February 3, 2009

ISU Four Continents Preview

By: Pj Kwong

When my friends at Artistry approached me about keeping the skating fans in the loop from the home of the ISU Four Continents Championships being held this week in Vancouver, it was a thrill. For those of you new to Artistry, they are a Skate Canada sponsor and are happy to offer a 15% discount to any first time customer on their website.

As for the skating, Canada is sending one of their strongest teams ever.  I can say this from experience, having been at almost every 4Cs (as they are known) since its’ inaugural event in 1999 in Halifax. The “leads” on this team are our champions who include defending world silver dance medalists and defending Four Continents’ champions, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, defending world bronze pair medalists Jessica Dube and Bryce Davison, five-time national champion Joannie Rochette and two-time national champion Patrick Chan.

The enormous importance of these 4Cs is the fact that it is being held in the same venue as the 2010 Olympic Games and being used as the “test event”. What this means is that many of the details surrounding figure skating at the Olympics are being tried out here; things like the traffic flow inside the venue, accreditation, protocol in the media room and everything going on backstage is pretty much how it will be 12 months from now.

The other thing that isn’t lost on any of the skaters here is the fact that are getting a dry run inside where many of these athletes will be at this time next year which is an invaluable training tool.

Who’s here you ask?  All of the non-European ISU member nations are eligible to be represented which will include 108 skaters from 16 countries in Vancouver.  Inside the rink today, you could feel the intensity and the pride of the competitors on the ice in practice.

We start tomorrow with the North American debut of the Finnstep compulsory dance, followed by the pairs and ladies short programs.

I will be back with lots more from the rink as it’s All Eyes on Skating from here.

As always, you can reach me at




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