The 12 medals awarded at 2016 Four Continents in Taipei City went to skaters from four nations. China and the U.S. topped the leaderboard with both nations capturing four medals. Canada and Japan each claimed two.
PATRICK CHAN STAGES A COMEBACK
Patrick Chan rose from fifth after the short to mine gold by a whisper over China’s Boyang Jin.
Skating last in the free, Chan delivered a solid performance, that included a quad toe-triple toe loop, a quad toe loop, two triple Axels, as well as four further triple jumps, difficult spins and footwork. He claimed his third Four Continents title with 290.21 points. “I feel like all the work and the stress I had to go through this season with my coach and myself paid off,” he said. “It all came out in that program just the way it was supposed to be. It just felt exhilarating. I know this isn’t the World Championships, but this is one step closer. This year has been so successful for the first year back.”
Jin produced four quadruple jumps (Lutz, Salchow and two toe loops) and five triples including two Axels in his program to “Dragon Racing,” earning a combined score of 289.83. He slipped from first after the short to second overall. “I competed for the first time at Four Continents and therefore I felt that I’m competing against myself mainly,” Jin said. “I feel like my free skate is a challenge from my first to my last jump. I performed quite well and I landed all the quads. I did them before at the national Winter Games and it gave me confidence for this competition. But the quality of the jumps was not as good as today.”
Jin is the first skater to complete four quadruple jumps in a free skate iin international competition and also the first skater to land three different kinds of quads in one program.
His teammate Han Yan placed third with a strong performance to “Romeo and Juliet.” The program was highlighted by two quad toe loops and seven triple jumps. The 19-year-old accumulated 271.55 points to earn his third bronze medal at the Four Continents Championships. “The performance was the best of the season. Today I put out the best of me and I feel happy about it,” Yan said.
Three Japanese men rounded out the top six. Shoma Uno dropped from second to fourth (269.81); Takahito Mura came fifth (268.43) and Keiji Tanaka placed sixth (222.70).
SATOKO MIYAHARA STRIKES GOLD
Satoko Miyahara of Japan captured the gold medal and her first Championship title in Taipei City. Skating to “Un Sospiro” by Franz Liszt, Miyahara reeled off seven triple jumps including two double Axel triple-toe loop combinations and collected level 4s for her spins and footwork. The 2015 World silver medalist scored 214.91 points to take the title.
“In the first half of the season I was happy with my performances, but I had a lot of second places. I also was twice the silver medalist at Four Continents. So coming into this competition I was aiming to win. I’m pleased I met my goal and it gives me a good feeling heading into Worlds,” the 17-year-old said.
Mirai Nagasu said she wanted to close out her season with no regrets. Sitting in third after the short, Nagasu put down a strong performance to “The Great Gatsby” that featured a triple flip-triple toe and five other triples, as well Level 4 spins. Her accumulated score of 193.86 moved her up to second place. “I think it’s safe to say that I haven’t skated like this in a long, long time. It’s taken a lot to get me back on the podium and I’m so grateful to my team and support group who have gotten me here. I hope to only improve and continue on this track of improvement,” Nagasu said.
Japan’s Rika Hongo fell on her opening triple flip-triple toe combination, but rallied back to land five triples in her routine to “Riverdance.” She was ranked fifth in the free but pulled up from fourth to third with 181.78 points.
“Last year I participated for the first time at Four Continents and I finished third,” she recalled. “This time I’m glad I made it back on to the podium again, but I’m not completely satisfied with my performance. I think I have many things to improve and I can do much better.”
Korea’s So Youn Park finished fourth (178.92); Gracie Gold ranked third in the free and pulled up from ninth to finish fifth (178.39), and Kaetlyn Osmond moved up from 11th to sixth (175.63).
SHIB SIBS CAPTURE TITLE
Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani claimed their ISU Championship title in Taiwan.
Performing to “Fix You” by Coldplay, the duo executed a solid free dance, earning Level 4s for all elements other than the circular footwork, which was graded a Level 3. The brother-and-sister team scored 181.62 points. “It (winning) is a really gratifying feeling,” Alex said. “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.”
Madison Chock and Evan Bates picked up a Level 4 for their lifts, twizzles and spin, while the two step sequences merited a Level 3. The American team scored 174.64 points to take the silver. “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,” Chock said. “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.”
Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje performance to “This Bitter Earth” was highlighted by two Level 4 lifts and Level 3 footwork, but they were shaky on the twizzles and the rotational lift. The defending Four Continents champions ranked fourth in the free dance and slipped from second to third with 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 — we fought to the end,” Poje said. “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.”
Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue ranked third in the free but dropped from third to fourth (172.29). Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier finished fifth with 162.19 points. Canada’s Elisabeth Paradis and François-Ouellette overcame a costume failure to place sixth (146.94 points).
CHINA STRIKES BACK
Wenjing Sui and Cong Han skated off with the gold medal in their first competition since an injury sidelined Sui last year. Sui and Han’s performance to “Samson and Delilah” was highlighted by a quad twist, quad throw Salchow, a triple toe-double toe and three level four lifts, but Sui missed the side by side triple Salchow. The 2015 World silver medalists posted a new personal best and racked up 221.91 overall to win their third Four Continents title.
“We didn’t have systematic training coming into this. My partner fell on a throw jump, which hurt her, and she got sick with the flu,” Han explained. “Once we got to Taipei we adapted quickly to the weather and the atmosphere and we recovered. However, I think that we only showed 50 percent of our level. We didn’t get the high levels a usual and we had problems with the side-by-side jump. We hope we can prepare well for Boston.”
Skating to “Elizabeth the Golden Age”, Alexa Scimeca and Chris Knierim produced a level-four quad twist, side-by-side triple Salchows and a triple toe-double toe, as well as throw triple flip and Salchow. The 2014 Four Continents bronze medalists improved on their previous personal best significantly and with a total of 207.96 they moved up from third to second. “To finally get that done feels great. It’s been so long and this is such a great boost for us going into Worlds. We showed what we can achieve,” Knierim said. “Even today there were some little mistakes, but we weren’t thinking about a score that high, even with a clean program. It’s just amazing.”
China’s Xiaoyu Yu and Yang Jin’s program to “Humility and Love” included a triple twist, throw triple Salchow and difficult lifts, but she fell on the throw triple loop. The two-time World Junior champions scored 187.33 points and moved up from fourth to claim the bronze in their debut at the this Championship. “There were some mistakes and the jumps affected the flow. Also the speed was affected after the fall. We will go back and try our best to prepare for the World Championship. My partner was injured and then she got sick we were behind in our preparation,” Jin explained.
Tarah Kayne and Daniel O’Shea from the U.S. pulled up from seventh to fourth with 182.02 points, followed by Canada’s Lubov Iliushechkina and Dylan Moscovitch (179.67). Marissa Castelli and Mervin Tran earned 175.08 points to land in sixth.
Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford, who stood in second place following the short program, were forced to withdraw from the competition after Duhamel contracted a stomach virus.
2016 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS