Shibutanis crack top 10 in world skater rankings
American ice dancers get boost from Four Continents performance
|Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani moved into the top 10 in the world skater rankings. (Sarah S. Brannen)|
The first Four Continents Championships title for Japan's Miki Ando solidified her top ranking, moving her more than 1,000 ahead of second-ranked Yu-Na Kim of Korea. The two will meet for the first time this season next month at the 2011 World Figure Skating Championships in Tokyo. The silver medalist in Taipei City, Mao Asada of Japan moved up one spot to No. 3, while bronze medalist Mirai Nagasu of the United States rose two places to No. 10. American Rachael Flatt placed fourth in Taipei City and climbed one place to No. 7, while country mate Alissa Czisny remained at No. 5 after a fifth-place showing.
Japan's Daisuke Takahashi captured his second career Four Continents title, a result that moved him 1,400 points ahead of second-ranked Patrick Chan of Canada, who chose not to compete at last week's event. Takahashi's country mate, Yuzuru Hanyu, finished runner-up at Four Continents, propelling him from No. 13 to No. 10. American Jeremy Abbott claimed the second Four Continents bronze of his career; he held at No. 9. Adam Rippon of the United States came in fifth in Taipei City and moved up one place to No. 11.
China's Qing Pang and Jian Tong continued their season-long game of leap frog with Germany's Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy, using their fifth career Four Continents gold medal to reclaim the top spot. Both the silver and bronze medalists in Chinese Taipei were Canadian, and both debuted in the rankings this week: Paige Lawrence and Rudi Swiegers at No. 16 and Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford at No. 19. Two of the American teams at Four Continents ascended three places apiece; Caitlin Yankowskas and John Coughlin (fourth place) and Amanda Evora and Mark Ladwig (sixth place) sit at Nos. 10 and 11, respectively.
With Canada's Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir withdrawing because of an injury suffered by Virtue during their free dance, Americans Meryl Davis and Charlie White cruised to their second Four Continents championship. The 2,230-point margin between them and second-ranked Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat of France is insurmountable, meaning Davis and White will finish the year as the No. 1-ranked ice dancing team in the world. The Shibutanis moved up five places, the biggest jump of the week, and showed they are contenders for a medal at the World Championships. Canadians Vanessa Crone and Paul Poirier earned the bronze at Four Continents, an outcome that pushed them up the rankings one place to No. 4. Fifth-place finishers Madison Chock and Greg Zuerlein of the United States rose two spots to No. 15.