After two weeks in North America, the Grand Prix series travels across the Atlantic to Helsinki, Finland; where two Olympic champions make their way to the ice in search of another Grand Prix Championship.
Men – (Full Entries) This weekend marks the return of two-time Olympic Gold medalist Yuzuru Hanyu to action. After his much heralded victory in PyeongChang in February, he began his pre-season by winning the Autumn Classic International in Canada. He’s considered the overwhelming favorite, but he does have challengers. Russia’s Mikhail Kolyada found the podiun in last year’s GP Final, finishing 3rd. Korea’s Junhwan Cha looks to make the podium again coming off a 3rd place finish at Skate Canada last week. China’s Boyang Jin also makes his GP season debut and looks to regroup after missing out of the GP Final.
1. Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN)
2. Mikhail Kolyada (RUS)
3. Junhwan Cha (KOR)
Skaters to Watch: Michal Brezina (CZE), Keiji Tanaka (JPN), Alexei Bychenko (ISR), Alexei Krasnozhon (USA)
Ladies – (Full Entries) 2018 Olympic Gold medalist Alina Zagitova of Russia makes her GP season debut this week. She’s the favorite in this field and looks to capture her 2nd GP Final championship. Of Zagitova’s challengers, Kaori Sakamoto of Japan looks to be the closest in the field, coming off a 2nd place finish at Skate America. Teammate Rika Hongo makes a return to the GP stage, while Belgium’s Loena Hendrickx looks to bounce back after a disappointing withdrawal due to injury.
1. Alina Zagitova (RUS)
2. Kaori Sakamoto (JPN)
3. Loena Hendrickx (BEL)
Skaters to Watch: Viveca Lindfors (FIN), Angela Wang (USA), Emmi Peltonen (FIN)
Pairs – (Full Entries) A diminished, but ambitious field of teams look to score points towards the Grand Prix Final. At the top of the list is Natalia Zabiiako & Alexander Enbert of Russia, who have two 1st place finishes in Non-GP events, but their best GP finish has been 4th. Nicole Della Monica & Matteo Guarise of Italy is another team that looks at the podium. Their best GP finish was 3rd at last year’s Internationaux de France in Grenoble. North Korea could get their first Grand Prix podium in this event with Tae Ok Ryom & Ju Sik Kim. They surprised many with the country’s first appearance at the Olympics in Figure Skating and are making their GP debut.
1. Natalia Zabiiako & Alexander Enbert (RUS)
2. Nicole Della Monica & Matteo Guarise (ITA)
3. Tae Ok Ryom & Ju Sik Kim (PRK)
Teams to Watch: Deanna Stellato & Nathan Bartholomay (USA), Daria Pavliuchenko & Denis Khodykin (RUS)
Ice Dance – (Full Entries) Out of the four disciplines this weekend, this could be an open competition on who can outperform each other. Italy’s Charlene Guignard & Marco Fabbri could punch their ticket to the GP Final with a win this weekend. They finished 2nd at Skate America two weeks ago. Russia’s Alexandra Stepanova & Ivan Bukin make their GP season debut this weekend. Their best finish was 3rd twice last season. Americans Lorraine McNamara & Quinn Carpenter look for a better result after their 4th place finish at Skate America.
1. Charlene Guignard & Marco Fabbri (ITA)
2. Alexandra Stepanova & Ivan Bukin (RUS)
3. Lorraine McNamara & Quinn Carpenter (USA)
Teams to Watch: Christina Carreira & Anthony Ponomarenko (USA)
Last Week’s Results at Skate Canada
Men – 1/3
Ladies – 0/3
Pairs – 1/3
Ice Dance – 1/3