Tarah Kayne/Danny O’Shea (USA) clinched gold as the Pairs event at the ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships concluded with the Free Skating on Friday in Taipei. Ashley Cain/Timothy Leduc (USA) earned the silver medal while Tae Ok Ryom/Ju Sik Kim took bronze to give the Democratic People's Republic of Korea its first medal at an ISU Figure Skating Championship.
Performing to “Swan Lake”, Kayne/O’Shea produced a triple twist, side-by-side triple Salchow, throw triple Salchow and throw triple Lutz as well as level-four lifts and spins. The 2014 Four Continents silver medalists recorded a personal best score of 128.68 points and racked up 194.42 points overall to move up from third to first place and win their first ISU Championship title.
“Winning this event means so much to us - more than winning in any other year because of what we had to go through, coming back from injury," said Kayne, who had surgery on a knee injury 11 months ago.
"This year was very tough. I spent many months off the ice while Danny was training by himself. Not only to be here as a competitor, but to have won the event - that’s huge for us.”
Cain/Leduc started strongly in their program to “The Great Gatsby” with a triple twist, a triple Salchow-double toe-double loop combination and a throw triple Lutz. The only glitches came with one shaky lift and when Cain stumbled on the triple loop. The Texan pair set a personal best of 123.85 points but dropped from first to second place overall on 190.61 points.
“We’re extremely proud of ourselves. Being in first place after the short program was a really big thing for us, but we kept our goals the same and we just stayed connected,” said Cain, who revealed she was performing in difficult personal circumstances.
“I got some devastating news yesterday. My grandfather was in hospital and he might pass away soon. So when I skated out there today, I skated for him and I felt his presence,” she said.
Ryom/Kim’s historic performance to “Je ne suis qu’une chanson” by Ginette Rino featured a triple twist, triple toe-double toe combination and a throw triple Salchow as well as difficult lifts. However, Ryom fell on an underrotated double Axel and stepped out of the landing of the throw triple loop.
“After the short program we were fourth and I regretted that and hoped we'd be able to do better in the free. When we came third and got the medal I was very happy," Ryom told reporters at a packed post-event press conference.
“The Four Continents were a preparation for the Olympic Games for us. We'll participate for the first time in the Olympic Games and we'll train as usual and do what our coach says,” Kim added.
The 2017 Four Continents bronze medalists Liubov Ilyushechkina/Dylan Moscovitch (CAN) did not get credit for a lift and Ilyushechkina struggled with a toeloop, but the pair still moved up from fifth to fourth on 179.00 points.
Deanna Stellato/Nathan Bartholomay (USA) climbed one spot to fifth on 178.38 points, while 2017 World Junior Pairs champions Ekaterina Alexandrovskaya/Harley Windsor (AUS) dropped from second to sixth as they aborted a lift, among other errors (178.10 points).