POSTED: Friday February 6th 2009

ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships 2009

Day Two

The ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships 2009 continued in Vancouver, Canada, Thursday with the Original Dance, the Pairs Free Skating and the Men’s Short Program. The Four Continents Championships come to Vancouver for the first time. Canada has hosted ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships before in 1999 in Halifax and in 2004 in Hamilton. The ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships have been established in 1999 and since then have been growing year by year.
Ice Dance, Original Dance
The Original Dance of the 2008/09 season is rhythms and dances of the 20s, 30s and 40s. The 11 couples in the event chose Swing, Lindy Hop, Blues, Charleston, Ragtime and Slow Fox for their routines.
Tessa Virtue/Scott Moir of Canada defended their overnight lead ahead of Meryl Davis/Charlie White (USA). Emily Samuelson/Evan Bates (USA) moved up from fourth to third place.
Virtue/Moir put out an entertaining Charleston routine in the roles of a movie star and a photographer. The routine was highlighted by excellent twizzles, smooth footwork and a straight line lift with changes of position. Both step sequences were graded a level three while the spin, twizzles and lift were a level four. The reigning World silver medalists earned 60.90 points (31.60/29.30) and now have 97.30 overall. “We couldn’t have skated much better than that”, Moir told the press. “At the beginning of the year, we were trying to come up with new stuff by watching different swing videos. Marina (Zueva), wanted it to be rolling. The three of us tried to interpret what Marina wanted. We came up with the Rio Wrap”, he continued.
Davis/White also chose a Charleston and opened with their trademark fast and well synchronized twizzles, followed by the diagonal steps and a dance spin. The U.S. Champions were awarded a level four for the twizzles and the lift and a level three for their other elements to score a new seasons best of 60.42 points. So far they have accumulated 95.65 points.
Samuelson/Bates produced a very characteristic Swing dance to “Let Yourself Go” from the “Follow the Fleet” soundtrack that featured precise footwork, a straight line lift and a dance spin. The Technical Panel awarded a level four to four out of the five elements and the reigning World Junior Champions achieved the highest technical score of the day. They posted a new personal best of 59.48 points (33.10/26.38) and moved up from fourth to third place at now 90.89 points. 
Pairs, Free Skating
The first Champions were crowned in the Pairs event. Qing Pang/Jian Tong of China claimed the gold and their fourth title at the ISU Four Continents Championships. Canada’s Jessica Dubé/Bryce Davison earned the silver medal and the bronze went to Dan Zhang/Hao Zhang from China.
Pang/Tong had drawn to skate last and turned in a strong performance to a Tango selection and “Concierto de Aranjuez”. The current Grand Prix Final Champions reeled off a double Axel-double Axel sequence, a triple toeloop, high triple twist, as well as a big throw triple loop and Salchow. They also produced difficult spins and lifts, receiving a level four for the side by side spin, the forward inside death spiral, the pair combination spin and two lifts. The Chinese earned a new seasons best score of 129.34 points (67.66 element score/61.60 program component score) for their Free Skating and collected 194.94 points overall to take the gold. It was their fourth Four Continents title. They had won before in 2002, 2004 and 2008. “We really like being in Canada. Next year the Olympic Games will be held here and we hope that we can come back here and skate as well as we did today”, Tong said. “Last year I had some problems with my jumps, but I’ve worked a lot on them and I think so far I’ve been doing quite well”, Pang told the press.
Performing to “Carmen” by Georges Bizet, Dubé/Davison landed a side by side double Axel-double Axel sequence and a triple Salchow as well as a throw triple loop and showed beautiful lifts. The only glitch in their otherwise fluid program came when Dubé stepped out of the throw triple Lutz. The 2008 World bronze medalists were awarded a level four for the spins and lifts as well as for the backward inside death spiral and picked up 121.26 points (63.10/58.16), which was a new seasons best for them. Their total score added up to 185.62 points and the team earned their first medal at the Four Continents Championships. They had competed in the event once before in 2007, but had to withdraw during the Free Skating due to injury.
Zhang/Zhang opened their routine to “The Yellow River Piano Concerto” with a double Axel-triple toeloop sequence, but she doubled the second jump. A solid throw triple Salchow, their trademark high triple twist, a toe lasso lift and a throw triple loop followed, but then Dan Zhang struggled again with the side by side Salchow and singled it as she did in the Short Program yesterday. She also stumbled on the exit of their hand-to-hip lift, but the World silver medalists recovered to produce a level-three step sequence and a level-four pair combination spin. Zhang/Zhang received 111.78 points (55.54/56.24) for this performance and remained in third place at 174.98 points overall.
Men, Short Program
Today’s competition ended with the Men’s Short Program. To the delight of the home crowd, Canada’s Patrick Chan gave a memorable performance to take the lead ahead of Evan Lysacek (USA) and Takahiko Kozuka of Japan.
Skating to “Tango de los Exilados”, Chan nailed a beautiful triple Axel, triple flip-triple toe combination, a triple Lutz and then just flew over the ice in his footwork. The crowd went wild during his straight line steps and rose to their feet even during Chan’s final spin. The Canadian earned a level four for the three spins as well as for the straight line footwork and posted a huge 88.90 points (50.30 element score/38.60 program component score), improving his previous personal best of 81.39 significantly. This was the second highest score ever achieved in the Men’s Short Program so far. Evgeni Plushenko (RUS) still holds the record with 90.66 points from the 2006 Olympic Winter Games. “In the beginning, when I got on the ice for the warm up, I actually didn’t feel the greatest. I felt not so confident and not so under my legs. I had a weird warm-up, some little mistakes around. But I got off, and that is what the warm up is for  - to make those little mistakes and get the bugs out. When I got on for the Short Program, I felt really solid and under myself and it showed”, Chan commented. “When I have the chills at the end of the program, I know I nailed it. I had chills.” 
Lysacek turned in a crisp “Bolero” by Maurice Ravel, opening with a triple Axel followed by a triple Lutz-triple toeloop combination, a triple flip and fast, well centered spins. His passionate performance spurred the second standing ovation of the evening. The two-time Four Continents Champion was awarded a level four for two spins and a level three for the footwork and the change foot sit spin. He earned a new seasons best of 81.65 points (44.30/37.35).
Kozuka’s jazzy routine to “Take Five” included a triple Axel, triple Lutz-triple toe, a triple flip as well as strong spins and steps. However, he had to fight for the landing of the Axel. The Grand Prix Final silver medalist scored 76.61 points (42.76/33.85).
The ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships continue Friday with the Free Dance and the Men’s Free Skating. For more information and full results please see: and An extended version of this report will be available on the website later today.


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Keywords · ISU · ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships 2009

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