Four Continents Championships

Men's Event

All photos Copyright 2004 by George S. Rossano

Final Standings
Place Skater Country SP FS
1 Jeffrey Buttle CAN 1 1
2 Emanuel Sandhu CAN 3 2
3 Evan Lysacek USA 4 3
4 Ryan Jahnke USA 5 5
5 Yamato Tamura JPN 2 7
6 Daisuke Takahashi JPN 9 4
7 Ben Ferreira CAN 10 6
8 Song Gao CHN 8 8
9 Xiaodong Ma CHN 6 9
10 Lun Song CHN 7 11

Ryan Bradley

USA 11 10
12 Dong-Whun Lee KOR 12 12
13 Bradley Santer AUS 13 13
14 Daniel Harries AUS 16 14
15 Stuart Beckingham AUS 14 15
16 Gareth Echardt RSA 17 16
17 Tristan Thode NZL 15 18
21 Miguel Angel Moyron MEX 21 17
19 Humberto Contreras MEX 19 19
18 Justin Pietersen RSA 18 20
20 Adrian Alvarado MEX 20 21
22 Konrad Giering RSA 22 22
dns Takeshi Honda JPN - -


Short Program

Starting Order - Short Program
  1. Daisuke Takahashi

  2. Takeshi Honda

  3. Miguel Angel Moyron

  4. Ben Ferreira

  5. Ryan Bradley

  6. Adrian Alvarado

  7. Justin Pietersen

  8. Konrad Giering

  9. Daniel Harries

  10. Song Gao

  11. Jeffrey Buttle

  12. Tristan Thode

  13. Stuart Beckingham

  14. Xiaodong Ma

  15. Bradley Santer

  16. Evan Lysacek

  17. Humberto Contreras

  18. Emanuel Sandhu

  19. Gareth Echardt

  20. Dong-Whun Lee

  21. Yamato Tamura

  22. Lun Song

  23. Ryan Jahnke


Short Program Placements
Place Skater Country
1 Jeffrey Buttle CAN
2 Yamato Tamura JPN
3 Emanuel Sandhu CAN
4 Evan Lysacek USA
5 Ryan Jahnke USA
6 Xiaodong Ma CHN
7 Lun Song CHN
8 Song Gao CHN
9 Daisuke Takahashi JPN
10 Ben Ferreira CAN

Ryan Bradley

12 Dong-Whun Lee KOR
13 Bradley Santer AUS
14 Stuart Beckingham AUS
15 Tristan Thode NZL
16 Daniel Harries AUS
17 Gareth Echardt RSA
18 Justin Pietersen RSA
19 Humberto Contreras MEX
20 Adrian Alvarado MEX
21 Miguel Angel Moyron MEX
22 Konrad Giering RSA
w Takeshi Honda JPN

Jeffrey Buttle

Yamato Tamura

Takeshi Honda, the 22-year-old skater from Korlyama who became, at 14, the youngest ever Japanese champion, and who won the Four Continenets title both last year and in 1999, and took the silver medal in 2001 and 2001, withdrew after the warm-up.

The bronze medal winner in the last two worlds explained, "It has been ten weeks now since I injured my right ankle. I have been in treatment three times a day. I tried everything Ė physio, acupuncture, ultrasound. The doctors told me it wouldnít get worse. But then it started swelling again, but I carried on, trying to skate here.

"I trained, I stroked, relaxed and tried to get it to work. But today the pain was too much to deal with. The Federation wanted me to skate because I didnít compete since Skate Canada. But it is my body, and they donít know the pain."

It is believed the some members of the Japanese Federation were upset by the fact that Honda did not withdraw sooner, allowing another Japanese man to take part.

The top 11 of the 23 men from 9 countries come from four nations, Canada, China, Japan, and the USA. The leader of the non-power house nations was Dong-Whun Lee, a 16 year old from Seoul, who was his countryís only representative in the menís event and has been runner-up for the Korean championship for the past three years. Since he was only 33rd in the his only entry to Worlds (2003), he was delighted to be in 12th place.

The actual leader is Jeff Buttle, who won this event in 2002 when it was held in Jeonju, Korea. Performing to the upbeat jazz classic Take Five by Dave Brubeck, outfitted in suitably casual brown pants and waistcoat over an open necked, butter colored shirt with rolled up sleeves and with hair highlighted like a California surfer, he under rotated his quad toe loop and fell, but sprang back up immediately to soar into a double toe loop from a standstill.

He landed his next move, the triple Axel, in a spray of ice and his triple Lutz with a deep knee bend. His spins are superb but it was a very close decision over Yamato Tamura.

