The ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating culminate this week with the Finals in Nagoya (JPN). The event features the top six skaters/couples in each category.
36 skaters/couples from eight ISU members will compete in the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final. Six skaters/couples in each category qualified from the six events of the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series: Rostelecom Cup in Moscow (RUS), Skate Canada International in Regina, Audi Cup of China in Beijing, NHK Trophy in Osaka, Internationaux de France de Patinage in Grenoble and Bridgestone Skate America in Lake Placid.
Overview of the participants
Nathan Chen (USA) is the top qualifier in the Men’s category. He won his two events – Rostelecom Cup and Bridgestone Skate America and comes with a season’s best of 293.79 points to Nagoya. He has to expect a stiff challenge from Nagoya native Shoma Uno (JPN), who has a gold and a silver medal from his two events and tops the season’s best list with 319.84 points achieved at Lombardia Trophy. Mikhail Kolyada (RUS/season’s best 279.38 points) qualified for his first Grand Prix Final with a gold and a bronze medal. Sergei Voronov (RUS/271.12) and Adam Rippon (USA/266.45) return to the Final. Jason Brown (USA/261.14) will compete in his first Final replacing Boyang
Jin (CHN) who has withdrawn due to injury.
One year ago, World Junior Champion Alina Zagitova (RUS) won the ISU Junior Grand Prix Final in her debut on the international circuit. This year she qualified with two gold medals on the circuit for her first senior-level Final. Zagitova scored a season’s best of 218.46 points. World silver medalist Kaetlyn Osmond (CAN) earned her spot in Nagoya with a gold and a bronze medal and has a season’s best of 217.55 points. 2012 World Champion Carolina Kostner (ITA/season’s best 215.98) returns to the Final after not competing on the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating for three seasons. Maria Sotskova (RUS/208.78) will compete in her second senior-level Final while Wakaba Higuchi (JPN/217.63) will debut in the (senior) Final. Defending ISU Grand Prix Final silver medalist Satoko Miyahara (JPN/214.03) came in as a substitute for two-time World Champion Evgenia Medvedeva (RUS), who is recovering from injury.
In Pairs, reigning World Champions Wenjing Sui/Cong Han (CHN) and European Champions Evgenia Tarasova/Vladimir Morozov (RUS) lead the standings after striking gold in their two events. Sui/Han did not compete on the Grand Prix circuit last season, but dominated this year and have the highest season’s best total score so far with 234.53 points. Tarasova/Morozov are the defending ISU Grand Prix Final Champions and come with a season’s best of 224.25 points to Japan. Current World silver medalists Aljona Savchenko/Bruno Massot (GER/season’s best 223.13 points) will compete in their first Final as a team. They had qualified last year, but had to withdraw due to injury. The two-time World Champions Meagan Duhamel/Eric Radford (CAN/222.22) are back at the Final along with Xiaoyu Yu/Hao Zhang (CHN/219.20) and 2014 Olympic silver medalists Ksenia Stolbova/Fedor Klimov (RUS/222.74).
In the Ice Dance event, reigning World Champions Tessa Virtue/Scott Moir (CAN) and World silver medalists Gabriella Papadakis/Guillaume Cizeron (FRA) will face each other for the first time this season. Both couples won their two Grand Prix events clearly. The French became the first ice dancers to break 200 points and have a season’s best of 201.98 points while the Canadians scored a season’s best of 199.86 points. World bronze medalists Maia Shibutani/Alex Shibutani (USA/season’s best 194.25) won their two events as well and look to challenge the leaders. Madison Chock/Evan Bates (USA/season’s best 184.50), Madison Hubbell/ Zachary Donohue (USA/189.43) and 2014 World Champions Anna Cappellini/Luca Lanotte (ITA/season’s best 186.56) complete a deep field of ice dancers in Nagoya.