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Moore-Towers, Marinaro take pairs bronze at ISU Four Continents

Canadians Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro won the bronze medal in pairs on Saturday at the ISU Four Continents figure skating competition in Seoul, South Korea.

China was 1-2 with two-time world champions Wenjing Sui and Cong Han first with 217.51 points and Cheng Peng and Yang Jin second at 213.29. 

Moore-Towers and Marinaro, first after Thursday’s short program, made mistakes on both their side-by-side triple jumps and dropped to third with 201.80.

”It was rough for us,” said Moore-Towers, from St. Catharines, Ont. ”We don’t perform like this in training so it’s a bit of a head scratcher. We’ve been practicing really well so it’s become apparent we need to translate that into competition. We’ll take some good lessons from this competition.”

Evelyn Walsh of London, Ont., and Trennt Michaud of Trenton, Ont. were sixth and first-year partnership Lubov Ilyushechkina of Toronto and Charlie Bilodeau of Trois-Pistoles, Que., were seventh.

”We were happy to work together and get through it all,” said Michaud. ”Nothing came easily today but that’s all part of the journey.

In women’s competition, Rika Kihira of Japan won the gold with Young You of South Korea second and Bradie Tennell of the U.S. third.

Alicia Pineault of Varennes, Que., was 10th, Alison Schumacher of Tecumseh, Ont., climbed from 18th to 14th and Emily Bausback of Vancouver was 15th.

”I was able to stay focused during the entire program,” said Pineault. ”I tried to go for the jumps even though I  didn’t feel like it’s wasn’t going to be perfect.”

”I focused on the feeling of my jumps and didn’t get too caught up in results,” said Schumacher. ”I can only do my job.”

Japanese teen repeats as women’s champion

Japanese teenager Rika Kihira won the women’s free skate on Saturday to capture the Four Continents figure skating title for the second straight year. She is the first skater to win back-to-back events in the history of the event.

The 17-year-old Kihira received 151.16 points for a total of 232.34. South Korea’s Young You moved up to second place with a total of 223.23 points while Bradie Tennell of the United States, second after the short program, finished third with 222.97.

Kihira, who led after the short program, opened her routine with a triple salchow but then singled her planned first triple axel. Maintaining her composure, Kihira went on to land a triple axel-double toeloop combination.

She added six more triple jumps en route to her victory.

“My goal was to get the first place twice in a row in this Four Continents championship,” Kihira said. “So I became a little bit impatient because of my first mistake in the axel. But I was able to re-calculate and re-assemble the structure of my performance.”

Hanyu quickly recovers to claim men’s title

Two-time Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu won’s the men’s free skate to claim his first Four Continents figure skating title and complete a Japanese sweep of the men’s and women’s events.

Hanyu, first after the short program, received 187.60 points for a total of 299.42. Jason Brown of the United States was second in the free skate to finish second overall with 274.82 points while Japan’s Yuma Kagiyama was third with 270.61 points.

Hanyu went into the free skate with a 15.99 point-lead after setting a world-record score in the short program. He put his hand on the ice on the opening element of the free skate — a quad lutz — but quickly recovered to land a clean quad salchow.

Although he fell on the quad toeloop and it wasn’t his most impressive free skate, Hanyu comfortably won by a wide margin to claim his first Four Continents title.

“I was disappointed [with my mistakes] ,” Hanyu said. “But I will be able to prepare for the world championship by analyzing today’s mistakes and I would like to improve my skating to not repeat these mistakes in other competitions.”

Brown’s performance to “Schindler’s List” featured a triple axel-double toe, another triple axel as well as six triples.

“I was rewarded for what I did so I’m really excited heading into the World Championships because I left a good 12 points on the table that I hope to get in Montreal,” Brown said.

Toronto’s Nam Nguyen, ninth after the short, was sixth, Keegan Messing of Sherwood Park, Alta., eighth and Roman Sadovsky of Vaughan, Ont., 16th.

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