The final Grand Prix event of the season takes place in the beautiful city of Marseilles, France. The top 6 skaters in each division will skate for bragging rights going into national competitions. Up to now, the top skaters haven’t met up in competition until now, making this weekend all the more exciting.
Men – Reigning World Champion Javier Fernandez of Spain and three-time World Champion Canadian Patrick Chan lead the charge, finishing 1st in each of their respective competitions. lead the Grand Prix standings with two victories on the circuit. Fernandez achieved a seasons best of 292.98 points at Rostelecom Cup while Chan has 279.72 points from Cup of China. Last year’s champ, Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan has struggled this GP season, but was able to finish with a strong showing at NHK Trophy. It will be a tough go for him, if he is to defend his crown. Japan’s Shoma Uno is back to the Final after winning Skate America and a 2nd place finish at Rostelecom Cup. Americans Nathan Chen and Adam Rippon each qualified for their first Final (senior level) and are looking to improve moving into nationals next month.
1. Javier Fernandez (ESP)
2. Patrick Chan (CAN)
3. Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN)
Ladies – Russian ladies have dominated the Grand Prix circuit and are in a good position to sweep the podium this weekend. They have four skaters representing the country this weekend. Reigning World and ISU Grand Prix Final Champion Evgenia Medvedeva tops the Ladies standings and comes in with a seasons best of 221.54 points from Trophee de France to Marseille. She’s still undefeated since last year’s Russian Nationals. Anna Pogorilaya returns to the Final after missing out last season. She dominated the competitions, winning Rostelecom Cup and NHK Trophy. Elena Radionova will compete in her fourth consecutive Final, after winning Cup of China and a 2nd place finish at Rostelecom Cup. World Junior silver medalist Maria Sotskova had a successful senior GP debut, qualifying for the Final with 2nd and 3rd place showings this season. The two skaters looking to break the Russian log jam are very worthy of winning. Kaetlyn Osmond became the first Canadian to make the GP Final since Joannie Rochette. Two 2nd place finishes gives her a fighting chance. Japan’s Satoko Miyahara qualified among a tough field and finished 2nd in last year’s Grand Prix Final.
1. Evgenia Medvedeva (RUS)
2. Anna Pogorilaya (RUS)
3. Elena Radionova (RUS)
Pairs – Two-time reigning World Champions Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford of Canada had a rough go of it this Grand Prix season. But they hung tough and were able to lead in Pairs. Their main competition are from two Chinese teams.
Xiaoyu Yu and Hao Zhang had a successful GP season, despite teaming up in two competitions together. Cheng Peng and Yang Jin return to the Final after switching partners in between them. They have two 2nd place finishes this season. Canadians Julianne Seguin and Charlie Bilodeau return to the GP Final after winning Skate America. Russia’s Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov reached their first Grand Prix Final with 2nd and 3rd place finishes. One team not performing this weekend are Germany’s Aliona Savchenko and Bruno Massot, who withdrew due to injury. They’ll be replaced by Russia’s Natalia Zabiiako and Alexander Enbert, who had a 2nd place finish in Moscow and a 4th place finish at Trophee de France in Paris.
1. Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford (CAN)
2. Xiaoyu Yu and Hao Zhang (CHN)
3. Cheng Peng and Yang Jin (CHN)
Ice Dance –
The most anticipated Ice Dance event since the 2014 Olympics features the return of Canadians Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir. After a two year break, they picked up right where they started, winning Skate Canada and NHK Trophy. Two-time World Champions Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France have their work cut out for them. They missed last year’s final due to injury, but are back, winning Trophee de France and finishing 2nd to Virtue and Moir in Sapporo. Americans Maia and Alex Shibutani continue their upward trajectory in Ice Dance, winning Skate America and Cup of China. Russia’s Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev have proven to be a tough out for a podium slot and will contend after a win this GP season (Rostelecom Cup). Americans have an outside chance of a podium sweep, but highly unlikely. Madison Chock and Evan Bates have fallen off slightly, but still have come in 2nd in four consecutive Grand Prix competions. Madison Hubell and Zachary Donohue have come on strong this season, also finishing 2nd in two GP events. They finished 6th in last year Final.
1. Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir (CAN)
2. Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron (FRA)
3. Maia and Alex Shibutani (USA)
And here are our picks for the Junior Grand Prix Gold Medalists this weekend.
Men – Alexander Samarin (RUS)
Ladies – Polina Tsurskaya (RUS)
Pairs – Anastasia Mishina and Vladislav Mirozoev (RUS)
Ice Dance – Lorraine McNamara and Quinn Carpenter (USA)