If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you know that I’m always a little ambiguous about Four Continents. I know it’s intended to be a sort of non-European European Championships, and it allows the world to see more skaters from Australia, South/Central America, and Africa (yes, we have one entry from South Africa this year) than they would anywhere else… but when competing against skating powerhouses like Japan, Canada, China, and (oh, yeah) the U.S., it always seems more than a little lopsided.
But let’s look on the bright side regarding who’s there this year:
+ Virtue/Moir and Davis/White, who get another face-off before heading to Worlds
+ Weaver/Poje and the Shib Sibs, who will presumably have their own face-off for the bronze medal
+ Richard Dornbush, who, on the strength of last year’s Worlds (if not this year’s overall placement at Nationals), was called in to replace a hip-injured Jeremy Abbott
+ Patrick Chan and Daisuke Takahashi, arguably (?) two of the best male skaters in the world right now
+ Mao Asada, who gets a second chance to “warm up” before Worlds after having to withdraw from the GPF a couple months ago
+ Still relative newbies Marley/Brubaker, who need all the international experience they can get after snaring a spot at Worlds over Evora/Ladwig
+ All the “almost world team members,” for whom the season might otherwise already be over (e.g. Jeremy Ten, Evora/Ladwig, Agnes Zawadski, etc.)
+ And in what might be the most compelling sidebar of this event, at least as far as Canadian fans are concerned… recent champ Amelie Lacoste and former champ Cynthia Phaneuf are vying for the sole Canadian female entry at Worlds, with the job going to, I believe, the best finisher at 4CC.
It all starts tonight at 8:45 Eastern time with the men’s short program, so here go some predictions…
BRONZE: Nan Song (China)
Mr. Chan, all I ask is that if you win, please do it without becoming a human Zamboni this time. Thank you.
If Song isn’t skating with the same technical brilliance as earlier in the season, it would be lovely to see Adam Rippon win bronze.
GOLD: Kanako Murakami (JPN)
BRONZE: Ashley Wagner
This could be a Japanese sweep (Haruka Imai is beautiful to watch), but I’m still crossing my fingers to see Ashley skate strong enough to medal… hopefully while trying out the new combos she wants to add to her programs.
Is this Sui/Han’s last senior event of the season? If so, I think they could skate lights out over everyone else, including the two couples listed above.
I think D/W will just keep doing what they’re doing—winning—while V/M refrain from pulling out all the stops just yet. They’ll save that drama for Worlds.
Oh, one more thing: If anyone remembers Christopher Caluza, who competed at U.S. Nationals last year… he’s now competing for the Philippines, and will be at 4CCs tonight. How about you?