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Four Continents Starts Today!

The Four Continents Figure Skating Championships starts today in Vancouver, site of our next winter Olympics, woo!!! Unfortunately, I've been on deadline and cannot devote the love to this event that it deserves.

I will admit that I am most excited about the Ladies event. You have Japan's Mao Asada going against South Korea's Yu-na Kim again, in what could be a preview of Worlds and possibly the Olympics. These two appear to be the main contenders. It will also be interesting to see if Americans Alissa Czisny, Rachael Flatt, and Caroline Zhang can gain any ground against the Asians or if they will be a mere afterthought, coming in after Kim and all of the Japanese ladies and possibly Joannie Rochette of Canada. I'm looking forward to seeing Rochette as well; I don't think she was in the right mental or maybe even physical condition for the Grand Prix Final, so maybe now she can show what she can do to set the stage for Worlds. This is a great event because to be honest, the only woman I think is a true medal contender from Europe is Carolina Kostner (despite her recent loss in the European Championships) so it could be a pretty good preview of worlds. The major wildcard is that those European ladies who I don't think will medal might very well land in the top ten at Worlds, which means that we can't truly judge how the Americans will fare when they are not up against them.

As for the men's side, it will be great to see the U.S. team of Jeremy Abbott, Brandon Mroz, and Evan Lysacek go head to head with Japan's Nobunari Oda and Takahiko Kozuka, along with Canadian wunderkind Patrick Chan. I find it amazing how many men I love to watch skate these days...it hasn't been that way for a very long time.

The pairs event will likely be dominated by the Chinese couples, Pang and Tong and Zhang and Zhang, is my guess. Americans McLaughlin and Brubaker, Inoue and Baldwin, and Denney and Barrett will be competing, along with the Canadian teams, with the exception of their new national champions, Langolois and Hay, who have withdrawn due to injury.

In dance, it should be Americans Davis and White against Canadians Virtue and Moir. Very excited to see Virtue and Moir in an international competition as a warm-up to worlds, but I don't see this as any type of worlds indicator as there are so many top teams in Europe.

Wednesday February 4, 2009

7:30 am: Practice
1:00 pm: Dance Compulsory
3:15 pm: Pairs Short
5:30 pm: Opening Ceremony on Ice
6:15 pm: Ladies' Short

Thursday February 5, 2009

7:00 am: Practice
11:00 am: Dance Original
1:35 pm: Pairs Free (Final)
3:45 pm: Victory Ceremony - Pairs
4:30 pm: Men Short

Friday February 6, 2009

Session 1
8:00 am: Practice
1:45 pm: Dance Free (Final)
4:35 pm: Victory Ceremony - Dance
Session 2
6:00 pm: Ladies' Free (Final)

9:50 pm: Victory Ceremony - Ladies

Saturday February 7, 2009

7:15 am: Practice
10:45 am: Men Free (Final)
2:45 pm: Victory Ceremony Men

Sunday February 8, 2009

12:00 pm: Gala Exhibition