Eighteen U.S. skaters make journey to Osaka
Davis and White lead well-balanced pack of Americans into Four Continents
|U.S. champion Max Aaron will make his Four Continents debut this week in Osaka. (Jay Adeff)|
Official practice begins Wednesday, Feb. 6, while competition kicks off two days later with the short dance, and pairs and men's short programs.
Icenetwork.com will provide news, photos and athlete blogs from the event.
Gracie Gold won her first U.S. senior medal, a silver, late last month at the 2013 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships. Gold will also compete at the 2013 World Figure Skating Championships in March.
She is joined in Osaka by Agnes Zawadzki, the reigning two-time U.S. bronze medalist who was sixth at this event last year, and Christina Gao, who was fifth at the U.S. championships. Gao's most recent international competition was the 2012 Grand Prix Final in December.
Max Aaron won his first U.S. senior title in January and will compete in his first major ISU championship event at the senior level. Before winning the U.S. championships, Aaron was first at the 2012 U.S. International Classic and the 2013 Midwestern Sectional, as well as second at 2012 Cup of Nice.
Ross Miner is the reigning Four Continents bronze medalist. Miner enjoyed his best showing at the U.S. championships -- a second-place finish -- last month.
Richard Dornbush was named to Team USA on Monday after Adam Rippon withdrew due to a left ankle injury. Dornbush, who placed sixth at the U.S. championships, will make his second consecutive Four Continents appearance.
Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir won their first U.S. title and will also represent Team USA at the 2013 World Championships. Prior to winning the U.S. title, Castelli and Shnapir earned gold at the 2012 Ice Challenge in Graz, Austria, and took bronze at the 2012 NHK Trophy. This is their second appearance at the Four Continents Championships.
Alexa Scimeca and Chris Knierim, the 2013 U.S. silver medalists, will compete in their first ISU championship event after teaming up last spring. Felicia Zhang and Nathan Bartholomay will also compete as newly crowned U.S. bronze medalists.
Meryl Davis and Charlie White have earned four medals, including two golds, in five Four Continents appearances. Most recently, they won the U.S. title in Omaha, their fifth straight.
Madison Chock and Evan Bates won the silver medal at the U.S. championships to earn their first U.S. medal as a team.
Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani have medaled at three straight U.S. championships and will compete at Four Continents for the third time.