[Preview] Four Continents Championships 2017: Men

men

The men’s field in Four Continents has never been this intense! Here we have two-thirds of the Olympic podium in Sochi (Denis Ten has withdrawn, unfortunately), National medalists, and a whole lot of skaters who has shown potential throughout the season. If you’ve never thought the men’s event is this unpredictable, you thought wrong.

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GOLD: Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN)
The last time we have seen Yuzuru Hanyu in Four Continents was in 2013, when he won the silver medal. Four years later, he’ll be coming as the heavy favorite to win the title, with a loaded program layout. He has four quads in his free skate, and is apparently looking to add a fifth, but it will all go down to him landing all of his jumps. And when he’s on, he’s definitely on.

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SILVER: Shoma Uno (JPN)
Four Continents has not been Shoma Uno’s competition, as proved in the past two seasons. This year, however, he might make an exception. The two-time Grand Prix Final bronze medalist and the newly crowned Japanese National Champion now has a quad flip in his arsenal. It looks like he will be adding a quad loop to his program layout as well. However, he has yet to skate two clean programs, and has recently struggled in landing more combo jumps, so it will be a matter of consistency to determine if he’ll make it to the podium this time around.

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BRONZE: Boyang Jin (CHN)
The last we have seen the defending silver medalist was in Cup of China, where he rebounded after a less-than-stellar showing in Skate America. Once again, we will be looking forward to his jumps, his quad lutz especially. He has recently added a quad loop in his free skate program layout and will be aiming to land it in competition. He has also been working on his artistry, and we are excited to see his Spiderman short program again.

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FOURTH: Patrick Chan (CAN)
Predicting the chances for the defending Four Continents champion to defend his title are difficult. He has yet to skate two clean programs this season, and is aiming to land another clean quad sal in competition. Mistakes will cost him the title, or even the podium, depending on how the men with difficult technical content will fare. Then again, when Chan is on, he is capable of showing something brilliant.

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FIFTH: Nathan Chen (USA)
Chen made waves when he won his first National title, with a total of seven quads in his programs. He is expected to repeat that level of performance in Gangneung, but whether he will is another story. Chen, however, has not had a good history of consistency on his earlier competitions, and he struggles in maximizing his spin levels. But if he is consistent, he is sure to be on the podium. And the scores will be huge.

SIXTH: Jason Brown (USA)
The US bronze medalist is slowly starting to work on consistency again following taking most of last season off due to injury. He was off to a good start by earning a medal in his Challenger competitions and winning the silver medal in Skate America, but lost his chance in the Grand Prix Final after a seventh-place finish in NHK Trophy. While he has already landed a quad in a competition, he has yet to land it consistently in his remaining competitions. With the top men having more than one quad in their program layout, Brown will have to rely on skating cleanly to remain in the Top 10.

SEVENTH: Han Yan (CHN)
Since he failed to make it to the free skate in the World Championships in Boston, Yan has not had the best of seasons. He placed a career-low tenth in Skate Canada but rebounded to fifth in Cup of China. With the depth of the men’s field, it will be difficult to make it to the podium again like he had done so for his past three showings in Four Continents. All he needs to do at this point is to skate two clean program to assure a Top 10 finish.

EIGHTH: Keiji Tanaka (JPN)
This season is perhaps Tanaka’s breakthrough, with a bronze medal in NHK Trophy, a silver medal in Nationals, and a silver medal in Winter Universiade. He has been working on his consistency and avoiding his usual mistakes of popping his jumps, and it has definitely showed. He will be looking forward to continue that streak of consistency in Four Continents, where he is a heavy favorite for a spot in the Top 10.

NINTH: Misha Ge (UZB)
Misha has won a silver medal in Autumn Classic and is in the top half of the standings in his GP assignments, a better showing than last year’s rough season. He’ll be coming in this competition with an ankle injury, however. While we predict him to be in the Top 10, the quad toe is crucial for him to be able to push him up a couple more spots.

TENTH: Nam Nguyen (CAN)
The Canadian bronze medalist is starting to get his consistency back again. He needs to land all of his jumps and stay committed to his music in order to place in the Top 10.

Kevin Reynolds (CAN) is seen as a dark horse in this competition. He also has four quads in the free skate, and landing most of them should catapult him to the Top 10. Grant Hochstein (USA) has had a tumultuous season so far and will be looking forward to skate well in Gangneung. Southeast Asian skaters Julian Zhi Jie Yee (MAS) and Michael Christian Martinez (PHI) will be looking forward to maintain or move up the rankings despite the program layout of the top men, though whether they will attempt their quads in competition is yet to be seen.

Meanwhile, all eyes will be on the Korean men, who will aim to give a good impression on home ice. Jinseo Kim (KOR) landed a career-high fourth-place finish in the Winter Universiade free skate, and will be looking forward to a better performance in Gangneung. Junehyoung Lee (KOR) has had a rough season so far but will aim to skate a season’s best. Meanwhile, Sihyeong Lee (KOR) will be making his first senior ISU championship debut in Four Continents.

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