This week’s competition takes us to Sapporo, Japan; where skaters are preparing for the next phase of the Grand Prix circuit. This is also the first skating event in Japan since the disaster in March which cancelled the World Championships. Here are our picks.
Men – Daisuke Takahashi will look to improve his number 2 ranking in his home country and his third place showing at Skate Canada. His biggest competitor will be Tomas Verner of the Czech Republic, who is currently ranked ninth and competing in his first Grand Prix event. Watch for Brandon Mraz, who may try his newly certified quadruple Lutz.
1. Daisuke Takahashi (JPN)
2. Tomas Verner (CZE)
3. Samuel Contesti (ITA)
Women – Finland’s Kiira Korpi makes her Grand Prix season debut after recovering from injury all summer. She’s have lots of good competition from Japan’s Mao Asada and American Ashley Wagner. Watch for Akiko Suzuki to continue her great Grand Prix success after winning silver at Skate Canada last month.
1. Mao Asada (JPN)
2. Akiko Suzuki (JPN)
3. Kiira Korpi (FIN)
Pairs – Germany’s Savchenko & Szolkowy breezed through last month’s Skate America and will look to solidify their number one world ranking. Their main copetitor will be Russia’s Yuko Kavaguti and Alexander Smirnov, who easily took Cup of China last week. Other teams to look look for are Japan’s Narumi Takahashi & Mervin Tran and Americans Caydee Denney & John Coughlin, who placed fouth at Skate Canada.
1. Aliona Savchenko & Robin Szolkowy (GER)
2. Yuko Kavaguti & Alexander Smirnov (RUS)
3. Narumi Takahashi & Mervin Tran (JPN)
Dance – Without the top three dance teams in competition, Canada’s Kaitlyn Weaver & Andrew Poje stands to gain in Sapporo this weekend. But they’ll have to contend with Americans Maia & Alex Shibutani. Both are ranked fourth and fifth in the world standings. The third spot will be a toss-up between Japan’s Cathy & Chris Reed and Nelli Zhiganshina & Alexander Gazsi of Germany.
1. Maia & Alex Shibutani (USA)
2. Kaitlyn Weaver & Andrew Poje (CAN)
3. Cathy & Chris Reed (JPN)