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Sui and Han, Mura emerge triumphant in Taipei City

Kayne, O'Shea snag silver for Team USA; Scimeca, Knierim take bronze
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Japan's Takahito Mura skated well enough in his 'Shogun' free skate to maintain his lead, accumulating 242.56 total points to bring home the gold. -Getty Images

The 2014 Four Continents Figure Skating Championships continued in Taipei City, Chinese Taipei, on Friday with the pairs and men's free skates.

Sui, Han strike gold

Wenjing Sui and Cong Han of China claimed the pairs title, with two U.S. teams -- Tarah Kayne and Daniel O'Shea, and Alexa Scimeca and Chris Knierim -- taking the silver and bronze medals, respectively.

Sui and Han delivered an excellent program to "Kalinka," nailing a quadruple twist, side-by-side triple toe-double toe-double toe, triple Salchow, throw triple flip and Salchow. They earned a Level 4 for two lifts, their spins and the death spiral to score a personal best of 137.14 points. Overall, the three-time world junior champions accumulated 212.40 points.

"Today, we gave our very best performance for the audience and the judges," Han said. "We are very pleased to have achieved a personal-best score."

"I am very happy to have landed the triple Salchow because in practice, my success rate is not so high," Sui said. "I was lucky. Overall, I am very pleased with our success."

Performing to "Don Quixote," Kayne and O'Shea produced a side-by-side triple Salchow, throw triple loop and Salchow as well as three Level 4 lifts. However, O'Shea fell after he caught his partner on the triple twist. The Floridians scored 119.40 points and had 181.45 overall to move up one spot and take silver in their debut at an International Skating Union (ISU) championship.

"We started this year with three senior Bs and medaled in all three of those," O'Shea said. "To come here and medal again, it feels really good to show what we can do. Hopefully, there is more to come in the future.

O'Shea elaborated on his fall.

"It is a silly mistake; not something that happens very often, and I was happy to be able to come back from it," he said. "I just tripped over my own feet."

Scimeca and Knierim's program to Ever After included a high triple twist and difficult lifts, but he struggled with the solo jumps while she stumbled on the throw triple loop. The couple from Colorado Springs earned 104.31 points and slipped to third at 170.35 points overall.

"We didn't put our best performance out in the long program, so that's a little disappointing," Knierim said. "But we had a good short, so I think, overall, it was an OK event for us. We're just excited to get the opportunity to come here and get the bronze medal."

2013 world junior champions Haven Denney and Brandon Frazier of the U.S. remained in fourth place at 167.10 points, with Natasha Purich and Mervin Tran of Canada moving up from seventh to fifth with 147.80 points.

Mura skates off with men's title

Takahito Mura of Japan snagged the gold medal, winning his first ISU championship title. Teammate Takahiko Kozuka rose from fourth to earn the silver medal, and China's Nan Song earned the bronze.

Mura's dynamic performance to Shogun included a quad toe loop, triple Lutz-triple toe, two triple Axels as well as four more triples, but the last two were somewhat shaky. The spins merited Levels 3 and 4. The 22-year-old scored a season's best with 158.35 points and racked up 242.56 overall.

"I truly was happy after my performance," Mura said. "During the six minutes warm-up, I was really worried. I had too much power and I tensed up. I was really tired when I did the last two jumps (in the program). Overall, I was able to perform well, especially the steps and things I had to be careful about.

"After nationals, I forgot what it felt like to jump, but at Four Continents, I was able to accomplish what I wasn't able to do at nationals, and that's what I want to do in the future for my career."

Skating to "Introduction et Rondo Capriccioso," Kozuka two-footed his opening quad toe loop attempt that was downgraded, but he rallied back to produce six triples, including two Axels as well as three Level 4 spins. The 24-year-old won the free skate portion with a season's best of 159.53 points and moved up to second with a total of 236.38 points.

"I had a very difficult time after I wasn't chosen for the Olympic team," Kozuka said. "I didn't know why I was skating for all this time. For the Four Continents, I was able to come out of it. I kept thinking about my fans. There were so many people that came from Japan, and I'm such a happy man to have all these fans. I felt I'm not a man if I can't perform successfully tonight."

Song completed a quad toe loop, triple Axel-triple toe, as well as another triple Axel and three more triples. He also added two Level 4 spins in his routine to "The Mission." The 23-year-old picked up 157.38 points for the segment and claimed his first medal at a senior-level championship with 236.09 points overall.

"I made some mistakes on the jumps, like I tripled the second quad," Song said. "So, I lost some points there. But overall, I feel honored to be on the podium."

World silver medalist Denis Ten placed fourth with 226.37 points.

American Richard Dornbush dropped from second to fifth with 224.44 points, and his teammate, Joshua Farris, came in sixth with 221.00 points. Team USA's third competitor, Adam Rippon, landed in eighth place with 213.20 points.

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