The 2008 ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships continued Thursday in Goyang, the Republic of Korea, with the Original Dance, the Pairs Free Skating and the Ladies Short Program.
Ice Dancing, Original Dance
The Original Dance of the 2007/08 season is the Folk/Country Dance. The 13 couples at Four Continents chose Russian, Greek, Jewish, African Dances, Spanish Flamenco, Western Hoedown and even an Aboriginal Folk Dance.
Tessa Virtue/Scott Moir of Canada strengthened their overnight lead ahead of the two U.S. couples Meryl Davis/Charlie White and Kimberly Navarro/Brent Bommentre.
Virtue/Moir’s characteristic Russian dance to “Dark Eyes” was highlighted by a one-armed curve lift, a fluid circular step sequence and a rotational lift. The received a level four for all elements except for the combination spin that was a level three. However, Moir had three minor wobbles in the program. The 2006 World Junior Champions still earned a new seasonal best of 66.02 points (34.74 element score/30.28) which added up to 103.24 points overall. “Tessa and I are very pleases with the way we skated today. We wanted to go out there and attack it as much as possible. We felt like we did that we’re hoping to build on our performance of today for tomorrow”, Moir commented. “I think it had more to do with trying to really go for everything”, he said, referring to his errors, “I went out there with a lot of energy and some places like my back cross cut or my twizzle, I didn’t really handle the energy as well as I had hoped, but I think that’s a major reason why we are here at this competition, that we are trying to use it as a building part for Worlds”
Davis/White had opted for a Russian theme as well, for “Kalinka”. They executed intricate step sequences, a combination spin and a straight line lift with him sliding on one knee. Their lifts, the twizzles and their spin were graded a level four, but the two step sequences were called a level three by the Technical Panel. Davis/White picked up 61.93 points (33.01/28.92) and remained in second place at 99.29 total.
Navarro/Bommentre interpreted an unusual African Dance from Soweto called “Ijuba” that contained a straight line lift with him skating backwards, a rotational lift and a solid side by side step sequence. All elements but the circular steps were awarded a level four. The Americans scored 56.67 points (31.14/25.53), which was also a seasons best for them. They defended their third place with 91.03 points overall.
Pairs, Free Skating
Qing Pang/Jian Tong of China overtook their teammates Dan Zhang/Hao Zhang to claim their third gold medal at the Four Continents Championships. Brooke Castile/Benjamin Okolski (USA) earned the bronze.
Zhang/Zhang had drawn to skate first in the final flight. They had a double Axel-triple toe combination planned as their first element, but Dan Zhang doubled the second jump. The team went on to complete a high triple twist, two Lasso lifts and a throw triple Salchow and loop, but she also doubled the side by side triple Salchow and stumbled on the death spiral. The 2006 World silver medalists seemed a bit slow overall in their routine to “The Myth”. Zhang/Zhang received 111.39 points (54.82 element score/56.57 program component score) and slipped to second place at 181.84 points.
Pang/Tong were up next and gave a strong performance to “Romeo and Juliet” by Nino Rota. The 2006 World Champions produced a double Axel-double Axel sequence, a triple twist, a throw triple Salchow and loop as well as difficult lifts that were graded a level four. Their only major error came when Pang underrotated and stepped out of the triple toeloop. The couple scored 119.63 points (59.62/60.01) which accumulated to a total of 187.33. Pang/Tong moved up from second to first and took their third Four Continents title after 2002 and 2004 “We skated quite well today and had only two smaller errors. We are getting better and better and hopefully we’ll be at our best at Worlds”, Tong told the post-event press conference. “These championships are an important test for our programs. We like to come to Korea and feel comfortable here. Now we have one month before the World Championships and we hope that we can prepare well without any health problems for Worlds. We wish the same also to the other competitors”, he continued.
Castile/Okolski’s program to “Sheherazade” featured a triple twist, a high throw triple Salchow, a double flip-double toeloop combination and a throw triple loop as well as two Lasso lift and one hand-to-hip lift. However, Castile singled the double Axel. The Americans earned 103.55 points (53.34/50.21) and moved up to third place to win their first medal at a major international event, the bronze, with 159.99 points.
photos Janos Schmidt