POSTED: Thursday February 17th 2011

ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships 2011 - DAY ONE

The 2011 ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships opened in Taipei City (TPE) on Thursday with 93 skaters/couples from 16 ISU members competing. The ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships 2011 are being held in Taipei for the first time in history.

Tessa Virtue/Scott Moir (CAN) dance to the lead

Olympic and World Champions Tessa Virtue/Scott Moir of Canada danced to lead ahead of World and Olympic silver medalists Meryl Davis/Charlie White (USA) and Canadians Kaitlyn Weaver/Andrew Poje.

Virtue/Moir debuted their program to the Waltz “Night and Days” and to the Tango piece, “Schenkst du beim Tango mir dein Herz” as they hadn't competed yet this season due to Virtue recovering from injury. The Olympic Champions put out a smooth performance and earned a level four for the twizzles, both sections of the Golden Waltz and the lift while the side by side footwork was a level three. The Canadians scored 69.40 points to edge out Davis/White for first place by less than one point. “It's a great start. We weren't sure what to expect. The moment we stepped on the ice for practice, we had that spark and drive. We're hungry for it, for sure. It doesn't take that much to get right back into the competitive feel”, Virtue explained. “We laid down a really solid skate, so we're happy”, Moir said. “This (Four Continents) was really our goal and the World Championships; to have another world title is our goal. Our programs this year are tougher than the ones in the past”, he added.

Davis/White's classical Waltz program to “La Boheme” and “La Traviata” featured a level-four rotational lift and difficult footwork, but the twizzles were a little shaky and the first segment of the Golden Waltz had a level three. They posted a seasons best at 69.01 points. “Throughout the entire year, we have consistently gotten level four. It must have been a little mistake that we didn’t notice”, White said about the level three. “I think we’ve done it (the program) better. We got season’s best internationally for that. I think we could have sold it more but technically I thought it felt pretty good. In the free dance, we’re going to want to come out a little stronger”, he continued.

Defending Four Continents Champions Weaver/Poje delivered an elegant performance to “At Last” and “Dancing Cheek to Cheek” and were the only couple to receive a level four for all elements. With 65.45 points, they improved their seasons best significantly. “We hope to improve this performance by a lot for the next competition. But we're so happy that we've been able to achieve all the level fours, because we've been working on that so hard. It's been a very difficult challenge, but we're happy that we can do that kind of performance under pressure and even when we're not feeling at our best”, Weaver said.

Maia Shibutani/Alex Shibutani (USA) follow in fourth with a solid performance (62.04 points), just ahead of Grand Prix Final bronze medalists Vanessa Crone/Paul Poirier (CAN) with 61.66 points.

Qing Pang/Jian Tong grab Pairs Short Program

China's Qing Pang/Jian Tong won the Pairs Short Program with the two Canadian teams Paige Lawrence/Rudi Swiegers and Meagan Duhamel/Eric Radford following in second and third.

Pang/Tong laid down a solid performance to “The Pearlfishers” by Georges Bizet, hitting the triple toe, a high triple twist and throw triple loop. They achieved a level four for the lift and death spiral and picked up a seasons best of 71.41 points. However, they had an overtime deduction. “We got a seasons best and feel great about it. We wanted to raise the levels of our elements and did quite well. We hope to skate even better in the long program”, Tong said.

Lawrence/Swiegers' fun program to “City Slickers” included a triple twist, triple toeloop, a throw triple Lutz and a level-four step sequence. The Canadians scored 59.98 points. “Rudi and I came here and just wanted to have fun on the ice and skate a personal best. We're happy with how it turned out and we're hoping that we can continue on sucessfully tomorrow”, Lawrence told the press conference. Swiegers proved great sportmanship when he gave his skating boot to competitor Mark Ladwig (USA), whose boot broke midway through the Short Program. “When we saw Mark standing on the ice and the camera zoomed in on his boot I saw that the heel was broken off. I knew the only thing I could do to help out my friend was to take my skate and offer and see if he could need it”, Swiegers explained.

Duhamel/Radford went for a side by side triple Lutz, but she fell. The Canadian silver medalists recoved to produce a difficult lift, footwork and throw triple Lutz. Their routine to “Concerto pour une voix” by Saint-Preux also featured a triple twist and the team posted a new seasons best with 59.92 points. “First of all it is a triple Lutz. It is very difficult”, Duhamel noted. “It's been a monkey on my back this jump in the short, all year. I haven't missed any Lutz yet this week (in practice). I thought it was good and before I knew I was on my butt. That's when you tell yourself, ok, forget about it let's move on, you've a lot of other stuff to do”, she said.

Caitlin Yankowskas/John Coughlin (USA) are sitting in fourth place (55.25 points) and Canadian Champions Kirsten Moore-Towers/Dylan Moscovitch came fifth (54.41 points). Amanda Evora/Mark Ladwig (USA) who were able to finish their performance are currently ranked sixth (52.23 points).

The ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships continue Friday with the Men's Short Program, Pairs Free Skating and the Free Dance. For more information and full results please see: and

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Keywords · 2011 · ISU · International Skating Union · Four Continents · Figure Skating · Championships · Taipei City · Tessa Virtue · Scott Moir · Qing Pang · Jian Tong

Name: Selina Vanier
Organization: International Skating Union
Phone: +41 21 612 66 66

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