Cha overcomes fall to win Four Continents figure skating

AP South Korea.jpeg
Posted at 1:30 PM, Jan 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-23 14:30:12-05

TALLINN, Estonia (AP) — Cha Jun-hwan overcame a fall at the start of his free skate to become the first South Korean man to win gold at the Four Continents figure skating championships Sunday.

Skating to music from the opera “Turandot,” Cha took a tumble on his opening quadruple toeloop but recovered to score 174.26 in his free skate, extending his short-program lead with a total of 273.22.

That kept him ahead of Japan’s Kazuki Tomono on 268.99. Another Japanese skater, Kao Miura, was third on 251.07.

The only previous South Korean to win a Four Continents gold was Kim Yuna in the women’s competition in 2009.

Cha was one of relatively few skaters at Four Continents who are also heading to the Olympics next month. The U.S., Canada and Japan all sent squads of skaters who weren’t selected for the Beijing Games, in part to avoid would-be Olympians contracting the coronavirus. China did not send a team.

Earlier this week, Japan’s Mai Mihara won gold in the women’s competition, Audrey Lu and Misha Mitrofanov of the U.S. won the pairs event and Caroline Green and Michael Parsons of the U.S. were champions in ice dance.