Buttle, who skated 11th, said, "I learned from training, if I fall on the combination, then I would go for the (triple instead of double) Axel."

He said after Canadian Nationals, when he placed third after being second the year before, "I had to refocus, and concentrate on the next competition, which is this one. I feel better. Four days ago we changed the set up going into the quad. I went for it tonight and Iím pleased. Iím wearing old boots and the landings were tough on the Lutz and Axel."

He had to withdraw from the Grand Prix Final in December due to illness. "Iím feeling better now. I lost 7 pounds, but Iím back to my fighting weight again.

The second placed Tamura, a 24-year-old from Hachinohe in the northern part of Japanís main island who trains in Tokyo, won the Japanese national title this year and in 1998. Both times Honda did not compete. In the intervening years Tamura was third in 1989 and then second for four straight years.

Here, skating 21st to an electric version of a Grieg Piano Concerto, Tamura was the first of only two men to land a quad toe loop. It was a struggle to hold the landing but he did AND he got airborne for a triple toe loop. He looked as if he would nose dive into the ice on landing the second jump. It was an incredible feat of strength that he saved the landing. However, he executed only a double Axel instead of a triple, which is permitted.

His outfit was unusual in that the front middle of his blue shirt was split open from neck to waist and his dark hair had a diagonal blond Mohawk. He explained, "I came here as a competitor but I wanted to do something to make me stand out from the rest and this was it. I wanted the spotlight.

"I didnít expect to do the quad-triple combination. I am happy and surprised. I am very satisfied with tonightís performance. I went for the double Axel and not the triple as it was a safer option and I had already landed the quad combination. I am glad I skated well as I will retire at the end of this season and very much want to go to Worlds."

Emanuel Sandhu placed third. Sandhu, who has been Canadian champion three times in the last four years (the exception was 2002), did his wonderful interpretation of Carlo Sauraís Tango by L. Schifrin, but it was flawed by his popping to a double the planned quad toe loop and was unable to combine it with a second jump . The spins, of course, were magnificent, along with the step sequences.

Sandhu, explained, "It wasnít the most flawless short program, but I kept the drama and the energy going. Itís something to build on and I am happy with my skate. I feel so stupid. To tell you the honest truth, it was so on. It felt great at practice, and I did a perfect short program run-through. Missing (the combination) tonight is a disappointment, but itís not an issue."

He said he didnít do the second jump because, "I felt frozen. I was tired from Nationals, but it was in a good mode for training. Iím looking forward to improving in the long program. Itís two months to Worlds, so thereís lots of time to prepare."

The top U.S. men, Johnny Weir, Michael Weiss and Matt Savoie chose not to compete in this event, leaving the fourth, fifth and sixth ranked Americans, Ryan Jahnke, Evan Lysacek and Ryan Bradley to carry the flag.

Lysacek and Jahnke are lying in the reverse order to their standing at U.S. Nationals. Lysacek was fifth in Atlanta and placed fourth here; Jahnke was fourth in Atlanta and is fifth here.

Lysacek, who was the 1999 Novice and 2000 Junior U.S. Champion, is an 18-year-old from Chicago, who trains with Frank Carroll in El Segundo, CA. He was dressed appropriately in a toreador outfit for his Spanish routine to Espana Cani and really infused some life into his presentation. His only flaw was that he had to do a step after the triple Lutz before the triple toe loop.

"I gained a lot of experience skating the junior circuit. Senior is not too different, just the caliber of skating. Itís an honor to skate out here and be a part of this event. Iím trying to make a move to a more elite level. Iím happy to deliver a strong program tonight."

About his successful triple Axel, he said, "Iíve been landing it every time in competition. Itís still new. I still have to think about it. Itís great to land it." About the absence of a quad, he said, "It was going well before Nationals. With so much travel, it went on the backburner, but before Junior Worlds, weíll work on it and fit it in. Iíve finished second (in the World Junior Championship) for the last two years and I hope to improve my placement this year."

A close look at all the marks indicates that were all 14 judges' marks used to determine the results Lysacek would have placed third, ahead of Sandhu -- with Lysacek loosing out on the flip-of-the-coin choice of judges.

Jahnke, who was third in the 2003 Nationals and 13th at Worlds, drew to skate last. Outfitted with classic elegance in black with only a small trim of white at the neck and end of the sleeves, the 25 year old from Colorado Springs, who is trained by Diana Ronayne, used Chopinís Prelude No. 20 and modern "Classical Graffiti" interpretation of a part of "The Planets".

He had to do a double three turn on the ice to hold the landing of his triple Axel, and his combination was "only" a triple Lutz to double toe, but his triple flip had a lovely "hand-over-head take-off, and his change foot combination spin had a forward outside edge portion.

