By Pj Kwong

Shanghai, China will be my home for the next week or so as the ISU Four Continents Championships unfold. There are a few reasons why this event is important, not the least of which is that it gives us, the fans, a last chance to see some old favourites and glimpse new stars in advance of the ISU World Figure Skating Championships happening in Montreal in March.

For the Skate Ontario family, this event is also important as our athletes get the chance to take center stage in all four disciplines. In the men’s event, former National Champion Roman Sadovsky gets the chance to make his second appearance at the Four Continents Championships since 2020. For Conrad Orzel, the former national silver medallist, improving on his eighth-place finish at 4Cs from a year ago must be top of mind. The name of the game for the men is building on their international experience.

New-ish pair Lia Pereira and Trennt Michaud have steadily been climbing the ranks since their debut a year ago. Currently they are ranked second in Canada, made it to the Grand Prix Final for the first time in December and are no doubt are looking to improve on their fourth-place finish at the Four Continents in 2023. This event is just another step on the ladder to success for these two.

It was bumpy for former two-time national champion Madeline Schizas at the recent national championships where she took the silver. The truth is that no skater, including Maddie, should ever be defined by a single moment in their career. If you watched the Olympic Games in 2022, you know that this is a skater with ‘the goods’; including maturity, ability, and the smarts to put it all together. It’s Maddie’s time to shine.

Before the start of any competition, the possibilities of who might land on the podium are endless BUT ice is slippery, so there are no foregone conclusions. That said, the reality is that Skate Ontario’s Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier are in the enviable position of being the clear front runners in the ice dance event. For Piper and Paul winning the Four Continents would mean taking the title for the first time after a bronze and silver respectively in 2019 and 2020 and their first appearance at this event since then. Make no mistake, regardless of who is at the event (or not) these two are ‘in it to win it’ and will leave nothing on the table on their way to gold.

The theme for the Skate Ontario skaters is to stay the course and trust in the talent and the training that each and every one of them possesses. At the end of the day, we are #SkateOntarioProud.


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