South Korean figure skater Cha Jun-hwan faltered in the free skate to finish sixth overall (with a total of 255.83 points) at the Four Continents Figure Skating Championships in Anaheim, California, on Sunday. He was in second place after Friday’s short program with a score of 97.33 points.
Cha, who won a bronze medal and became the first South Korean male skater to reach the podium at the ISU Grand Prix Final last December, was aiming to achieve another feat by winning a medal at the Four Continents. No other South Korean skater, except Kim Yu-na, has earned a medal at the event open to skaters from Asia, the Americas, Africa, and the Oceania.
Yet, the South Korean skater can leave with some takeaways from the latest event to work on his weaknesses and hone his skills prior to the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. Cha earned 158.50 points in the free skate, the eighth-best score in the field and shy of his personal best of 174.42 points. What cost him points was his wobbly jump combinations. Five of his executed elements including a quadruple toe loop and a quadruple salchow were judged to be under-rotated jumps.
The ISU introduced a new scoring system at the start of this season to expand the range of the Grade of Execution (GOE) from -5 to +5. Under the changed evaluation system, a mistake would cost a skater more points.
“It was not my best performance, but I did my best," Cha said. "I’d like to prepare well for the remaining competitions (such as the World Championships) this season."
Cha is scheduled to participate in the ISU World Figure Skating Championships in Japan in March.
Yun-Cheol Jeong firstname.lastname@example.org