Four Continents Championships 2024: Recap

The 2024 Four Continents Championships took place from January 30 to February 4 in Shanghai. Although the absence of a full crowd was noticeable (with high ticket prices no doubt being a factor), it was nonetheless an exciting event which saw some close fights for medals, and a plethora of season’s best scores. Here is a closer look at some of the performances from the competition!

Results

Men
🥇Yuma Kagiyama (Japan)
🥈 Shun Sato (Japan)
🥉 Junhwan Cha (Republic of Korea)

Women
🥇 Mone Chiba (Japan)
🥈 Chaeyeon Kim (Republic of Korea)
🥉 Rinka Watanabe (Japan)

Ice Dance
🥇 Piper Gilles / Paul Poirier (Canada)
🥈 Laurence Fournier Beaudry / Nikolaj Soerensen (Canada)
🥉 Christina Carreira / Anthony Ponomarenko (USA)

Pairs
🥇 Deanna Stellato-Dudek / Maxime Deschamps (Canada)
🥈 Riku Miura / Ryuichi Kihara (Japan)
🥉 Ellie Kam / Danny O’Shea (USA)

Men

Winning the gold medal in the men’s event was Yuma Kagiyama of Japan, breaking the 300-point barrier with a total of 307.58 points and two stellar performances. His short program to ‘Believer’ was an explosive and powerful performance, and he matched the song’s energy beat for beat. Kagiyama has stated that he has been working hard on the components, and consciously projecting towards and connecting with the audience: these objectives have been clear in his outings this season. He opened with a flawless quad salchow and followed up with a clean 4T-3T and 3A. The step sequence is a highlight, and received a level four and +1.84 GOE. His ‘Rain, In Your Black Eyes’ free skate is a popular choice of music, but he makes it work and commits to it convincingly. He has added the quad flip back to his arsenal to increase the technical base value of the program; here, there was unfortunately a step out and hand down for the element. He evoked the transitions between the intense and softer sections of the skate with skill, and secured a TSS of 200.76 with just three quads: a testament to the quality of his skating. 

Compatriot Shun Sato of Japan finished in second place with 274.59 points. In his ‘Libertango’ short program, he nailed the quad toe-triple combination to start with, and followed up with a stellar quad lutz. It was a technically impressive performance, but he equally focused on bringing the music to life, integrating elements and choreography seamlessly together. His Vivaldi free program foregrounds his strengths with classical music, and his progression as an artist and performer. He once more put down a quality quad lutz, and save from a -1.05 GOE on his triple loop, he received positive grades of execution elsewhere. Sato matched the high-paced violins of the piece with his movements and showcased neat footwork in the step and choreo sequences. 

Third was Junhwan Cha of the Republic of Korea with 272.95 points. He was third after the short program, but delivered the second-highest free skate. He performed to ‘Masquerade’ in his short program, where he earned a TSS of 95.30. The music suits the lines of his skating, while accentuating the power and showmanship of his style. He delivered a big quad salchow to open, and nailed his trademark triple lutz-triple loop combination to follow. There was a slight lean on the triple axel, but he pulled it off with a +0.34 GOE. Cha varied the quality of his movement to reflect the varying dynamics of the piece with skill. His ‘Batman’ free skate saw him once more cover a great distance in the quad salchow; however, there was a step out from both the quad toe and triple lutz. He is a charismatic skater who captures the intensity of the music choice well. The penultimate element of the skate was an expressive choreo sequence culminating in an Ina Bauer, and was a highlight.

Other notable results included that of Sota Yamamoto from Japan who finished fourth. In his short program, he put down a quality quad toe-triple toe, quad salchow, and triple axel. It was a triumphant performance for the skater, and the step sequence showcased the growth in his capabilities as a performer which has unfolded over the past few seasons and even competitions. Skating to ‘Exogenesis Symphony’ in the free skate, he had a fall on the quad salchow and a big lean on the quad toe combination which followed. However, he regathered himself to subsequently deliver a clean quad toe, and was strong thereafter.
China’s Boyang Jin delivered a fifth place result in front of the home audience. Building on his success from the Golden Spin of Zagreb earlier in the season, he put out two solid performances. He opened his short program with a huge quad toe and continued the streak with a triple axel and a triple lutz-triple toe combo. He was strong in the other elements as well, securing level fours in all of the spins. He demonstrated speed and ice coverage in the step sequence, matching the climax of the music. The free skate began with a quality quad lutz which was given a +3.61 grade of execution; he had a fall on the triple salchow in combination, but opened the second half of his skate strongly with a quad toe-double toe.

