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2013 Four Continents Championships

Yuzuru Hanyu Takes Lead in Men's Short Program

 by Kitty Hu





(9 February 2013)  The 2013 ISU Four Continent Figure Skating Championships Opened on February 8th in Osaka, Japan.   The Men’s Short Program started after the Short Dance on the first day of competition. Yuzuru Hanyu from Japan placed first with a mistake on his combination jump, the origin World Junior Champion Han Yan from China placed second, and Richard Dornbush from USA skated a clean short to place third.

The Japanese National Champion Yuzuru Hanyu showed a very passionate short today.  He land his quad Toe and triple Axel very smoothly, getting +2 GoEs and 2.71 GoE points on the two jumps. However, he singled the Lutz in a combination jump. He got 87.65 on his short which is 7.67 points lower than his personal best (which is also the word record score which he achieved at NHK).  Hanyu said, ‘I don’ know what happened with my Lutz , I felt very confident before I took the ice, although I made a mistake during the 6 minutes warming up, but I don’t mind. I had good practice these days, so I think I could do it today.’

Going to the long he said, ‘I had a good start today, it let me get a better position than the others, but the free is also very important , so I will calm down and prepare for the free. My coach Brian always tells me that the foundation of the skating is very important, the program is built up by every element, and I just want to focus on every small element.  Then the program will be fine.’

Han Yan, maink his senior debut at this Four Continent Championship, landed a triple Axel, a quad toe loop, and a triple Lutz - triple toe loop combination jump in the second half.  The 2012 Word Junior Champion suffered a bad injury during the 2012-2013 Junior Grand Prix, and missed the Junior Grand Prix Final. Now he finally made his personal best on the short.  ‘After I got injured this season, my training really could not go as I wished for quite a long time in Harbin.  But for preparing for this championship I came to Beijing for 2 weeks and felt better then.  I didn’t have any pressure on the rink.  I just want to show what I did in the practice.  I am very satisfied with my performance today.’

Comparing the junior and senior competition, Yan said, ‘Junior competition gave me more pressure because I always think about the ranking and how mmany points I could get; but for the senior, I came here only to get the experience, not for win, so I do not have pressure at all.’  His score of 85.08 seemed to not surprised Han Yan.  ‘I am satisfied with the score, but I know how I skated today, so I think I could get more points than the usual,’ he said.

Richard Dornbush from the U.S. also showed his best short this season.  He land a quad toe and a triple Lutz - triple toe loop combination in the second half.  But for the triple Axel, one hand touched down, and his score was reduced 1 point on GoE.  He scored 83.01 points on his short program, which is also his personal best for the short.  Dornbush placed 6th in the U.S. championship this year.  He is the first substitution for team USA, and came to Japan because Adam Rippon could not compete due to injury.  ‘After the U.S. Championship I just continued my training because last year I also was the first substitution for Four Continents, and you would never know what will happen, so I still have the chance. But for sure the training was not going well when you don’t know whether you will compete or not, until the last Sunday, when the call came telling me I can come here.  It was a great chance for me, and I was motivated and focus on training,’ he said.

Daisuke Takahashi showed his new short program, choreographed by Nikolai Morozov, which had 2 mistakes today.  Skating to "Moonlight Sonata" by Beethoven, he stepped out the first quad toe, and fell down on the triple Axel.  After these he finally landed the triple Lutz - triple toe loop combination.  He scored 82.62 points and placed 4th after short.  ‘My performance tonight is so bad , I just changed the short music for a very short time, so the training time was not enough.  I felt I couldn't move like I wanted.  The new short may take some time to get better,’ he said.

Takahashi also mentioned why he made this change.  ‘Coach Morozov advised me to change the short.  The rock medley is not bad, but maybe can not earn enough points. I haven’t skate classic music for a very long time, I wanted to make a try,’ he explained.

Chinese skater Nan Song skated a clean short with a big combination of quad toe loop - triple toe loop, a triple Axel and a triple Lutz today. He showed a very strong passion after the performance because he had not skated as he wished for a very long time.  His 81.16 point score also made his personal best.

‘I felt a very big relief after the short, because I experienced injuries, illness and the accident during Cup of China, and I finally could show my program today. The Japanese audience clapping their hands to the tempo during my skating that also gave me lots of motivation,’  he said.  Song will skate last in the free skate.

The last skater to make the last free skate group is Kevin Reynolds from Canada. He was the only skater who planned to do two quads in the short program, but both the quad toe loop and the quad Salchow in the combination were under-rotated.  With 78.34 points he also made his season best on the short program.

Denis Ten from Kazakhstan, who skated to "The Artist" by Bource, changed his jump composition plan tonight. He did a triple Axel at the beginning instead of a quad toe loop.  He stepped out his triple flip - triple toe loop combination, and landed the triple Lutz as his last jump.  Although he dropped the quad, he still scored a personal best with 78.05 points.

Takahito Mura has shown strong jumps this season, but unfortunately he had some problems with his jumps today.  He stepped out the second jump of the quad toe triple toe loop combination and didn’t land well on the triple Lutz.  His triple Axel was fine and received a plus 1.43 GoE value.  Mura won his second Japanese National Champion medal behind Kozuka this year, and he is very looking forward to the World Championships in London Canada.

Ross Miner did not show his best performance today.  He doubled his quad Salchow jump, but landed a triple Axel and a triple Lutz - triple toe loop combination in the second half.  His 74.01 points placed him 9th in the short program.  Miner placed 3rd at last year's Four Continents, where he achieved his personal best in the short with 76.89 points, and he would like to show better in the free.

The new U.S. National Champion, Max Aaron, finished 10th after Miner.  The 21-year-old skater doesn’t have much international competition experience, with the the 2013 Four Continent his senior ISU championship debut, and also his very first ISU A class competition.  He landed a quad Salchow - double toe combination, and a triple Lutz, but fell on his triple Axel.  With 72.46 points, he placed 10th in the short.

Canadian Andrei Rogozine, who placed 11th in the short program, also debuted at Four Continent here in Osaka.  His short program was clean with a triple flip - triple toe loop combination, a triple Axel and a triple loop. His score of 70.58 points is his personal best, for which he was very excited after his performance.

Misha Ge from Uzbekistan (70.26 ), Yi Wang from China( 68.24 ), Michael Christian MARTINEZ from Philippines (64.62 ), Abzal RAKIMGALIEV from Kazakhstan (60.83 ), Christopher CALUZA from Philippines (58.53), Jin Seo Kim from Korea(58.04),June Hyoung Lee from Korea (55.63), Brendan Kerry from Australia (53.37 ), Elladj BALDE from Canada( 51.91), Min-Seok Kim from Korea (51.43), Jordan Ju from Chinese Taipei (42.78), and David KRANJEC from Australia (40.51) placed 12 to 23rd on the short program.

The Men's competition will continue on the second day of the 2013 Four Continent Championships.

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