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2019 Four Continents

Anaheim, CA, USA


EVENT REPORTS

Ladies Event

Men's Event

Pairs Event

Ice Dance Event

(February 6, 2019) - The 2019 Four Continents Figure Skating Championships began February 5, 2019 at Honda Center, in Anaheim, California, with two days of practice ice, and competitive events beginning on Feb. 7.  Skaters from North America, South America, Asia and Oceania will be competing this year in singles, pairs and ice dancing.

Four Continents has been held annually since 1999, and was last held in the United States in 2012, when it was held in Colorado Springs, Colorado. It was also held in the United States in 2006, 2007 and 2011.

The original ISU allocation for this competition had Colorado Springs as the destination, but that was shortly thereafter changed to Anaheim, in the hope that city would draw a greater audience (particular from Japan), and also (it was rumored) because the athletes do not enjoy competing at altitude (5939 ft) in Colorado Springs.

The 18-member U.S. team at Four Continents includes 2019 U.S. champions Ashley Cain & Timothy LeDuc (pairs), and Madison Hubbell & Zachary Donohue (Ice Dance), as well as former U.S. champions Bradie Tennell, Vincent Zhou, Jason Brown, Madison Chock & Evan Bates and Tarah Kayne & Danny O’Shea.

The Ladies event has 22 entries from 12 countries, including a strong contingent from Japan, consisting of 2018 Grand Prix Final champion Rika KIHIRA, Mai MIHARA, and Kaori SAKAMOTO.

In the Men's event 26 skaters from 12 countries will be competing, again with the Japanese team a strong presence led by 2018 Olympic and World silver medalist Shoma UNO.

The Pairs event includes just 8 teams form three countries, Canada, China and the United States.  The team with the highest reputation in the event is  Wenjing SUI & Cong HAN, the 2018 Olympic silver medalist.  Sui & Han, however have withdrawn from every major competition since the Olympics, from four International competitions and Chinese Nationals in the last year, so their presence here will be a major test of their condition and future competitiveness.

Dance has a field of 12 couples from 5 countries, led by Madison HUBBELL & Zachary DONOHUE, who placed fourth at the 2018 Olympics and second at the 2018 World Championships.

U.S. Entries at ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships 2019

DISCIPLINE

NAME

HOMETOWN

TRAINING TOWN

Ladies

Mariah Bell

Long Beach, California

Lakewood, California

Ting Cui

Baltimore, Maryland

Colorado Springs, Colorado

Bradie Tennell

Carpentersville, Illinois

Buffalo Grove, Illinois

Men

Jason Brown

Highland Park, Illinois

Toronto

Tomoki Hiwatashi

Hoffman Estates, Illinois

Colorado Springs, Colorado

Vincent Zhou

Palo Alto, California

Colorado Springs, Colorado

Pairs

Ashley Cain &Timothy LeDuc

Coppell, Texas
Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Euless, Texas

Haven Denney &  Brandon Frazier

Ocala, Florida
Colorado Springs, Colorado

Wesley Chapel, Florida

Tarah Kayne & Danny O’Shea

Bradenton, Florida
Gurnee, Illinois

Colorado Springs, Colorado

Ice Dance

Madison Chock & Evan Bates

Novi, Michigan
Ann Arbor, Michigan

Montreal

Kaitlin Hawayek & Jean-Luc Baker

East Aurora, New York
Edmonds, Washington

Montreal

Madison Hubbell & Zachary Donohue

Sylvania, Ohio
Madison, Connecticut

Montreal

Feb 6.  Chin-I Tsao (TPE) has withdrawn from the Men's event following the practice session Wednesday citing injury.  He sustained an injury to his left ankle before coming to Four Continents, and did not recover in time.

Feb 7. Bradie Tennell (USA) takes lead in Ladies Short Program.  Kaori Sakamoto (JPN) trails by 0.55 points.  Mariah Bell (USA) places third.

Tennell won the short program with a season’s best 73.91 points. The 2018 U.S. champion had a clean skate with all positive Grades of Execution.