Women

Mone Chiba of Japan won the women’s event with 214.98 points. Her ‘Les Yeux Noirs’ short program saw her put down a triple flip-triple toe to begin with, and she had flow coming out of all of her jumps. She used the transitions between elements to reflect and commit to the music, especially coming out of the flying camel spin. It was a clean performance, with level fours on all spins and the step sequence. The fast-paced music for the step sequence was accompanied by complex and intricate movements, and Chiba showed attention to details of the choreography. The beautiful lines of her skating work well with Morricone’s lyrical music for the free skate, and she once more delivered quality jumps. She shone in the other elements as well, such as in the spirals in the choreo sequence. The level four step sequence followed a triumphant triple lutz, and she received a TSS of 143.88. 

Second with a total of 204.68 was Chaeyeon Kim of the Republic of Korea. She had great flow out of the double axel landing in her short program, and covered the ice with speed. She appeared confident and secure in all her elements. There was fluidity in her step sequence, and she was rewarded with a +1.17 grade of execution for the element. She skated to ‘Le Bal des folles’ in her free skate, which was a quiet, instrumental piece, although it built up towards the end. While there is still room to project further towards the audience and push her expressivity, it was a strong performance for Kim; although there was a fall on the triple salchow at the end, her other jumps were solid. 

Winning the bronze medal was Rinka Watanabe of Japan with 202.17 points. She made the double axel in the short program look easy; it was a powerful performance which underscored the dynamism inherent to her skating style. She opted to place the combination as the last jumping pass and pulled it off, although both jumps were marked as landed on the quarter. Her free skate opened with impactful choreography, and she nailed a clean triple axel as her first element, and was given a GOE of +2.06. There were a few jumping errors after: there was a lean on the triple toeloop in the loop-toe combo which followed, and she popped the lutz into a single but maintained focus to add a double axel next. The program comprises four different pieces, and Watanabe picked up on changes in expression with each one to build a cohesive yet varied performance. 

NHK Trophy winner Ava Marie Ziegler of the USA finished in fourth place. In her 4CC debut, she put out two strong performances. Her SP to ‘Jazz Man’ was a suave, charming performance. She has great distance and size in her jumps and showed control over them. She opened her free skate with a big 3F-2A-2A combination and had great extension in her choreo sequence.
Canada’s Madeline Schizas was ninth after the short program but rose to finish sixth. She fought for the opening combination in her SP and struggled a little with the following triple loop. She came back stronger in the free skate, but was held back by low grades of execution on her elements.
Mai Mihara of Japan was seventh. In her short program, she was clean on her first two jumps, but fell in the combination. She struggled with popped jumps in her free skate, which cost her valuable points. Her expansive and emotive skating was evident in the performance however, and she delivered her trademark spiral in the rousing ending of the skate.
Last year’s 4CC champion Haein Lee of the Republic of Korea had a difficult competition and was eleventh overall. She was unable to add a combination to her lutz in the short program and fell on the triple flip. She put out a fight in the free skate to ‘Notre Dame de Paris’, and secured level fours on all spins.

Ice Dance 

Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier of Canada won their first Four Continents title with 214.36 points. Their ‘No More I Love You’s’ and ‘Addicted to Love’ rhythm dance is unique and creative, and they used the opening pattern dance step to establish the tone for the skate. There was a good change in movement between the first and second pieces of music, and the team shifted their expression to match each song. In their ‘Wuthering Heights’ free dance, they once more crafted a distinct feel and atmosphere for their program. There was a perfect match of music with their twizzles, which highlights both the effective choreography and their accuracy with the timing. Gilles and Poirier used two emotive lifts and a memorable hydroblade to close out their clean performance. 

Laurence Fournier Beaudry and Nikolaj Soerensen of Canada placed second with 207.54 points. The pair had two clean performances, skating to a ‘Top Gun’ rhythm dance and ‘Notre Dame de Paris’ free dance. The presence of Fournier Beaudry and Soerensen at the championships was a controversial one, given the allegation of sexual assault against Soerensen and the ongoing investigation surrounding it. We had a more in-depth discussion on the situation in our recap livestream [time stamp 1:54:33]. 

Winning the bronze medal was Christina Carreira and Anthony Ponomarenko of the USA. The rhythm dance to ‘Whole Lotta Trouble’ and ‘Edge of Seventeen’ by Stevie Nicks had great opening choreography going into the first element. They were slightly mismatched in the first set of twizzles, but finished in sync. They were sharp and charismatic in their delivery of choreography, and carried the momentum into their free dance, where they drew the audience in from the haunting notes of their ‘Perfume’ program. Carreira and Ponomarenko showcased great worldbuilding and captured the feel of the intense music with skill. They lost out on a couple of levels and grades of execution on their twizzles, and were not as clean as they could have been, but came back strongly afterwards; there was an amazing use of the rotational lift to transition between the different tempos and emotions of the soundtrack. 

