Tuesday, February 1, 2011

2011 Four Continents Championships: US Team & Event Times

I haven't had much interest in the Four Continents Championships recently because the US generally does not send their top flight of skaters to the event. However, this year US Figure Skating has decided to send the top three finishers from Nationals in each discipline, except for men, where they are sending the 4th-6th place finishers. The Four Continents Championships is designed to be a lead-in the the World Championships for skaters from Asia, Australia, North America, and South America. It is the equivalent to the European Championships for the rest of the world. The US team for the 2011 Four Continents Championships includes:

Ladies:                                                Pairs:
Alissa Czisny                                        Caitlin Yankowskas & John Coughlin
Rachael Flatt                                         Amanda Evora & Mark Ladwig
Mirai Nagasu                                        Caydee Denney & Jeremy Barrett

Men:                                                   Ice Dance:
Jeremy Abbott                                       Meryl Davis & Charlie White
Adam Rippon                                        Maia & Alex Shibutani
Armin Mahbanoozadeh                          Madison Chock & Greg Zuerlein

The highlight of this event should be the showdown in Ice Dance between Davis & White, who have competed and won three times internationally this season and Virtue & Moir who will be making their debut at this event after a rehabilitation period post-surgery for Tessa. If Davis & White can win, they'll have the edge going into Worlds, but if Virtue & Moir pull off the upset, the Americans will have their work cut out for them at Worlds in Tokyo. If Canada sends Kirsten Moore-Towers & Dylan Moscovitch and China sends their top pairs to this event, it will be a great opportunity to see how Yankowskas/Coughlin & Evora/Ladwig stack up against them heading into Worlds. If they can beat Moore-Towers/Moscovitch and stay close to the Chinese, it will give them confidence heading into Worlds. In ladies, Rachael Flatt will have a chance to see what international judges think of her new East of Eden short program and build her confidence with it. Alissa Czisny actually has a great shot at pulling off the win if she can play it cool and clean as she has for most of the season. If Japan sends their top ladies, Alissa will have competition but she still has a shot at a win, or at least the podium. Reigning Olympic champion Yuna Kim is not planning to compete so Czisny will have to wait until Worlds to face her for the first time this season. For Mirai Nagasu who failed to make the World team with a 3rd place finish at Nationals, this is redemption time and she has to put up two solid programs to prove that she is still a threat for the World podium in the future. The men's event is the only discipline where the US is not sending its Worlds team. Instead, 4th-6th place finishers Abbott, Rippon, and Mahbanoozadeh will have a chance at redeeming themselves in the eyes of US Figure Skating. While they won't be attending Worlds, this is still a prestigious international event that can help their ISU ranking and Grand Prix assignments for the 2011-2012 season.

This year's event will be held in Taipei City, Chinese Taipei from Thursday February 17th-Sunday February 20th. I did my best to convert the event times from Taipei Time to US Eastern Standard Time, but I apologize if I've made any mistakes. I'm assuming icenetwork.com will plan to stream these events live as they did with all Grand Prix events so check back with them closer to the event for viewing times.

Thursday February 17th:
Short Dance 3:00-5:20am
Pairs Short Program 6:30-8:30am

Friday February 18th:
Men's Short Program 11:00pm (Thursday)-3:20am
Pairs Free Skate 3:45-6:00am
Free Dance 7:00-9:30am

Saturday February 19th:
Ladies Short Program 12:00-4:10am
Men's Free Skate 5:00-9:00am

Sunday February 20th:
Ladies Free Skate 10:30pm-2:20am
Exhibition 4:30-7:00am

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