Jahnke said, "It definitely wasnít bad. It was a long wait. Itís always a little bit of a challenge to keep the momentum going from the warm-up. I knew what I wanted to do, but I was a little bit edgy out there, edgy on my blades. Thatís why there were the turns after the Axel and the Lutz ending ending up on my toe pick. Iím not quite where I need to be yet."

placinf sixth was Xiaodong Ma from Harbin who said, "It was so so. I fell on the quad toe. I rushed the landing, thatís why. The rest of the performance wasnít bad, I think." Ma is currently ranked sixth in China although he was third in 2002 when he took sixth place in the Four Continents Championships and was fourth for the second year in the World Junior Championships.

In seventh place is his teammate, Lun Song, who was the second of the only two competitors to land a quad toe loop. However, he struggled to hold the landing and his second jump in the combination was only a single toe. There was a lot of ice spray from his landing on the triple Axel and he jackknifed the landing of his triple Lutz. Song, who turned 23 just before this event, finished third in his 2003 nationals but plummeted to seventh this year.

A third competitor from China, Song Gao, who won the bronze medal in the 2002 Four Continents Championships and was 16th at Worlds that year, is eighth. He was third nationally this year and in 2001 with fourth places in the interim years.

Gao explained, "I donít really know why I fell on the quad toe. My knee was hurting but overall I felt I had enough strength. But the program itself didnít feel so good today."

Daisuke Takahashi is ninth. He was third in the Japanese championships and was the 2002 world junior champion.  Having drawn to skate first, he did a triple flip to triple toe loop for his combination and fell on his triple Axel.

Takahashi said, "I felt good today except for the Axel. I donít know what happened. Japan has three competitors here but only two will go to the World championships and I am going to try very hard to be one of them."

Ben Ferreira, who has been competing in Canadian Nationals for eight years and achieved his best placing Ė second - this year in Edmonton, is tenth and Ryan Bradley, the sixth ranked American, is eleventh.

Ferreira completed the rotation on the quad toe but fell and stepped out of his triple Axel. He explained, "Everything was still there. I missed the edge of the quad toe and the Axel was too big. I made two mistakes. Iíll move on. Iím doing my thing, leaving the short behind and asking whatís next."

Bradley singled his opening move which was to be the triple Axel and fell on his second jump, a triple Lutz which was planned as a combination with a triple toe. His triple Lutz was okay but landed on the toe. His routine to New York, New York was snazzy and the outfit was appropriately innovative with the front of the shirt red on one side and blue on the other. But as the music was belting out the part where the vocal would be chanting, "Iím King of the Hill," Bradley was anything but Ė he was sitting on his butt.


Free Skating

Starting Order - Free Skating
  1. Konrad Giering

  2. Miguel Angel Moyron

  3. Justin Pietersen

  4. Humberto Contreras

  5. Adrian Alvarado

  6. Daniel Harries

  7. Stuart Beckingham

  8. Gareth Echardt

  9. Bradley Santer

  10. Tristan Thode

  11. Ben Ferreira

  12. Dong-Whun Lee

  13. Daisuke Takahashi

  14. Song Gao

  15. Ryan Bradley

  16. Lun Song

  17. Xiaodong Ma

  18. Evan Lysacek

  19. Ryan Jahnke

  20. Emanuel Sandhu

  21. Yamato Tamura

  22. Jeffrey Buttle


Free Skating Placements
Place Skater Country
1 Jeffrey Buttle CAN
2 Emanuel Sandhu CAN
3 Evan Lysacek USA
4 Daisuke Takahashi JPN
5 Ryan Jahnke USA
6 Ben Ferreira CAN
7 Yamato Tamura JPN
8 Song Gao CHN
9 Xiaodong Ma CHN

Ryan Bradley

11 Lun Song CHN
12 Dong-Whun Lee KOR
13 Bradley Santer AUS
14 Daniel Harries AUS
15 Stuart Beckingham AUS
16 Gareth Echardt RSA
17 Miguel Angel Moyron MEX
18 Tristan Thode NZL
19 Humberto Contreras MEX
20 Justin Pietersen RSA
21 Adrian Alvarado MEX
22 Konrad Giering RSA

Jeffrey Buttle


Emanual Sandhu

Evan Lysacek


1. (1-1) Jeffrey Buttle, skating last, gave a showing of great musicality and promise to Camille Saint-Saensí Samson and Delilah, but even he was astonished by the result. His look of amazement in the kiss-and-cry area and shrug told it all.

