Japan’s Mura wins Four Continents despite placing second in free skate

Takahito Mura, right, and Takahiko Kozura of Japan, left, pose with their medals after the Men Free Skating event during the Four Continents Figure Skating Championships.

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TAIPEI, Taiwan — Takahito Mura of Japan won the Four Continents gold medal despite placing second to figure skating compatriot Takahiko Kozuka in the free skate on Friday.

Mura’s near-flawless performance included a triple axel plus double toe loop jump sequence, and quadruple toe loop jump. They earned him 158.35 points for the segment and 242.56 overall, more than six points better than second-place Kozuka.

Fourth after the short program, Kozuka’s free skate lead allowed him to total 236.38 and edge the silver medal from Nan Song of China, who was third in the free and tallied 236.09.

Richard Dornbush of the United States was second from the short program but an error-marred free skate, including a fall on the quadruple salchow, dropped him to seventh for the segment and out of medal contention.

Mura admitted to being worried and tense during the free skate warmup, but relaxed as soon as his program began.

"I was able to accomplish what I wasn’t able to accomplish at the nationals and that’s what I want to do in the future for my career," Mura said.

In pairs, Chinese couple Wenjing Sui and Cong Han retained their lead in the free skate with an impressive performance that included a perfectly executed triple-double-double toe loop jump combination and triple salchow.

"I am very happy to have landed the triple salchow because in practice my success rate was not so high," Sui said.

They were champions with a total of 212.4, comfortably shading the 181.45 for Tarah Kayne and Daniel O’Shea of the United States, who rose from third to second after their free skate.

Alexa Scimeca and Chris Knierim, also of the U.S., were fourth in the free skate but claimed the bronze with an overall 170.35.