ISU Grand Prix and Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final 2013 - Preview

- Fukuoka, Japan

The ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating and ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating cumulate this week with the Finals in Fukuoka (JPN). The events feature the top six skaters/couples in each category from the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating series and the ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating series.

ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final
24 skaters/couples from eight ISU members will compete in the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final. They are vying for a global prize money of U.S. $ 272,000. Six skaters/couples in each category qualified in the six events of the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series: Hilton HHonors Skate America, Skate Canada International, Lexus Cup of China, Rostelecom Cup in Russia, Trophée Eric Bompard in France and NHK Trophy in Japan.

The prize money is awarded to winners and placed skaters/couples as follows:

Men and Ladies, Pairs and Ice Dance (per couple)
1st place: US$ 25,000
2nd place: US$ 18,000
3rd place: US$ 12,000
4th place: US$ 6,000
5th place: US$ 4,000
6th place: US$ 3,000

World Champion Patrick Chan (CAN) is aiming for his fourth Grand Prix Final title. He leads the Grand Prix standings and set a new highest total score of 295.27 points at the event in France. Competition should come from Tatsuki Machida (JPN/seasons best 265.38 points) and Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN/seasons best 263.59 points). Chan and Machida qualified with two wins for the Final. Nobunari Oda (JPN/seasons best 262.98 points) and newcomers Han Yan (CHN/seasons best 245.62 points) and Maxim Kovtun (RUS/seasons best 240.34 points) want to challenge for the podium as well.

Mao Asada (JPN) and Julia Lipnitskaia (RUS) lead the Ladies with two wins on the Grand Prix series each.  Asada scored a seasons best of 207.59 points while Lipnitskaia earned a seasons best of 198.23 points. The challenge should come from Ashley Wagner (USA/seasons best 194.37) and the squad of three Russian Ladies Adelina Sotnikova (seasons best 189.81 points), Elena Radionova (191.81 points) and Anna Pogorilaya (184.69 points). All four Russian Ladies compete in their first Grand Prix Final. Lipnitskaia qualified last year, but withdrew due to injury.

Reigning World and Grand Prix Final Champions Tatiana Volosozhar/Maxim Trankov (RUS) and current World silver medalists Aliona Savchenko/Robin Szolkowy (GER) headline the Pairs standings. Both teams advanced with two gold medals from the circuit to the Final. The Russians posted a new highest total score of 237.71 points at Skate America while the Germans have a seasons best of 206.33 points. Qing Pang/Jian Tong (CHN/seasons best 194.38 points) are coming with a gold and a silver medal from their events to Fukuoka. Kirsten Moore-Towers/Dylan Moscovitch (CAN) earned a seasons best of 208.45 points on their way to Fukuoka while reigning World bronze medalists Meagan Duhamel/Eric Radford (CAN) return with a seasons best of 190.89 to the event. The only newcomers to the Final are Cheng Peng/Hao Zhang (CHN/seasons best 187.19 points).

World Champions Meryl Davis/Charlie White (USA/seasons best 188.23 points) will meet World silver medalists Tessa Virtue/Scott Moir (CAN/seasons best 181.03) for the first time this season. While these two teams are the only ones to qualify with two victories and are the top favorites, the battle for the bronze will be tough. Reigning World bronze medalists Ekaterina Bobrova/Dmitri Soloviev (RUS/seasons best 168.32 points), two-time European Champions Nathalie Pechalat/ Fabian Bourzat (FRA/seasons best 171.08), Kaitlyn Weaver/Andrew Poje (CAN/seasons best 175.73 points) and Anna Cappellini/Luca Lanotte (ITA/seasons best 168.49) all have a shot at the podium. All couples have competed in the Final before.

ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final
24 skaters/couples from five ISU members have qualified for the ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final. Six skaters/couples qualified in the seven events of the ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating in Latvia, Mexico, Belarus, Slovakia, Poland, Czech Republic and Estonia.

The prize money made available by the ISU is 105,000 USD $. The prize money is awarded to winners and placed skaters/couples as follows:
Junior Men and Ladies                                  Junior Pairs and Dance (per couple)
1st place USD $ 6,000                                   1st place USD $ 9,000
2nd place USD $ 5,000                                   2nd place USD $ 7,500
3rd place USD$ 4,000                                                3rd place USD$ 6,000
4th place USD$ 3,000                                                4th place USD$ 4,500
5th place USD$ 2,000                                                5th place USD$ 3,000
6th place USD$ 1,000                                                6th place USD$ 1,500

Nathan Chen (USA/seasons best 218.62 points), Keiji Tanaka (JPN/seasons best 210.02 points) and Boyang Jin (CHN/seasons best 210.85 points) are the top qualifiers in the Men’s after winning their two events. Adian Pitkeev (RUS), Alexander Petrov (RUS) and Ryuju Hino (JPN) have reached the Final as well. Chen and the two Russian skaters will compete in their first Final.

Evgenia Medvedeva (RUS/seasons best 179.96 points) and Polina Edmunds (USA/seasons best 171.21 points) lead the Ladies standings with two victories on the circuit. Alexandra Proklova (RUS), Maria Sotskova (RUS), Serafima Sakhanovich (RUS) and Angela Wang (USA) are the other qualifiers. All Ladies except for Wang advanced to the Final in their international junior debut season. Wang competed in the Final last year.

Xiaoyu Yu/Yang Jin (CHN/seasons best 173.58 points) are the only pair to have taken gold in two events. The Chinese couple as well as World Junior bronze medalists Lina Fedorova/Maxim Miroshkin (RUS), Junior Grand Prix Final silver medalists Vasilisa Davankova/Andrei Deputat (RUS) and Junior Grand Prix Final bronze medalists Maria Vigalova/Egor Zakroev (RUS) return to the Junior Final.  Kamilla Gainetdinova/Ivan Bich (RUS) as well as Evgenia Tarasova/Vladimir Morozov (RUS) qualified for the first time.

Anna Yanovskaya/Sergei Mozgov (RUS/seasons best/149.98 points) and Kaitlin Hawayek /Jean-Luc Baker (USA/seasons best 144.84 points) top the standings with two wins in the series, followed by Lorraine McNamara /Quinn Carpenter (USA), Betina Popova/Yuri Vlasenko (RUS), Alexandra Nazarova/Maxim Nikitin (UKR) and Rachel Parsons/Michael Parsons (USA). Only Yanovskaya/Mozgov have competed in the Final before in the past two seasons and were silver medalists once.

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