The Four Continents Championships roll up to the high altitude of Colorado Springs, USA this weekend with the city playing host for the fourth time. Although there are some high profile absentees, the event is shaping up to be an exciting one nonetheless.
When is it on?
The Four Continents Championships begin Thursday, 9 February with the women’s short programme and concludes Sunday, 12 February with the exhibition gala.
Who is skating?
Jun-Hwan Cha (KOR) is back to defend the men’s title he won last year in Tallinn, Estonia. The Korean won bronze medals at both of his Grand Prix assignments in the United States and Japan this season. Boyang Jin (CHN) last competed in an international event at the Beijing Olympics a year ago. He has pedigree at Four Continents having won gold in 2018 and silver on two occasions. 2022 Four Continents bronze medallist Kao Miura (JPN) booked a place for himself at the Grand Prix Final in December with two consecutive second places at the American and Canadian Grand Prix events. He will be joined by teammate Shun Sato (JPN) who finished fourth just ahead of Miura at the Grand Prix Final.
Isabeau Levito (USA) spearheads a strong American women’s team in Colorado Springs which also includes 2020 bronze medallist Bradie Tennell (USA) and Amber Glenn (USA) who took third place at last month’s U.S. Championships. Levito won silver at both her Grand Prix assignments and at the Grand Prix Final this season. Rinka Watanabe (JPN) is making her senior ISU Championships debut. The Japanese skater has had a mixed season. She won Skate Canada and qualified for the Grand Prix Final despite winding up fifth at NHK Trophy. She came fourth in Turin, but only 12th at the Japanese Championships later that month. Yelim Kim (KOR) is back on American ice after taking bronze at World University Winter Games in Lake Placid in January. Kim brought home silver from Grand Prix de France and gold from NHK Trophy. She underperformed at the Grand Prix Final and ranked sixth there.
Japan has never won a medal in the Four Continents pairs event and barring disaster that will change this week. The only defeat Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara (JPN) have suffered this season was losing their bags which forced them to withdraw from the Japanese Championships in December. They were victorious at Skate Canada, NHK Trophy and the Grand Prix Final and are hot favourites in Colorado Springs. Deanna Stellato-Dudek and Maxime Deschamps (CAN) have also enjoyed great success this season with silver at Skate America and gold at Grand Prix de France. While the Canadians were out of sorts at the Grand Prix Final in December, they claimed their first Canadian title last month. In the absence of World champions Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier, 2022 Four Continents silver medallists Emily Chan and Spencer Akira Howe (USA) look to be the home nation’s best bet for a medal in this discipline.
The United States has claimed the last four ice dance titles at Four Continents with Madison Chock and Evan Bates (USA) responsible for two of those wins. The Americans had a shaky start to the season only narrowly coming out on top at Skate America and finishing second at NHK Trophy. However, they picked up silver at the Grand Prix Final and a fourth national title last month. Their biggest challenge in Colorado Springs will come from Laurence Fournier Beaudry and Nikolaj Sorensen who beat Chock and Bates at NHK Trophy. Mistakes at the Grand Prix Final saw the Canadians end up sixth overall, but they rebounded a few weeks later to win their first Canadian title. 2022 Four Continents champions Caroline Green and Michael Parsons (USA), silver medallists Kana Muramoto and Daisuke Takahashi (JPN) and bronze medallists Christina Carreira and Anthony Ponomarenko (USA) are all back to try and stand on the podium once again. Takahashi was the silver medallist in the men’s singles event when Four Continents was last in Colorado Springs in 2012.
Everything you need to know (and some things you did not) about the skaters, the competition schedule and results can be viewed here.
When is the skating on?
Afternoo to evening in North America, evening and through the night in Europe and from the early hours of the following morning in Asia. The times listed for Four Continents are local and if you want to know what the time difference is between where you are and Colorado Springs then this link is your friend.
Where can I watch the pretty skaters?
This season’s Four Continents can be viewed on the Skating ISU YouTube channel. Geographic restrictions apply.
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