Madison Chock and Evan Bates began preparing for the Four Continents Figure Skating Championships even before they were crowned U.S. ice dance champions for the fourth time in their careers.

It’s clearly paying off.

Chock and Bates took the lead after the rhythm dance at Four Continents on Friday night, scoring 87.67 points to their program set to ”Let’s Dance” by David Bowie. That was enough to edge Canadian champs Laurence Fournier Beaudry and Nikolaj Soerensen, who scored 86.28 points, and Marjorie Lajoie and Zachary Lagha, who scored 79.04 points.

”We were prepared and we let our training carry us into this week,” said Chock, who along with Bates won Four Continents in 2019 and 2020. ”It feels so good to be skating the way we are training.”

In the women’s event, Haein Lee rode a personal-best free skate to vault from sixth after her short program into first place, becoming the first South Korean skater to win Four Continents since Yuna Kim in 2009 in Vancouver, Canada.

Lee finished with 210.84 points to edge countrywoman Yelim Kim, who fell apart on the back half of her free skate and finished with 209.29 points. Mone Chiba broke up the South Korean sweep by taking the bronze medal for Japan.

Isabeau Levito, the 15-year-old American champion who was second after the short program, withdrew with an illness.

”I always try to do my best,” Lee said. ”This time I tried to not think about final results, to focus on my training process, and I think I did well and I’m very happy right now.”

Chock and Bates set a goal this season of finally winning an elusive world championship, and Four Continents – which brings together the top skaters from non-European countries – is an ideal final tune-up for next month in Japan.

The pair showed their usual poise and precision on Friday night for their best international score this season.

”Our season’s best is an amazing feeling going into world championships,” Chock said.

Beaudry and Soerensen, performing to music from Gloria Estefan, also scored an international season’s best, topping their rhythm dance from the NHK Trophy that set them up for the Grand Prix win that weekend.

”We’ve really been focusing on changing our approach by having a little bit more fun and trying to combat some of the stress that’s inevitable in competition,” Soerensen said. ”Inspire the people who watch skating and make them enjoy it.”

Miura and Kihara, unbeaten in international competition this season, established their lead in the pairs event despite her fall on their side-by-side triple toe loop, thanks in part to a nice throw triple lutz to finish the program.

”I was nervous and therefore I made the mistake,” Miura said. ”We were able to score higher than 70 points. That shows what we’ve been accumulating in the past and I think it’s proof of how we’ve grown.”

Nobody was perfect in pairs: Stellato-Dudek and Deschamps had a mistake on their throw triple loop, and Chan and Howe were shaky on their throw before he fell on their side-by-side triple toe loop.

”Every time we come out to these competitions, we don’t have a lot of expectations for medals. When we are awarded with those, it’s a bonus for us,” Howe said. ”Really we’re out here to just better ourselves.”

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