakh figure skater and 2014 Olympic bronze medalist Ten.

“He was a very dear friend of ours so every time this music plays we think of him. It is a great inspiration because he was not only an amazing skater but an amazing person. We just hope to give our best to him through this. We feel very positive about what we can bring back from this competition.”

Gilles/Poirier completed five level-four elements in their romantic routine to “Starry Starry Night” and came second in the Free Dance on 124.40 points. They accumulated 202.45 points overall to return to the Four Continents podium for the first time since 2014.

We’re really proud of the Free Dance that we put out today, we really created a moment and that was well reflected in the scores we got, by far the highest components we’ve ever gotten on a program,” Poirier said.

“It’s really exciting for us, it’s the step we wanted to take at this event and sets us up well for Words. It shows us that we’re on the right track and where we can continue to do better.”

GettyImages 1097526966

Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier earned a place on the podium with their Free Dance 2019©MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images

2018 World silver medalists Madison Hubbell/Zachary Donohue (USA) dropped from first to fourth (201.66 points) after the stationary lift in their “Romeo and Juliet” program merited only the base value and their spin was graded a level two. Defending Four Continents Champions Kaitlin Hawayek/Jean-Luc Baker (USA) finished fifth on 189.87 points and Laurence Fournier Beaudry/Nikolaj Sorensen (CAN) came sixth (186.91 points).

The ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships 2019 conclude Sunday evening with the Exhibition Gala. Click on the highlighted text for entry listsfull results and the official event website. Follow the discussion on social media using #4ContsFigure and #FigureSkating.