The third leg of the Grand Prix season takes us to Shanghai, where the 2011 Cup of China takes place this weekend. Here are our picks.
Men – Ranked 9th in the world, American Jeremy Abbott will take on Russian Artur Gachinski, who is ranked 6th and 5th ranked skater, Nobunari Oda of Japan for the top spot. Look for fellow Japanese skater Yuzuru Hanyu to contend. China, who is not traditionally great in men’s singles, will look to Nan Song to represent the country.
1. Nobunari Oda (JPN)
2. Jeremy Abbott (USA)
3. Artur Gachinski (RUS)
Ladies – Fresh off Skate America, Italy’s Carolina Kostner will look to improve on her second place finish a few weeks ago. She’ll get competition from American Mirai Nagasu, who also just competed in last week’s Skate Canada, finishing 5th. The other notable is Japan’s Kanako Murakami, who is ranked 9th in the World. Watch for American Christina Gao who competes in her first Senior Grand Prix event.
1. Carolina Kostner (ITA)
2. Mirai Nagasu (USA)
3. Kanako Murakami (JPN)
Pairs – This stands to be a tough competition for teams other than the Chinese. The strong pairs skater teams of Wenjing Sui & Cong Han, Dan & Hao Zhang and Xiaoyu Yu & Yang Jin may see a clean sweep on the podium. The one team that may beat al three are Canadians Kirsten Moore-Towers & Dylan Moscovitch, who finished strong at Skate America, finishing third. Look for Amanda Evora & Mark Ladwig to gain more experience.
1. Wenjing Sui & Cong Han (CHN)
2. Dan & Hao Zhang (CHN)
3. Kirsten Moore-Towers & Dylan Moscovitch (CAN)
Dance – Last year, the brother/sister team of Maia & Alex Shibutani surprised many with their strong showing at the Four Continents Championships and the World Championships. Can they continue the magic, as they try to capture Gold this Grand Prix season? Their main competitors are Ekaterina Bobrova & Dmitri Soloviev of Russia and China’s Xiaoyang Yu & Chen Wang. Watch for Americans Emily Samuelson & Todd Gillies, who skate their first competition after ditching their former partners.
1. Maia & Alex Shibutani (USA)
2. Bobrova & Dmitri Soloviev (RUS)
3. Xiaoyang Yu & Chen Wang (CHN)