Shoma Uno has won just about every silver medal that one can win — he has two from the World Championships and another from last year’s Olympic Winter Games. He has also been the runner up at two Grand Prix Finals.
But, on his fifth attempt, the Japanese champion finally captured the Four Continents title.
Fourth after the short program, Uno’s performance to “Moonlight Sonata” was rich in technical content and packed with solid program components. He landed three quad jumps — a flip and two toe loops along with five other clean triples on his way to victory.
But Uno was also captured the hearts of the audience, performing with an understated command. Uno’s blades cut through the ice without a sound as his body floated over the ice with ease and the program seemed to be over in the blink of an eye.
Uno earned the second highest score of the season — 289.12 points — and now trails only two-time Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu.
“Today after I finished, rather than being happy, I felt relieved to have pushed myself through the competition,” he said. “I was able to place in the first place, but I want to keep working hard.
“I don’t want to be caught up by rankings, but I am very happy about winning the title. I am very happy with how I did in today’s program. This was the first title that I won in a big competition at the senior level, and it means a lot to me. I want to continue to work hard so that I can get the title at Worlds.”
Defending champion Boyang Jin moved up from third place after the short program to capture the silver medal with 273.51 points. Jin seemed to skate cautiously until his jumps were complete, and then he unleashed the character of the program to the delight of the audience. It was his best outing since last year’s Olympic Winter Games. The two-time World Championships medalist attempted three quad jumps and landed two cleanly in his Flamenco-themed program. He also connected on six triple jumps.
“Overall I did OK. But the two programs both have errors,” he said. “My feeling now is that I hope I can do better in the World Championships in one month. I also feel a little frustrated — probably because my training was not going so well recently. So I need to train better for the World Championships.”
“I think I adjusted myself mentally a little bit now, and I just want to use the competition experience I have now to compete and enjoy the competition. I think I’m way calmer than before, so I feel like there’s no such difficulty that I cannot overcome in the future.”
Slipping to third place after leading the short program, Vincent Zhou returned to his habit of under-rotating the jumps in his “Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon” program. Zhou attempted three quads, receiving full credit for just one — his opening Lutz. His was just the fifth best program of the night, but his short program score provided the buffer he needed to claim a spot on the podium. He earned a season’s best of 272.22 overall.
“I’m very proud of myself at this competition for continuing the upward trend I’ve put myself on. I’m looking forward to the next one, training for Worlds,” he said. “I hope to improve the consistency of the good quality elements I’ve been doing. I thought I showed more of that at this competition. I’m not satisfied with my performance but I‘m also proud of myself for how I did. It was a good competition, a very deep field, and I’m proud to be among the medalists here.”
Canada’s Keegan Messing finished in fourth place with 267.61 points. “I’m very excited. I think that’s the highest score I’ve ever put in the program,” he said.
Jason Brown of the U.S. finished in fifth place with 258.89 points, while South Korea’s Junhwan Cha plummeted from second after the short to sixth overall with 255.83 points. Cha was charged with six under rotations in his program. “I am actually satisfied,” Cha said. “My technical jumps were not perfect, but I tried my best until the end of the program so I am happy about fighting it through.”