The Grand Prix series makes it fourth stop in Bordeaux, France; where we may see more qualifiers for the Grand Prix Final. A few skaters look to rebound from disappointing performance. Here are our picks.
Analysis – Canada’s Patrick Chan continues on the comeback trail in Bordeaux this weekend. Fresh off his win at Skate Canada, he has another challenge coming his way with American Max Aaron, who won at Skate America last month. He’s aiming for another podium finish and a spot at the Grand Prix Final. Japan’s Daisuke Murakami had a third place finish at Skate Canada and will look to improve his performance. His fellow countryman, Shoma Uno had a strong showing at Skate America, finishing second. A win this weekend will put him into the GP Final. Kazakhstan’s Denis Ten was expected to contend at Skate America, but faltered, finishing a disappointing 9th. He’s still a threat to make the podium.
Skaters to Watch – Russia’s Maxim Kovtun make his GP season debut this weekend. He captured the Mordovian Ornament Competition two months ago. French skaters Chafik Besseghier and Romain Ponsart aren’t expected to contend this weekend, but will give the crowd a cheer.
- Patrick Chan (CAN)
- Max Aaron (USA)
- Daisuke Murakami (JPN)
Analysis – Lots of competition this weekend from four top contending skaters. Russia’s reigning World Champion Elizaveta Tuktamysheva made a huge comeback after a disastrous short program, capturing 2nd at Skate Canada. She can punch her ticket to Barcelona with a strong showing this weekend. Her main competitors are American Gracie Gold who won silver at Skate America last month. Japan’s Kanako Murakami finished a disappointing 4th at Skate Canada and will look for the podium. Olympic Champion Julia Lipnitskaia of Russia had a mixed back in her return to the ice, finishing 6th at Skate America.
Skaters to Watch – A couple of wild cards to look at this weekend. Other contenders include Canada’s Gabby Daleman improved in her free skate at Skate Canada and finished 5th. Mae Berenice Meite of France makes her GP season debut. Last year, she finished 5th and will look to do better.
- Elizaveta Tuktamysheva (RUS)
- Gracie Gold (USA)
- Kanako Murakami (JPN)
Analysis – Olympic Champions Tatiana Volosozhar & Maxim Trankov of Russia return to the Grand Prix circuit after sitting out the past season due to injury. In a pre-GP event, they captured gold at the Nebelhorn Trophy. They’ll face up and coming teammates and Skate Canada silver medalists Evgenia Tarasova & Vladimir Morozov. This could be a preview of Russian Nationals. China’s Cheng Peng & Hao Zhang competes in their first Grand Prix event of the season. Last year, they finished 4th at the Grand Prix Final. Canadians Julianne Seguin & Charlie Bilodeau hope to follow up on their bronze medal from Skate America with a strong showing in Bordeaux.
Skaters to Watch – Last weekend, Americans Marissa Castelli & Mervin Tran fared well in their senior GP debut at Skate Canada last month, finishing 4th. Vanessa James & Morgan Cipres of France make their GP season debut this weekend. They competed at Nebelhorn Trophy and took 3rd.
- Tatiana Volosozhar & Maxim Trankov (RUS)
- Evgenia Tarasova & Vladimir Morozov (RUS)
- Julianne Seguin & Charlie Bilodeau (CAN)
Analysis – The big story this weekend is the withdrawal of reigning world champions, Gabriella Papadakis & Guillaume Cizeron of France. Papadakis is still recovering from a terrible head injury sustained in practice earlier this year. That blows the field wide open, with only seven teams competing. The favorites are Canadians Piper Gillies & Paul Poirier, who had a strong showing at Skate America, finishing 3rd. Americans Madison Hubbell & Zachary Donohue make their season debut this weekend. Last year, they 3rd in this same event. Penny Coomes & Nicholas Buckland of Great Britain also make their debut. They competed at Nepela Trophy, finishing 2nd. 2015 European bronze medalists Alexandra Stepanova & Ivan Bukin also figure to contend.
Skaters to Watch – Anna Yanovskaya & Sergey Mozgov of Russia captured the 2015 World Junior Championship and will be making their second GP start. Their last event was a 6th place finish at Skate America. Alisa Agafonova & Alper Ucar of Turkey make their GP debut this weekend.
- Piper Gillies & Paul Poirier (CAN)
- Madison Hubbell & Zachary Donohue (USA)
- Alexandra Stepanova & Ivan Bukin (RUS)