by Kitty Hu
(11 February 2013) The 2013 ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships continued on the 10th in Osaka, Japan. The Japanese ladies swept the gold, silver and bronze medals for Ladies singles. It was the second time they have swept the medals at Four Continents, the first time occuring in 2003.
Mao Asada changed to a new free skating costume for Four Continents. Compared to her short program, Mao’s free skate did not go so perfectly, but she said it was just like what she did in her practices. Her triple Axel was two footed, and the jump was under-rotated. Mao also under-rotated her triple toe loop in the triple flip - triple toe loop combination, the triple toe loop in the double Axel - triple toe loop combination, and she doubled a Salchow. But Mao did a very good job on her spins, getting level four on all three. Even with the errors her score of 130.95 points gave Mao a season’s best, and is her best score since her personal best at the 2010 Olympics.
‘This is the first time I got more the 200 since the 2010 Olympics, so I feel I am coming back to my performance level. Today’s performance is not perfect but it went as in the practice, so I need to practice more to exceed today’s level. I would also like to put a triple-triple combination and also triple Axel in my program in the coming competition.
Akiko Suzuki won her second Four Continents silver medal after 2010. She skated a nearly clean program, except for singling an Axel, and receiving an edge call on her Lutz jump. Suzuki skated with a very strong emotion, especially doing her second step sequence, which got a plus 1.91 GoE value for her. Her result of 124.43 points was her second best score in this season.
Suzuki got her first World Championship medal last year in Nice. Facing the coming World Championship, Akiko said ‘ I was not doing good in the National Championship, but after that I have talked to my coach a lot. I want to prepare for the Worlds both technically and mentally. I am looking forward to the Worlds now, but anyway I will focus on my performance and my practice first.’
Kanako Murakami felt very happy with her performance in Osaka. ‘I haven’t skated like this for a very long time. This is my first medal for Four Continents and also the first one in an ISU Senior Championship. Although I have some small mistakes in my free, I was pleased with my performance here.’
Kanako completed her free program, but she had an edge call on her triple Lutz, and her triple flip, triple loop, and the last loop in her triple Salchow - double toe loop - double toe loop combination were all called under-rotated. 116.99 points put her in 3rd place in the free and 176.28 points in total placed her 3rd overall.
Christina Gao did a good job in the free, just missing one Lutz jump (with an edge call) on which she fell. She land a triple flip - double toe loop, a double Axel, and a triple flip, a triple toe loop, a triple loop, the triple toe loop - double toe loop - double loop combination, with four jump elements in the second half. 113.94 points put she 4th place totally.
"I am disappointed that I missed the Lutz, because I usually never miss that. That was weird for me. But I am glad I pulled it together afterwards and still did everything well."
Zijun Li from China was the only lady skater to land a perfect triple-triple combination in the free. She skated a nearly clean free except for two under-rotation calls, one on the triple flip and the other on double Axel. Lori Nichol has choreographed for her a very ambitious program including a triple flip - triple toe loop combination, and a double Axel - triple toe loop combination. 115.91 points placed her 4th in the free, after a tenth place finish in the short.
"I am very satisfied with my free today. You know that I had a very bad training this morning. I almost missed all my jumps, so going into the competition, I had not so much confidence. But I just calmed down when I took the ice."
The 16 year old girl will compete in her first World Championships in London. "After this event, I will go back to Beijing and train harder. I believe that I could do better both in short and free in London,’ she said.
Gracie Gold's free got off to a bad start, losing her balance on the triple Lutz, but she then landed a very beautiful double Axel - triple toe loop combination. The mistakes continued when she fell down on her triple loop, singled her Lutz, and then stepped out after landing the triple flip, which also had an edge call. Her 106.30 points placed her 6th in free skating.
" It wasn’t a good performance today, just coming off my perfect performance at the U.S. Championships before. It’s been pretty difficult but I have a lot of time to prepare for the Worlds so I think I will do a much better performance at London."
The day was not for Agnes Zawazki also, she missed 3 jumps in her free skate. She fell down on her triple Salchow and then doubled a Lutz and singled an Axel both in combination jumps. With 101.54 points in the free skate and 158.99 total score, she placed her 8th in both the free and total ranking.
" I am not happy with the way I skated today, especially the second half of the program. I am a little disappointed but I tried to fight my way through till the end. The Four Continents is a learning experience for me."
The Four Continent closed on the 11th, and the next Four Continents will be Taipei in 2013.
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