“I feel like I performed very well,” Tennell said. “I’m extremely happy with how I did. It’s exactly how I train at home and it’s what I wanted to do here, to go out there and trust myself and trust my training.”

Reigning U.S. bronze medalist Mariah Bell also finished in the top three in the short program, tying her season’s best with 70.02 points

“I think it’s the first time I’ve put out a really solid short program and I have so much more room to grow,” Bell said.

Japan’s Kaori Sakamoto rounded out the top three after the short program, finishing second with 73.36 points.

Vincent Zhou (USA) topped his season’s best score in the Men's Short Program by over 20 points, scoring 100.18 point. In his Four Continents debut, the 2019 U.S. silver medalist opened with a quad Lutz-triple toe combination followed by a quad Salchow. He was awarded Level 4 marks on every element.

“This is my first time breaking 100 in the short in international competition,” Zhou said. “I am very happy with this result. It is a reward and a testimony to the hard work I’ve been putting in.”

Junhwan Cha (KOR) place second with 97.33 points, landing quad Salchow.  Boyang Jin (CHN) lies in third with 92.17 points.  Jason Brown (USA) led in PCS, and placed sixth.  He did not attempt a quad, and under-rotated his triple Axel.

Feb 8.  The ice dance event began Friday afternoon with the competition for the Rhythm Dance. Two-time reigning U.S. Champions Madison Hubbell & Zachary Donohue placed first in the segment, scoring a season’s best 81.95 points.

“We’re very pleased,” Hubbell said. “I think we’ve been putting so much work this season, and we’ve improved so much, and it’s testament to that.”

Madison Chock & Evan Bates narrowly finished in second place, scoring 81.17 points for their performance. The 2019 U.S. silver medals skated in their third competition this season, after sitting out most of the fall season as Chock recovered from injury.

“We’ve done a lot of work to prepare for three competitions in a short period of time, this being the third, and I feel like we’re building each time we compete,” Bates said. “This rhythm dance is the best of the year so far.”

Kaitlin Hawayek & Jean-Luc Baker placed fifth in the rhythm dance with 74.42 points. The duo won the event last year.

Canada’s Kaitlyn Weaver & Andrew Poje are in third place (80.56) heading into Sunday’s free dance.

In the pairs competition, Canada’s Kirsten Moore-Towers & Michael Marinaro lead after the Short Program with 74.66 points, followed by the Chinese teams of Wenjing Sui & Cong Han (74.19), and Cheng Peng & Yang Jin (69.48) in second and third place. 2019 U.S. Champions Ashley Cain & Timothy LeDuc were the top American team, scoring a season’s best 67.49 points to finish fourth.

“We did a fist pump after the program, because we were really pleased with the effort we put out today,” LeDuc said

Tarah Kayne & Danny O’Shea, who claimed the Four Continents title in 2018, are in fifth place with 66.34 points, while Haven Denney & Brandon Frazier  placed seventh after earning 61.71 points.

In the evening session the Ladies skated their long programs.

Bradie Tennell led the U.S. contingent, finishing in fifth place with 202.07 total points. In her 128.16-point free skate, the 2018 U.S. champion landed five triple jumps and was awarded four Level 4 spins. 

“I love skating for a home crowd, the energy is so great,” Tennell said. “I am grateful to all the fans for showing their support.”

Just behind Tennell, 2019 U.S. bronze medalist Mariah Bell placed sixth in the competition with an overall score of 193.94. The local skater scored 123.92 points in her free skate, which included an opening double Axel-triple toe combination.

“I was surprised by the fall on the [triple] loop and then I kind of had a hard time refocusing after that,” Bell said. “You live and learn, and Worlds will be better.”

Ting Cui scored 98.11 points in her free skate for a total score of 164.84 points, finishing in 11th place.

Feb 9.  Japan’s Shoma Uno topped the podium with 289.12 points and China’s Boyang Jin finished second with 273.51 points.

Vincent Zhou took the bronze medal for the men’s competition after posting a free skate score of 172.04 points to achieve an overall score to 272.22.

