The 2016 International Skating Union (ISU) Four Continents Figure Skating Championships began in Taipei City on February 16, and will complete on February 21. So far, the Four Continents 2016 results have been good for the Americans — in Ladies’ Singles, 22-year-old Mirai Nagasu won the silver medal, her second Four Continents medal after winning the bronze in 2011. Mirai Nagasu achieved a final score of 193.86.
Four Continents has delivered an excellent comeback for Nagasu after a somewhat disappointing performance in the 2016 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships in January, when she placed fourth and failed to make the team that will be representing the United States at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships next month. United States national champion Gracie Gold had a terrible short program at Four Continents on Wednesday during which she fell twice, and she was unable to make up the difference with her free skate well enough to make the podium. Gracie Gold finished fifth overall with 178.39. Both the gold and bronze medals in Ladies’ Singles were won by Japanese skaters, Satoko Miyahara (final score 214.91) and Rika Hongo (final score 181.78), respectively.
The ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships were created in 1999 due to the fact that the ISU European Figure Skating Championships drew such international attention and became such an important competition for its European participants. In the interest of fairness, the ISU felt that the rest of the world needed an international competition that was somewhat equivalent to the European Figure Skating Championships as a stepping stone to the ISU World Figure Skating Championships, which are held annually in March. To compete in the Four Continents Figure Skating Championships, a figure skater must belong to a non-European member nation of the ISU.
Four Continents has also delivered an excellent result for the Americans in the ice dancing portion of the competition, in which American teams won both the gold and silver medals. Siblings Maia and Alex Shibutani, who also won gold in the ice dancing division at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in January, won their first Four Continents title at the young ages of 21 and 24, respectively. The Shibutanis won the bronze medal in the ice dancing division at Four Continents last year in Seoul, South Korea. Their final 2016 Four Continents score was 181.62.
The Four Continents silver medal for ice dancing went to American team Madison Chock and Evan Bates, who also won the silver medal in their division last year in Seoul. Their final score was 174.64. The 2016 silver is the third Four Continents medal for Chock and Bates, who won the bronze medal in the ice dancing division in 2013 in Osaka, Japan. Chock and Bates were the 2015 U.S. ice dancing champions, and won silver at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in January, finishing behind the Shibutanis.
Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje of Canada won the bronze medal in the Four Continents ice dancing division with a final score of 173.85.
The Four Continents Pairs figure skating competition also resulted in a silver medal for the United States, awarded to Alexa Scimeca and Chris Knierim for their final score of 207.96. Scimeca and Knierim were in third place after the short program, during which they made a couple of minor errors, including a two-footed landing on a throw triple flip. Scimeca and Knierim won the silver medal in the Pairs division at the U.S. National Championships in January. Their second place overall finish came behind gold medalists Sui Wenjing and Han Cong, a Chinese team who achieved a final score of 221.91. The bronze medal in the Pairs division was also snagged by China, and awarded to Yu Xiaoyu and Jin Yang for their final score of 187.33.
The 2016 ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships conclude on Sunday, February 21, with the Men’s Free Skate as the final event. The competition will close with an exhibition.
[Image courtesy of Streeter Lecka/Getty Images]