Figure Skating

Shoma Uno captures Four Continents title after flawless free skate

AP, Kyodo

Shoma Uno was the first skater in the final group of the men’s free skate on Saturday at the Four Continents Figure Skating Championships. He ended up executing a flawless program that no one was able to match.

Uno won the men’s title by successfully landing three quadruple jumps during his four-minute program, including one in combination. The 197.36 points was the highest score in an international competition this season.

The 2018 Olympic silver medalist — who was in fourth place after Thursday’s short program — posted a total of 289.12 points, which was nearly 16 points better than China’s Jin Boyang, who was the defending champion. American Vincent Zhou was third with 272.22 points.

Uno said earlier this week that he had reinjured his right ankle after winning Japan’s national championship in December. That didn’t stop him from keeping in three quads.

His program, set to Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata,” began with a quad flip and quad toeloop, which earned a combined 25.75 points. Halfway into the program he had a quad toe loop-double toe loop combination (13.51 points) along with a triple axel-single euler-triple flip combination for 14.15 points.

He collapsed to the ice at the end of the program, which was more out of relief than elation.

“I think I was able to do everything I can,” Uno said. “There weren’t a lot of happy emotions when I collapsed, it was like ‘I really did it.’ I thought about how I was injured after Nationals and how I can bring my skating to the next level.”

Uno’s score in the free skate surpassed the previous high of 190.43, recorded by compatriot Yuzuru Hanyu on Nov. 4 in the ISU Grand Prix’s Helsinki competition. The ISU revamped its scoring system last July, so only scores from this season count toward world records.

Jin finished with 273.51 overall points but was frustrated with his free skate, which included one fewer quad than usual.

“I wanted to put on a better performance. My skating wasn’t that relaxed,” Jin said. “Two minutes before stepping on the ice, I decided to not do the quad salchow in my program and change some of the choreography.”

Zhou led after the short program but under rotated on a couple of his quad jumps during his free skate. He was fifth in the long program (172.04) but was still pleased to get on the podium.

“I’m proud of myself at this competition and I’m continuing that upward trend,” Zhou said.

Elsewhere for Japan, Keiji Tanaka was sixth in the free skate and finished seventh overall with 251.54 points. Kazuki Tomono was 12th in the free program and also 12th overall with a total score of 206.41.

Earlier, China’s Wenjing Sui and Cong Han edged Canada’s Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro by six-hundredths of a point to win the pairs competition.

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