Olympic silver medalists Meryl Davis and Charlie White from USA won their second Four Continents Championship over Canadian Olympic gold medalists and rivals, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir.
The win for Davis and White over their Canadian training partners is the second this season and occurred after Virtue and Moir stopped mid performance prior to a lift, appearing to be out of breath. The couple were allowed to continue after a two-minute break, but by then the spell had been broken.
For O’Brien and Merriman, who moved to Detroit, USA, to train with Pasquale Camerlengo and Anjelika Krylova last year, the high scores achieved in Osaka, which would rank them within the top 20 in the world is bitter-sweet.
The Sydney team, who have made an impressive climb through the ranks this season, including a bronze medal in Poland four weeks ago, will be prevented from competing at the World Championships following a harsh decision by the International Skating Union last week not to lower the minimum score for Ice Dance, but lowering the score for all other disciplines.
It is thought that the decision by the Dance Technical Committee not to lower the scores was 3 – 2 against. Danielle and Greg have exceeded the minimum score twice for the Free Dance but are .5 outside the Short Dance score.
The ISU decision effectively locks out O’Brien and Merriman from the opportunity to qualify a direct Australian entry in the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Nineteen quota places will be allocated at the 2013 Worlds in London, Canada next month. The Australians, who were ranked 20th at last year’s World Championships will now have to rely on claiming one of the remaining five quota places at the Olympic Qualification Competition in September.
Australia’s Brooklee Han and Chantelle Kerry both had strong performances, placing 12th and 14th respectively the final in the ladies Championship. For Brooklee, who was within a mere .30 of the higher ISU qualifying score, the opportunity for an Olympic berth beckons after the ISU dropped the 2013 Worlds Ladies minimum technical score requirement by two points.
Landing four strong triple jumps and performing her trademark spins to their best potential, Brooklee stayed ahead of her teammate and current Australian Champion, Chantelle Kerry, who completed two or her planned four triples.
Bendan Kerry and David Kranjec finished 21st and 23rd in the men's event.