Daisuke Takahashi claimed his first Four Continents title today in fine style, setting a new world record by earning the highest combined score ever awarded under the current judging system. Canada’s Jeffrey Buttle skated into second place and Evan Lysacek from the U.S. had to settle for bronze.
Takahashi, the last of the 21 competitors contesting the event, delivered a stunning performance to Tchaikovski’s “Romeo and Juliet.” Opening the program with a quad toe loop, the Japanese star executed a quad toe-double toe seconds later, followed by a textbook triple Axel. Without missing a beat, he reeled off a triple Axel-double toe-double loop, triple flip-triple toe, triple Salchow and a triple Lutz in succession. His only glitch was a slight falter on the triple loop.
The reigning Japanese champion earned 175.84 points, improving on his previous personal best score by 12.35 points. He racked up an impressive 264.41 points overall.
Takahashi’s free skating mark and his combined point total put him on top of the world, displacing Russia’s Evgeni Plushenko who claimed the record at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games with a free skating score of 167.67 points and a combined score of 258.33.
“I’m so happy to have achieved my best result,” Takahashi said. “During my performance, I was calm, everything was smooth – the jumps, the spins, the steps, and I was careful, focused on each detail. I landed two quads for the first time in an ISU competition, and this is a big improvement for me. I got a great score, and it gives me confidence for Worlds.”
For Buttle, this competition was redemption. After a tough Grand Prix season, Buttle had a lot to prove to himself. The two-time Four Continents champion scored 150.17 points, a new seasonal best and claimed silver with 234.02 points.
Lysacek, the 2007 Four Continents champion, fell on his opening quad toe and received 149.05 points. His final score of 233.11 points left him in third place.
In honor of his amazing achievements, Daisuke Takahashi will grace the cover of the March/April issue of International Figure Skating magazine. IFS has the exclusive story and photos of this exciting champion.