"I was very surprised. That wasnít at all what I had hoped for. I donít think it was very strong so when the marks came up, I was a little disappointed but they were fair. When the final results were posted, I was a little bit flabbergasted. Going into the long program, I just completely forgot about the short program. I felt comfortable, maybe perhaps too comfortable. Iím not really sure. The win is bittersweet. Not only because it is the end of my season (he was third nationally so he is not being sent to Worlds), which is very unfortunate. It certainly wasnít a win I was expecting. Itís a step and Iím looking forward to training for next year."

About his mistakes, the 21 year old said, "The warm-up was really good. Even in the program, the triple toe was a possible quad. It was very good. Thatís what Iím, and Doug Leigh were a little bit disappointed. It just didnít go. I was relaxed, maybe too relaxed. Maybe I need to be a little more nervous.

He had begun with a lovely triple flip but his planned quad-triple combo turned into a mere triple toe. He stepped out of his triple Axel and couldnít manage the planned second jump. His second attempt at a triple Axel was doubled. Then came a single loop quickly followed by an improvised second, this time successful, a triple loop. He also inserted an improvised sequenced triple toe after the triple Salchow, but then doubled his Lutz.

But the program is brilliantly conceived and Buttle showed enormous feeling and creativity. He was in the lead after the short and also won the free skating even though he only had two first place votes because of the complex "OBO" system. His marks ranged for technical merit from one 4.6 up to one 5.6. The presentation marks ranged from two 5.4s up to a 5.9.

2. (3-2) Emanuel Sandhu is a complex man and a complex competitor. What was really going through his mind at the Copps Coliseum heaven only knows. He improvised like mad and made numerous errors but still ranked second in the free which brought him up from third to win the silver.

He messed up the landing of his quad toe but still got airborne, not for the planned triple toe, but for a double loop. His next move, planned as a triple Axel to triple toe, became a single Axel. He stepped out of the triple loop and the triple Lutz was landed by making a very tight circle on the ice.

He did not attempt his planned quad Salchow. His second triple Axel was landed on the toe and he did a third attempt successfully and combined it with a triple toe. He then did a triple flip to triple toe with was landed on the toe and threw in a triple Salchow. Although he has some magnificent spins, all this improvising meant that he didnít put his full attention into interpreting his music, Ninkov Latora, Slow & Sassy and Take California.

His marks ranged from one 4.9 up to one 5.6, and two 5.4s up to two 5.8s.

He said, "I missed the quad. It wasnít a clean program but I didnít let it get away. I donít want to be too perfect now, before Worlds. Iíve always been a good competitor. It was my training that wasnít always consistent. My goal is to finish in the top five at Worlds. Iím definitely a little tire but Iíve got a break now."

3. (4-3) In comparison to the 17 men who went before him, Evan Lysacek gave an extremely polished performance to the beautiful accompaniment of Rachmaninovís very familiar Piano Concerto No. 2. He began with a triple Axel. He choose not to attempt to combine it with the planned triple toe but did add a double toe to his second attempt at this jump. He brought off a triple loop, and then presented a triple Lutz to triple toe although the second jump was landed on his toe. There was a triple Salchow and a triple flip with a double toe.

His marks, two 5.1s up to a 5.7, and one 5.2 up to two 5.7s gave him third place in the free and allowed him to claim the bronze. "A year ago," Lysacek explained, "I was a very different skater. Iíve made improvements in all areas of my skating. I had confidence going into this competition and tonightís performance adds to it. Iíve been on the junior circuit for four years and each year I have improved. Iím looking forward to Junior Worlds and Iím definitely ready for the senior level next season."

4. (5-5) Coming right after Lysacekís classic showing, Ryan Jahnkeís South American music Chamada, Cosa Nostra, Candyell Beat with multi-colored but not overly flamboyant costume, provided a complete contrast to the performance of his fellow American. Both had great spins and interesting footwork.

"This would be my second best performance to US Nationals," Jahnke explained. "It felt like a great victory for today. It started a little bit tense, but I settled in. Doing the Lutz-loop combination so well was a huge thing. Iím really pleased that I can do performances. For example, the only mistake in this one was the popped second triple Axel. So I feel like overall Iím doing much better programs. It was good to be able to repeat it so close after Nationals. I hadnít much rest."

He began with a triple Axel and chose not to do a combination. He followed it with a triple toe and then a triple Lutz to triple loop combination. Although he singled the triple Axel, his vertical arm on the takeoff of the triple Lutz was great. He also executed a triple flip, a Russian split into a triple Salchow and a double Axel. His marks ranged from a 5.1 up to a 5.7, and two 5.3s up to a 5.8

5. (2-7) Yamato Tamura, in black, using the music from the soundtrack of the movie, "Space Battlecruiser", was a mess. He fell on his first move, a quad toe and then tried it again instead of a planned triple Lutz to triple toe combo. However, he stepped out it and put two hands on the ice.

