Serving as the Test Event for the 2018 Games, the South Korean arena saw the largest Australia contingent of skaters compete at the event, with athletes in every discipline for the first time since 2006.
The first pairs skaters in over a decade, Harley Windsor and Ekaterina Alexandrovskaya, finished the Championship in 11th place, with consistent results in both the short and free program.
“I feel like we're becoming more of a mature senior team now,” said 20-year-old Windsor, who has been skating with 17-year-old Alexandrovskaya since January 2016.
“Overall we are pretty happy with our senior championship.”
Windsor and Alexandrovskaya will now turn their attention to Junior World Championships in mid-March before taking on the world’s best at World Championships later in the month, which is also an Olympic qualification event.
In the men’s event, Sochi 2014 Olympian Brendan Kerry produced fantastic results, finishing 11th overall with a season’s best and his highest ever Four Continents result.
“I was incredibly happy and incredibly annoyed after my season’s best,” said Kerry who recorded his first short program score inside the top ten at an ISU Championships.
“I had so much fun out there and gave it my all.”
Despite nailing majority of his routine, the 22-year-old walked away frustrated with a mistake on his triple axel in the short program.
“I missed my money jump. Ask anyone at my training rink and they'll tell you- it's never the 3A he's worried about.”
But a mistake won’t deter Kerry in his quest for PyeongChang 2018 qualification as he hopes to feature on the Olympic program for the second time.
“That's my number one focus.
“I know that if I give my absolute best at every other event and treat it like an Olympic qualifying competition that when the time comes it won't be as big of a deal,” said Kerry who was also eager to test out the Gangneung Arena.
“The Olympic venue was awesome! Less intimidating than I thought it would've been.”
Kerry now turns his attention to Sapporo, Japan where a team of 30 Australian athletes will make their Asian Winter Games debut.
“I'm excited to do the AWG as there isn't any pressure for a specific result - it's a competition I can do just to enjoy the experience. I'm also really looking forward to going to Japan.”
Fellow Aussies Andrew Dodds and Mark Webster finished in 20th and 21st position respectively in the men’s event.
In the women’s competition, 2014 Olympian Brooklee Han wrapped up her campaign in 14th, two places ahead of Australian teammate Kailani Craine in 16th.
Mixed results for the Aussies saw Han record her best ever free program routine, while a bad day on the ice and two falls for Craine proved to be an important learning lesson for the 18-year-old.
“I expected everything to go as it has gone in practice, so when I made a mistake on the triple lutz I was in a state of shock, and just couldn't recover,” Craine said.
“I am told ‘all champions have had bad skates’, so now I have had mine.”
The Newcastle native is determined to put her bad skate behind her and is looking forward to bouncing back for the Asian Winter Games.
“Even though I know myself that I work way too hard to perform the way I did, the bad days at the office make the good days feel even more special.
“I'm so grateful to have the incredible support from my Australian team mates, and I'm the luckiest girl alive to have my two number one fans by my side; my mum and dad.”
Rounding out the green and gold skaters, the three sets of Australian Ice Dancers finished their ‘4CC’ campaigns with the free dance event on Friday afternoon.
Adele Morrison and Demid Rokachev finished in 14th overall, while AWG skaters Matilda Friend and William Badaoui secured 15th position ahead of Kimberley Hew-Low and Timothy Mckernan in 16th.
Craine, Kerry, Friend and Badaoui will now join pair skaters Paris Stephens and Matthew Dodds plus their AWG teammates in Japan and will look to record some more strong results for Australia.
The 2017 Sapporo Asian Winter Games’ were officially opened overnight and figure skaters are set to take to the ice on Thursday February 23, with Ice Dance the first event on the program.
Live streaming is available on the Sapporo17 website.
IMAGE: Brendan Kerry and coach Tammy Gambill wait for the scores after the free program at the ISU Four Continents Championship. Photo: ISA Facebook