Other performances to note included those of Emilea Zingas and Vadym Kolesnik of the USA. They were fourth in both the rhythm and free dances for a fourth-place finish overall and delivered a compelling ‘Beauty and the Beast’ free dance, which was emotive and showed great projection towards the audience, building up effectively towards the big ending of the skate. 
Marie-Jade Lauriault and Romain le Gac were seventh after the rhythm dance, where they were given a Base level on their rotational lift, considerably decreasing their total element score, and were also given a -2.00 deduction for an illegal element/movement. However, they produced the third-highest scoring free dance to finish fifth overall.
Caroline Green and Michael Parsons of the USA finished sixth. They had a strong rhythm dance with good expressivity in the midline step, using their arms to accentuate specific beats of the music, and finished emphatically in time with the music. They were clean in the free dance and were given a TSS of 115.16. 
Japan’s Misato Komatsubara and Tim Koleto finished eighth, above compatriot teams Utana Yoshida/Masaya Morita and Azusa Tanaka/Shingo Nishiyama: they were thus named to the Japanese World team.

Pairs 

The gold medal in the pair’s event went to Deanna Stellato-Dudek and Maxime Deschamps of Canada, with 198.80 points. They secured a level four in the opening triple twist in their short program to ‘Oxygene’, which was a powerful and impactful performance. There was a hard fall from Deschamps on the side-by-side triple toe, but they followed this up with a level four lift which demonstrated beautifully defined and maintained positions. The throw triple loop was landed in time to the music, and they closed out the strong skate with perfectly matched spins. The ‘Interview with a Vampire’ free skate is a memorable one this season, and the team capture the dark intensity of it with success. They had some difficulty with the triple twist, and had a step out from the side-by-side triple salchow; however, they were clean on the throw triple salchow. The team create a narrative within the performance, and the positions within the lift were used to highlight the music and build character and atmosphere. 

Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara of Japan, back from injury, won the silver medal with 190.77 points. They lost out on levels on the triple twist, getting just a level two, and popped the side-by-side jumping pass into a double toe-loop. Nonetheless, they showed their mettle and quality in the lift, with Kihara in a kneeling position to enter and exit the element. They were solid on the throw triple lutz, and brought the ‘Dare You to Move’ music to life in the vibrant step sequence. Performing to ‘Une chance qu’on s’a’ in their free skate, they gave a better triple twist, but again doubled the toe-loop, and had a hand down on the side-by-side triple salchow as well as a fall from the throw triple loop. They were strong in other parts of the program, nailing the throw triple lutz, and showcased great variations in expression between the softer, lyrical parts and powerful, louder sections of the piece. 

Ellie Kam and Danny O’Shea of the USA finished third with 187.28 points. They were fourth after the short program, which was clean apart from a fall on the throw triple loop. They were synchronised in their side-by-side triple salchow; however, they lost out on levels (and thus points) on both the twist and step sequence. The latter element did, however, have good musicality and projection, building up to the rousing ending of the piece and their performance. They were second in the free skate, and put out a much better triple twist. They pulled off both side-by-side jumps with positive grades of execution, and although there was a fall from the throw triple salchow, they had a very strong final section to their skate, with impressive lifts and a choreo sequence closing it out. 

Seventh after the short program, Anastasia Golubeva and Hektor Giotopoulos Moore of Australia finished fourth overall. The ‘Architect of the Mind’ short program has little change in tone throughout the skate, but the team maintained the level intensity of the piece well from start to finish. They struggled in both performances to cleanly execute the triple twist, and in the short program they had a fall from the throw triple loop as well. They had a fantastic comeback skate in the FS, nailing the 3T-2A-2A jump sequence, and keeping this momentum to nail the throw jumps and the side-by-side triple salchow later on. The team finished with a strong choreo sequence which matched the emotive climax of their ‘Umbrellas of Cherbourg’ program.
Canadians Lia Pereira and Trennt Michaud were fifth. They were great in the side-by-side triple toeloops in the short program, but had a hard fall from the throw triple loop. They did well to hit the percussive beats of the upbeat and punchy ‘River’ in their step sequence. They popped the axel in the jump sequence in their ‘Gladiator’ free skate, but put out a strong program nonetheless, and used the choreo sequence well to accompany the music.
Skate America bronze medallists Chelsea Liu and Balazs Nagy finished seventh. They were third after the short program, where they had commendable elevation on the opening twist, and good distance on the throw triple salchow. In their ‘Romeo and Juliet’ free skate, they were good again on the twist, but had a fall on the side-by-side triple salchow, and just managed to stay upright for the double toe-double axel sequence. In an unfortunate error, the throw triple salchow was landed successfully but saw a fall right after the element, hence there was overall a -2 deduction from the total segment score.

Photography by Verit: Twitter, Instagram

Click here to watch our livestream discussing the competition with Asher Hill!

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