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Four Continents Figure Skating Championships schedule, preview

Nathan Chen

Nathan Chen celebrates with his coach Rafael Arutyunyan after performing in the men’s free skate competition at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

AP

Yuzuru Hanyu, Patrick Chan and U.S. champion Nathan Chen headline the Four Continents Championships at the 2018 Olympic venue, on NBC Sports this week.

Four Continents brings together the world’s best skaters outside of Europe, which already had its own continental championships in January.

It doubles as the Olympic test event, making it a tune-up not only for the world championships next month but also for PyeongChang 2018.

The men’s field includes the 2014 Olympic gold and silver medalists, Hanyu and Chan, plus the American Chen, who outscored both of them at the Grand Prix Final free skate in December. And Japan’s Shoma Uno and China’s Jin Boyang, the bronze medalists at the last two major international competitions.

The field includes every worlds medal contender save two-time reigning world champion Javier Fernandez of Spain.

If Chen wins this week, skating like he did at the U.S. Championships in January, he has to be considered the world championships favorite. It’s a tall order, though.

On the women’s side, the U.S. team is made up of national champion Karen Chen, plus Mariah Bell and Mirai Nagasu, who placed third and fourth at nationals. U.S. silver medalist Ashley Wagner is skipping Four Continents as usual to prepare for worlds.

The favorite is Canadian Kaetlyn Osmond. Another Canadian, Gabrielle Daleman, and Japanese Wakaba Higuchi and Mai Mihara are also in the medal mix, along with the U.S. trio. Japanese champion Satoko Miyahara withdrew last week with a hip injury.

The ice dance field is loaded with the top couple this season, 2010 Olympic champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada, plus the three best U.S. couples.

Maia and Alex Shibutani, Madison Chock and Evan Bates and Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue made up half of the top six at the 2016 World Championships, including silver for the Shibutanis and bronze for Chock and Bates.

Alexa Scimeca Knierim and Chris Knierim, the top U.S. pair in international competition the previous two seasons, will compete for the first time this season at Four Continents. They’ve been out due to her unspecified abdominal issue that lasted from April to November and required three surgeries.

They were cleared for full training a week before the U.S. Championships, opted not to compete at nationals and successfully petitioned for a place on the Four Continents and worlds teams.

They’ll go up against pairs that went one-two at the last two worlds, Canada’s Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford and China’s Sui Wenjing and Han Cong.

MORE: Figure skating season broadcast schedule

Four Continents Broadcast Schedule

DayEventTime (ET)Network
WednesdayShort dance9 p.m.Icenetwork.com*
ThursdayPairs short program12:15 a.m.Icenetwork.com*
ThursdayWomen’s short program4:30 a.m.Icenetwork.com*
ThursdayShort dance12 p.m.NBCSN
ThursdayPairs short program2 p.m.NBCSN
ThursdayWomen’s short program4 p.m.NBCSN
ThursdayFree dance11:30 p.m.Icenetwork.com*
FridayMen’s short program3:45 a.m.Icenetwork.com*
FridayFree dance12 p.m.NBCSN
FridayMen’s short program1:30 p.m.NBCSN
SaturdayPairs free skate12 a.m.Icenetwork.com*
SaturdayWomen’s free skate4 a.m.Icenetwork.com*
SaturdayPairs free skate8 a.m.NBCSN
SaturdayWomen’s free skate2:30 p.m.NBC
SaturdayMen’s free skate9 p.m.Icenetwork.com*
SaturdayMen’s free skate11 p.m.NBCSN

*Live stream for subscribers