U.S. skaters will compete Feb. 15-20 at the International Skating Union (ISU) Four Continents Figure Skating Championships in Taipei City, Chinese Taipei. Competition begins Thursday, Feb. 17 with the short dance and pairs short program.
The Four Continents Championships were established by the ISU in 1999, and are open to ISU members representing the Americas, Asia, Africa and Oceania.
Leading the ladies contingent in Taipei City is newly crowned U.S. champion Alissa Czisny. The 2010 Grand Prix Final champion will compete for the third time at the Four Continents Championships; she placed fifth in 2007 and ninth in 2009. She is joined by Rachael Flatt and Mirai Nagasu, who finished second and third, respectively, at the 2011 AT&T U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Greensboro, N.C. Flatt, who is competing at her second Four Continents Championships after placing seventh in 2009, and Nagasu represented the United States at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Caitlin Yankowskas and John Coughlin, who won their first U.S. title last month, look to improve on a fourth-place finish at this event a year ago. They won bronze last fall at the Cup of China. They are joined by 2010 Olympians Amanda Evora and Mark Ladwig, who won their second-consecutive silver medal at the U.S. Championships in Greensboro. Caydee Denney and Jeremy Barrett, the 2011 U.S. bronze medalists, were originally slated to compete at the event but withdrew following a leg injury suffered by Barrett. They are replaced by Mary Beth Marley and Rockne Brubaker, who finished fourth at the 2011 U.S. Championships and won gold at the 2011 Nestlé Nesquik Cup.
Three-time U.S. titlists Meryl Davis and Charlie White look for their fifth gold medal of the season after winning three medals on the Grand Prix circuit, including their second consecutive title at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final. The 2010 Olympic silver medalists are aiming for their third Four Continents medal, having won gold in 2009 and silver in 2008. Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani won bronze at the 2010 NHK Trophy and 2010 Skate America, making them the first ice dancing team to medal at both of their Grand Prix assignments in their first year as seniors. They won the silver medal last month at the 2011 U.S. Championships. Madison Chock and Greg Zuerlein, the 2011 U.S. bronze medalists, placed fifth at this event a year ago. All three ice dancing teams are training mates in Canton, Mich., where they are coached by Igor Shpilband and Marina Zoueva.
FRANK UIJLENBROEK WORLDSPORTPICS