“I’m very proud of myself for continuing the upward trend I’ve put myself on,” Zhou said. “The audience was absolutely incredible and they helped me feel good about how I skated.”

Jason Brown finished fourth in the free skate (172.32) to earn 258.89 total points and place fifth overall. The 2018 Four Continents bronze medalist rallied to notch the second-highest components score of the event.

“I’m so proud of my fight out there and scoring my season’s best today,” Brown said. “I’ll keep building onto that momentum into Worlds.”

Tomoki Hiwatashi finished eighth overall (236.79) in his Four Continents debut. His personal best 159.84-point free skate opened with a quad toe loop-triple toe loop combination.

“I’m really glad that I did the greatest program I’ve ever done in my life here and I wish everyone had a great time watching me on the ice,” Hiwatashi said.

In the Pairs competition China’s Wenjing Sui & Cong Han topped the podium with 211.11 total points. Kirsten Moore-Towers & Michael Marinaro of Canada won the silver medal with 211.05, and China’s Cheng Peng & Yang Jin placed third with 205.42.

2019 U.S. champions Ashley Cain and Timothy LeDuc were the top American team and fourth overall with 196.82 points. The team scored 129.33 points in their free skate. They placed second in the event last year.

“We’re really proud of our effort today,” LeDuc said. “It sets us up well for the World Championships.”

Haven Denney & Brandon Fraziertook the fifth spot with 184.18 total points. The duo achieved four Level 4 elements to score 122.47 in their free skate.

“We’re proud of our performance because we had a tough start to the season and we came out here showing promise and improvement,” Denney said.

2018 Four Continents champions Tarah Kayne & Danny O’Sheafinished just behind Denney and Frazier in sixth place with 180.36 total points after scoring 114.02 points in their free skate.

“I’m very disappointed in my performance today,” Kayne said. “I think we just got a little off and unfortunately we weren’t able to overcome today.”

Feb 10.  Madison Chock & Evan Bates won their first Four Continents title Sunday afternoon at the Four Continents Figure Skating Championships.

The Montreal-based team received a Level 4 on all but one element in their Michael Buble and Elvis Presley free dance to earn a segment score of 126.25. In their third competition in five weeks for their comeback after Chock’s 10-month recovery from ankle surgery, they topped the podium with 207.42 points. Both scores are the highest internationally by an American team under the new judging system.

“If you had told us that we would win Four Continents when we pulled out of the Grand Prix four months ago, I think we would be very surprised,” Bates said post-performance. “We’re so proud of our performances. We keep building.”

The win marks Chock and Bates’ fifth Four Continents medal in as many trips to the event.

Canadian ice dance teams Kaitlyn Weaver & Andrew Poje and Piper Gilles & Paul Poirier finished second with 203.93 and third with 202.45, respectively.

Two-time and reigning U.S. champions Madison Hubbell & Zachary Donohue finished fourth with 119.71 points for their Romeo and Juliet free dance. The team, who led after the rhythm dance, received the highest program component marks of the day with 57.21. After receiving a base level for their opening stationary lift, Hubbell and Donohue landed less than a point off the podium with 201.66 points overall.

“We would rather it happens here than Worlds, so maybe it’s a good wake-up call to make sure that everything is good for Worlds,” Hubbell said of the technical call. “We will go home and work in the next five weeks to do absolutely our best in Japan.”

Kaitlin Hawayek & Jean-Luc Baker set their new season’s best scores en route to a fifth-place finish on the final day of the event. With four Level 4 elements and all positive Grades of Execution, the 2019 U.S. bronze medalists tallied a segment score of 115.45 points for their performance to music by The Irrepressibles. They finished the competition with a total score of 189.87.

“It was a season’s best score-wise and performance-wise and we both felt like it was our strongest showing yet,” Hawayek said. “We’re still working on little details and levels and making sure that we’re at the program’s fullest potential by March in Worlds. We’re really happy for this stepping stone.”

EVENT REPORTS

Ladies Event

Men's Event

Pairs Event

Ice Dance Event