This is the final competition of the skating season. Individual medals were awarded last month, and now we’ll see which country has the best overall skating in the world. This is the fourth time the World Team Trophy has been awarded. Six counties, consisting of Russia, USA, Japan, Canada, France, and China will send two Men, two Ladies, one Pair Skating couple and one Ice Dance couple (a total of eight skaters per team.)
2015 World Champion Elizaveta Tuktamysheva caps off an impressive season, in which, she has been virtually unstoppable in competition. She’s joined by 2015 World bronze medalist Elena Radionova, who thankfully will be on the same team instead of competing against her. 2015 European Champions Yuko Kavaguti & Alexander Smirnov (Captain) will compete in pairs, while 2015 European silver medalist Maxim Kovtun and European bronze medalist Sergei Voronov compete in men’s competition. 2015 Russian Ice Dance Champions Elena Ilinykh & Ruslan Zhiganshin round out the team.
Team USA is headlined by 2015 World silver medalists Madison Chock & Evan Bates (Captain). US ladies champion Ashley Wagner and US silver medalist Gracie Gold compete on the ladies side, while Jason Brown and Max Aaron compete for the men. US Champions Alexa Scimeca & Chris Knierim will compete in pairs.
The powerful World Pairs Champions Meagan Duhamel (Captain) & Eric Radford lead a strong Canadian team to Japan. 2015 World bronze medalists Kaitlyn Weaver & Andrew Poje will represent Canada in ice dance. Nam Nguyen & Jeremy Ten will skate for the men, while Gabrielle Daleman and Alaine Chartrand will skate for the ladies.
2014 Olympic Champion and reigning World silver medalist Yuzuru Hanyu leads a strong Japanese contingent. Team captain Takahito Mura will also skate in men’s. 2015 World silver medalist Satoko Miyahara will be joind by 2014 Four Continents Champion Kanako Murakami in ladies competition. Cathy & Chris Reed will skate in Ice Dance, while Ami Koga & Francis Boudreau Audet will tackle in pairs.
2015 World Ice Dance Champions Gabriella Papadakis (Captain) & Guillaume Cizeron pulled off the upset of the year and will give France a chance to win. Vanessa James & Morgan Cipres will compete in pairs. Florent Amodio & Romain Ponsart will compete for men’s, while Mae-Berenice Meite and Laurine Lecavelier skate in ladies competition.
2015 World pairs silver medalists Wenjing Sui & Cong Han (Captain) leads a strong Chinese squad this weekend. 2015 Four Continents bronze medalist Han Yan & Nan Song will take on a competitive men’s field. Shiyue Wang & Xinyu Liu will compete in ice dance, while Zijun Li & Ziquan Zhao will compete in the ladies event.
Analysis – The Russians are a strong favorite to win the crown this weekend, led by Tuktamysheva and Radionova. However the Americans are the two-time champions (2009 and 2013) and will have strong performances by Wagner, Gold, Chock & Bates. The Canadians will contend with the help of Duhamel & Radford and Weaver & Poje. Their biggest obstacle is the inexperience of Nguyen and Tam on the Senior circuit. Japan’s will have strong individual skater performances, but will need top three performances from their pairs and ice dance teams to contend. China and France will need the same results, but in reverse from their individual skaters.
2. United States