Smooth’s Podium Picks 2022 – MK John Wilson Trophy


It’s hard to believe that a country rich in figure skating tradition, from John Curry to legendary ice dancers, Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean, has never hosted a senior Grand Prix event. That all ends this week, as Sheffield makes that dream a reality. Thanks to an opening in the schedule, the ISU brings it all together. Great Britain will have three singles skaters and one team in each division participating.

morisi-kvitelashviliMen: Georgia’s Morisi Kvitelashvili makes his 2022-23 Grand Prix season debut this weekend. He’s the odds-on favorite in the men’s division, having just missed the podium at last year’s world championships and a gold medal win at Rostelecom Cup in 2021. Lots of competition heads his way, with Italy’s Daniel Grassl standing in his way for gold. Grassl missed a spot on the podium at Skate America in October. Latvia’s Deniss Vasiljevs also is a contender despite a poor showing at Skate Canada, where he finished 10th. Japan’s Shun Sato competes for the second week in a row and looks to gain position for the Grand Prix Final. He finished 2nd at the Internationaux de France last weekend.

Skaters to Watch: Canada’s Roman Sadovsky had a 5th place finish at Skate America and can pull a spoiler with a good showing. American’s Jimmy Ma and Tomoki Hiwatashi each can do the same. Great Britain has two entries in the men’s competition in Edward Appleby and Graham Newberry. Both make their senior Grand Prix debuts.


Smooth’s Picks
1. Morisi Kvitelashvili (GEO)
2. Daniel Grassl (ITA)
3. Shun Sato (JPN)


Women: American Isabeau Levito leads a 12-skater field of ladies. She almost pulled off the upset at Skate America, finishing 2nd in only her third senior international competition and her first senior Grand Prix. Japan’s Mai Mihara comes into Sheffield at the healthiest she’s been since 2020. Injuries affected her performances, having finished 4th twice in Grand Prix action in 2021. South Korea’s You Young skated to a 3rd place finish at Skate Canada last month and is a contender for the top spot. American Gabby Izzo skates in her 1st senior Grand Prix event and has shown lots of promise in the Challenger Series, having finished 3rd at the US International Classic in 2021.

Skaters to Watch: American Bradie Tennell had to make the heartbreaking decision to pull out of last year’s US Nationals due to injury. In fact, he’s been dealing with injuries since 2020. But she makes her triumphant return to the ice this weekend. Her best finish was at Skate America, where she finished 2nd twice in 2019 and 2020. Canada’s Gabby Daleman was well on her way to a podium spot at Skate Canada, when she suffered a disastrous free skate which dropped her from 2nd to 10th. Great Britain’s entry is Natasha McKay, who is a 5-time national champion and is making her senior Grand Prix debut.


Smooth’s Picks
1. Isabeau Levito (USA)
2. Mai Mihara (JPN)
3. You Young (KOR)

Knierim_Frazier_021922_1440x810_UpdatedWorldsPairs: Only seven teams will compete this weekend, with Americans Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frasier the heavy favorites. The defending World pairs champs, cruised to victory at Skate America in October. They face a challenge from two teams this weekend. Italy’s Sara Conti and Noccolo Macii skated to their first senior Grand Prix podium, a 3rd place finish at Skate Canada. Germany’s Letizia Roscher and Luis Schuster had a very good short program at Skate America, but errors in the free skate dropped them from 3rd to 7th place. Americans Katie McBeath and Nathan Bartholomay make their Grand Prix debut this weekend. The team looks to improve on their 5th place showing at nationals.


Smooth’s Picks
1. Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frasier (USA)
2. Sara Conti and Noccolo Macii (ITA)
3. Letizia Roscher and Luis Schuster (GER)

Lilah FEAR Lewis GIBSONIce Dance: This weekend’s ice dance shapes up to be an exciting competition, with the top to teams in the ISU standings squaring off. Italy’s Charlene Guignard and Marco Fabbri have been on a roll, having won at Grand Prix de France last weekend and look to make it two in a row. But the home country will have a large crowd presence with Lilah Fear and Lewis Gibson. The British team finished 2nd at Skate Canada, and a win will bring them closer to their first Grand Prix Final. Canada’s Marjorie Lajoie and Zachary Lagha put together their best performance in senior Grand Prix competition with a 3rd place finish at Skate Canada. Americans Oona and Gage Brown took home a World junior ice dance championship and finished 2nd at Nationals last season. Their first senior Grand Prix event will determine whether they are ready.

Teams to Watch: Canada has two young teams that could contend for position. Alicia Fabbri and Paul Ayer finished 7th at Canadian Nationals and will skate in their first senior Grand Prix event, while Haley Sales and Nikolas Wamsteeker have three Grand Prix appearances, all at Skate Canada with their best finish in 9th. Americans Christina Carreira and Anthony Ponomarenko hasn’t reached the podium in a Grand Prix event since 2020, when they finished 3rd.


Smooth’s Picks
1. Lilah Fear and Lewis Gibson (GBR) * This is my upset special! *
2. Charlene Guignard and Marco Fabbri (ITA)
3. Marjorie Lajoie and Zachary Lagha (CAN)

Last Week’s Results

Men: 0/3 – All skaters picked were on the podium but in different slots.
Women: 1/3 – Correctly picked the “Birthday Girl” for the win.
Pairs: 1/3 – Stellato-Dudek becomes the oldest Grand Prix medalsist.
Ice Dance: 2/3 – Two out of three ain’t bad, especially the top two.

Season to Date

Men: 3/9
Women: 2/9
Pairs: 4/9
Ice Dance: 7/9


About smoothjazzandmore

I'm a TV producer and an Internet radio broadcaster. I also write for my blogs (An Op-Ed Blog and a Football Blog) here at WordPress.
This entry was posted in Figure Skating, Figures skating, Grand Prix, Great Britain, Ice Skating, International Skating Union, Predictions, Skating and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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