He brought off a triple loop and a triple salchow but he fell on his triple Axel and then messed up a triple flip. He did do a triple Lutz and combined it with an unplanned double toe and then substituted a triple toe instead of a double Axel.

He said, "I made a big mistake when I missed the quad-triple, but I donít regret trying it. I really tried my best out there. I really enjoyed the competition. My short program was very good and I really enjoyed it. The Canadian audience knows my name now because of my hair (which had a distinctive blonde streak)."

His marks went from one 4.4 up to a 5.3, and one 4.7 up to two 5.4s.

6. (9-4) Daisuke Takahashi, skating 13th, landed the first quad in this competition. "Wow, thatís all I can say. Itís the first time Iíve landed the quad in competition. Iím very happy and thatís why I was jumping around at the end of my performance."

His quad toe was his first move which he followed with a triple Axel to triple toe, and a triple Lutz to triple loop combination although he fell on his triple Axel. His marks ranged from a 4.9 up to a 5.7, and a 4.8 up to a 5.8.

7. (10-6) At the halfway stage, Australians were first, second and third with Bradley Santer in the top spot. But Ben Ferreira, skating immediately after the ice resurface, took the competition to a new level.

Interpreting the theme music of the movie, "The Untouchables", Ferreira, who trains with Doug Leigh, wore a pin striped waist coat and pants to get into his role as a "G" man Ė fighting for J Edgar Hoover against the evil forces in the 1930s. He began with a triple Axel to triple toe loop but fell on his next move, his only attempt at a quad, a toe loop.

The only other major error was a double three that had to be tagged on to his triple loop. His marks went from a 5.1 to a 5.6 and a 5.1 to a 5.5

Ferreiro said, "I felt really good all day. I feel very supported out there (in front of a Canadian audience). I wasnít prepared for the last Worlds, but now I am, and Iím excited. I keep forgetting that I am in such a position, that some look up to me for what Iíve been able to do in my skating."

On the quad, he said, "Iíve been landing it in practice all week. The more I land it, the better. Iím working on the law of averages. Itís a numbers game. There are some timing issues in the short. Iím going back to training. This has been a good build up to Worlds."

8. (8-8) Song Gao, interpreting Pirates of the Caribbean, was the second of the two skaters who landed a quad. However he did so with a deep knee bend. However he managed to get airborne for the second jump of the combination, a triple toe, which he stepped out and nearly fell on the landing. In his next move a planned combination of triple Axel and triple toe, the knee bend on the landing of the first jump was so bad he didnít make any attempt at the second jump. His triple Lutz was okay was he did a double three after his triple loop and singled his second triple Axel.

10 (7-11) Lun Song, dressed in black, using the Irish music, Feet of Flames from Lord of the Dance, began badly and didnít improve. His first move was planned as a quad toe loop and triple toe loop combination. It turned into a mere double toe loop. He stepped out of his second move, a triple Axel. He did a triple Lutz but didnít attempt the second jump he meant to combine it with. Then he fell on the triple loop and did a double three on the landing of the triple flip. He did bring of a triple Salchow and a triple Lutz to double toe.

His marks went from one 4.5 up to one 5.1, and one 4.3 up to one 5.1.

11. (11-10) Ryan Bradley still managed to give an entertaining showing to Dueling Banjoes and The Devil Came to Georgia but he was off technically. He fell on his first move, a triple Axel, so he couldnít do the second jump of the combination. He tried the triple Axel again and doubled it. Later he did a triple Lutz to double instead of triple toe loop.

Then he started improvising. He did a double axel combined with a double toe instead of a triple loop. Where he planned to do a triple toe loop and triple Salchow in sequence, he changed the first jump to a triple flip. Later where a triple flip was scheduled he brought off a triple Lutz, landed with a struggle, sequenced into a triple loop.

His marks went from three 4.6s to three 5.0s, and for presentation, one 4.6 up to one 5.3.

He said, "Well, I feel that my performance tonight was a bit of a let down. I definitely didnít skate my best. I feel a bit drained from Nationals. This is my first Four Continents and I am a bit upset that I didnít skate better. Hopefully I will next time. It was great the way the audience got behind me and that feels good. That was one of the things we thought about when choosing the music since Nationals were in Georgia. It went down well."

12. (12-12) Dong-Whun Lee of Korea made many mistakes but stayed 12th


2004 Four Continents Men's Medalists


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