Mura (JPN), Sui/Han (CHN) skate to gold in Taipei City

- Taipei, Chinese Taipei

The ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships 2014 continued in Taipei City, Chinese Taipei, Friday with the Pairs and Men’s Free Skating.

Wenjing Sui/Cong Han (CHN) strike gold
Wenjing Sui/Cong Han of China struck gold in the Pairs Free Skating. Two U.S. teams Tarah Kayne/Daniel O’Shea and Alexa Scimeca/Chris Knieim took the silver and bronze medals.

Sui/Han delivered an excellent program to “Kalinka”, nailing a quadruple twist, side by side triple toe-double toe-double toe, triple Salchow, throw triple flip and Salchow. They earned a level four for two lifts, their spins and the death spiral to score a personal best of 137.14 points. Overall the three-time World Junior Champions accumulated 212.40 points. “Today’s we gave our very best performance for the audience and the judges. We are very pleased to have achieved a personal best score”, Han commented. “I am very happy to have landed the triple Salchow, because in practice my success rate is not so high. I was lucky. Overall I am very pleased with our success”, Sui added.

Performing to “Don Quixote”, Kayne/O’Shea produced a side by side triple Salchow, throw triple loop and Salchow as well as three level-four lifts. However, O’Shea fell after he caught his partner on the triple twist. The Floridians scored 119.40 points and had 181.45 overall to move up one spot and take silver in their debut at an ISU Championship. “We started this year with three senior Bs and medaled in all three of those. To come here and medal gain it feels really good to show what we can do. Hopefully there is more to come in the future”, O’Shea said. “It is a silly mistake, not something that happens very often and I was happy to be able to come back from it. I just tripped over my own feet”, he answered when asked about the fall.

Scimeca/Knierim’s program to “Ever After” included a high triple twist and difficult lifts, but he struggled with the solo jumps while she stumbled on the throw triple loop. The couple from Colorado Springs earned 104.31 points and slipped to third at 170.35 points overall. “We didn’t put our best performance out in the long program, so that’s a little disappointing. But we had a good short. So I think overall it was an okay event for us. We’re just excited to get the opportunity to come here and get the bronze medal”, Knierim told the post-event press conference.

2013 World Junior Champions Haven Denney/Brandon Frazier (USA) remained in fourth place at 167.10 points. Natasha Purich/Mervin Tran (CAN) moved up from seventh to fifth (147.80 points).

Takahito Mura (JPN) skates off with gold
Takahito Mura of Japan skated off with the gold medal, winning his first ISU Championship title. Teammate Takahiko Kozuka rose from fourth to earn the silver medal and China’s Nan Song earned the bronze.

Mura’s dynamic performance to “Shogun” included a quadruple toeloop, triple Lutz-triple toe, two triple Axels as well as four more triples, but the last two were somewhat shaky. The spins merited level threes and four. The 22-year-old scored a seasons best with 158.35 points and racked up 242.56 overall. “I truly was happy after my performance. During the six minutes warm up I was really worried. I had too much power and I tensed up. I was really tired when I did the last two jumps (in the program). Overall I was able to perform well, especially the steps and things I had to be careful about. After Nationals I forgot what it felt like to jump but at Four Continents I was able to accomplish what I wasn’t able to do at Nationals and that’s what I want to do in the future for my career”, Mura noted.

Skating to “Introduction et Rondo Capriccioso”, Kozuka two-footed his opening quadruple toeloop attempt that was downgraded, but he rallied back to produce six triples including two Axels as well as three level-four spins. The 24-year-old won the Free Skating portion with a seasons best of 159.53 points and moved up to second with a total of 236.38 points. “I had a very difficult time after I wasn’t chosen for the Olympic team. I didn’t know why I was skating for all this time. For the Four Continents I was able to come out of it. I kept thinking about my fans. There were so many people that came from Japan and I’m such a happy man to have all these fans. I felt I’m not a man if I can’t perform successfully tonight”, the 2011 World silver medalist shared.

Song completed a quadruple toeloop, triple Axel-triple toe, as well as another triple Axel and three more triples and two-level four spins in his routine to “The Mission”. The 23-year-old picked up 157.38 points for his effort and claimed his first medal at a senior-level championship with 236.09 points overall. “I made some mistakes on the jumps like I tripled the second quad. So I lost some points there. But overall I feel honored to be on the podium”, the Chinese skater commented.

World silver medalist Denis Ten placed fourth at 226.37 points. Richard Dornbush (USA) dropped from second to fifth at 224.44 points and Joshua Farris (USA) came sixth (221.00 points).

The ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships 2014 conclude Saturday with the Ladies Free Skating an the Exhibition Gala. For more information, full entry lists and results please see: www.isu.org and http://www.fc2014.com.

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