Abbott Out, Dornbush In for Four Continents, as Skaters Get Altitude Training at Lake Arrowhead

U.S. Figure Skating announced Friday, February 3, that Richard Dornbush will compete at the 2012 ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships, set for Feb. 9-12 at the Colorado Springs World Arena in Colorado Springs, Colo. Jeremy Abbott, who won his third U.S. title last weekend, withdrew from the competition due to a right hip injury.

Dornbush will make his Four Continents Championships debut next week. This season, Dornbush finished fourth and sixth, respectively, at his Grand Prix assignments at Skate America and Cup of China. He was the highest-placing U.S. menís finisher at the 2011 ISU World Figure Skating Championships and most recently competed at the 2012 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships where he placed 13th overall, but fifth in the Free Skate.

Dornbush will join Adam Rippon, the 2012 U.S. silver medallist, and Ross Miner, the 2012 U.S. bronze medallist, in Colorado Springs. Other featured members of Team USA include newly crowned U.S. champions Ashley Wagner (ladies), Caydee Denney and John Coughlin (pairs) and Meryl Davis and Charlie White (ice dancing).

Abbott, the 2011 Four Continents bronze medallist, is still scheduled to compete at the 2012 World Championships March 26-April 1 in Nice, France.

The World Arena in Colorado Springs, at an altitude over 6,000 feet, is a challenging venue for skaters who are not accustomed to competing at altitude.  As luck would have it, Dornbush was practicing at Lake arrowhead on Friday, when his coach Tammy Gambill got the call from U.S. Figure Skating.  There were Zamboni issues at his normal training rink in Riverside that day, and Gambill had brought her crew up the hill.  At 5400 feet, the rink in Lake Arrowhead is a good location for skaters to get the altitude training needed to prepare for Four Continents.

Dornbush was back at Lake Arrowhead on Saturday and told us he was heading for Colorado Springs that evening.  The Men's event begins next Thursday, giving Dornbush six days of altitude training before his event.

While visiting the rink this weekend, Dornbush was working triple Axel and triple-triples with some success, and quad toe loop, not so much.  Also on the ice at Lake Arrowhead were a number of non-U.S. skaters who train there off and on, and will be competing in Colorado Springs next week.

Denis Ten, from Kazakhstan, was working some strong triple Axels and triple-triple combinations, including triple Axel triple - toe loop.  He was also landing quad toe loop with some (but not consistent) success.  Also working the big jumps were Tatsuki Machida (Japan), and Maverick Eguia (Philippines).

Several other skaters who train in Lake Arrowhead or elsewhere in Southern California, at least part or all of the year, will be competing at Four Continents.  These include Christopher Caluza (Philippines), Misha Ge (Uzbekistan), Mimi Tanasorn Chindasook (Thailand), Melanie Swang (Thailand), Ashley Wagner (USA), Caroline Zhang (USA) and Mary Beth Marley & Rockne Brubaker (USA).

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Copyright 2012 by George S. Rossano