Top U.S. Athletes To Battle It Out at Four Continents

Evan Lysacek
Photo by Paul Harvath

(1/30/07) - The best international line-up of skaters in the history of the event will converge on Colorado Springs, Colo., for the ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships on Feb. 7-10, 2007.

U.S. National Team headliners for this year's Four Continents include World champion Kimmie Meissner, Olympian Emily Hughes, World medalist Evan Lysacek and Olympic ice dancing silver medalists Tanith Belbin & Ben Agosto. On the international side, newly crowned Canadian champions Joannie Rochette and Jeffrey Buttle will be joined by 2006 World silver medalist Fumie Suguri of Japan and Chinese pairs superstars Qing Pang & Jian Tong. This event will unquestionably be a preview of the World Championships in Tokyo, Japan, at the end of March.

The Four Continents Championships are the equivalent of the European Championships for the world's top figure skaters in North America, Asia, Australia and Africa. Approximately 90 athletes from 14 countries will compete, most having recently won their respective national championships. The U.S. Four Continents Team was selected based on performance at the 2007 State Farm U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Spokane, Wash., Jan. 21-28.

The 2007 Four Continents Championships marks the second straight year the event will be held at the Colorado Springs World Arena. In the event's nine-year history, other host cities have included Beijing, China; Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada; Osaka, Japan; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; and Gangneung, Korea.

Ladies
A showdown between Meissner, Hughes, Rochette and Suguri will make for an intense competition. Adding fuel to the fire is American Alissa Czisny, who won the free skate over Meissner and Hughes at the 2007 U.S. Championships last week, as well as Japan's Yoshie Onda, who won the silver medal at the Four Continents Championships just two years ago.

Men
Lysacek and Buttle have battled for medals at major international competitions for the last few years, with Lysacek winning two World bronzes and Buttle taking bronze at the Olympic Winter Games. Other skaters to watch include Canada's Emanuel Sandhu – fifth at last year's World Championships – and Japan's Kensuke Nakaniwa. Two local skaters will also compete: U.S. silver medalist Ryan Bradley and U.S. fourth-place finisher Jeremy Abbott

Pairs
The U.S. has three strong teams competing at Four Continents: U.S. champions Brooke Castile & Ben Okolski, Olympians Rena Inoue & John Baldwin – who won the event last year – and Naomi Nari Nam & Themistocles Leftheris. Their competition includes Chinese World champions Pang & Tong as well as Canadian Olympians Valerie Marcoux & Craig Buntin, and Jessica Dube & Bryce Davison.

Ice Dancing
Belbin & Agosto have won the past three Four Continents Championships but this year will have to vie with the World silver medalist team of Marie-France Dubreuil & Patrice Lauzon of Canada. Other top teams include Americans Meryl Davis & Charlie White and Canadians Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir, who train together in Michigan, and U.S. fourth-place finishers Kimberly Navarro & Brent Bommentre. Representing Japan are Cathy Reed & Chris Reed, who formerly competed in the United States and won the 2006 U.S. novice title.

Tickets to individual sessions range from $5-$40 throughout the event and are available through the World Arena box office and TicketsWest – 719.576.2626 or www.ticketswest.com. Numerous discounts are available for the World Arena event, including $2 off each ticket for any groups of 10 or more, as well as the promotional nights listed below. Those interested in group discounts should contact Kimberly Barberi at the World Arena at 719.477.2116.

SCHEDULE & TICKET PRICES

DAY & SESSION

EVENT & TIME

GOLD

SILVER

BRONZE

*PROMOTIONS

2/7 Wed: Session 1

Comp. Dance (11:30 a.m.)

Pairs SP (3:00 p.m.)

$15

$10

$5

2/7 Wed: Session 2

Men's SP (6:30 p.m.)

$30

$20

$10

Kids' Night

2/8 Thurs: Session 3

Original Dance (11:30 a.m.)

Pairs Final (3:00 p.m.)

$15

$10

$5

School Field Trips

2/8 Thurs: Session 4

Ladies SP (6:30 p.m.)

$30

$20

$10

Military Night

2/9 Fri: Session 5

Free Dance Final (2:00 p.m.)

$15

$10

$5

Seniors' Day (60+)

2/9 Fri: Session 6

Men's Final (6:30 p.m.)

$30

$20

$10

Family Night

2/10 Sat: Session 7

Ladies Final (11:30 a.m.)

$30

$20

$10

Girl/Boy Scout Day

2/10 Sat: Session 8

Exhibition (7:00 p.m.)

$40

$30

$20

All-Event Tickets

Admission to all 8 sessions

$153

$119

All-Event Gold VIP passes avail-able for $300/person = front row seat, program, practice pass and collector's credential

*PROMOTIONS

·        Kids' Night | 2/7, Session 2: All kids 13 and under get in free with paying adult (two kids allowed per adult).

·    School Field Trips | 2/8, Session 3: All field trips get in free.

·        Military Night | 2/8, Session 4: $1 off every ticket bought with military ID.

·        Seniors' Day (60+) | 2/9, Session 5: $1 off every ticket bought by senior citizens.

·        Family Night | 2/9, Session 6: “The 4 for $40 Family Package”: Families of four can buy four silver-level tickets for just $40 – 50 percent off and a $40 discount.

·        Girl/Boy Scout Day | 2/10, Session 7: $5 bronze-level tickets for Girl and Boy Scouts.

·        Groups | All days and sessions: $2 off each ticket for any session for groups of 10 or more.