The Grand Prix circut heads east with a weekend of skating in Bejing, China. Five of six competitions will be in the books by the end of this weekend and we’ll have a clearer picture of who will be in the Grand Prix Final next month.
Can China’s Boyang Jin recover from a tough skate at the beginning of the season?
Analysis: Canadian Patrick Chan continues to shine this season, having won at Skate Canada and now on the verge of another Grand Prix Final berth. A win this weekend will clinch it. He faces a couple of strong hometown favorites. China’s Boyang Jin is having a disappointing GP season thus far, having placed 5th at Skate America. A win might move him up the standings. Teammate Han Yan won this competition in 2013, but has struggled to regain his stature (10th at Skate Canada). Russia’s Maxim Kotvun won Cup of China in 2014 and is a threat to medal this weekend.
Skaters to Watch: There are a few skaters that missed the podium in their previous competitions and could squeeze in this weekend. American Max Aaron placed 5th at Rostelecom Cup two weeks ago. Michal Brezina of the Czech Republic had a 4th place finish at Skate Canada. Russia’s Sergei Voronov also finished 4th at Skate America in October. China’s Runqi Liu makes his debut in senior competition.
1. Patrick Chan (CAN)
2. Boyang Jin (CHN)
3. Maxim Kotvun (RUS)
China’s Zijun Li looks to make the podium this weekend.
Analysis: Eight skaters have a chance to top the podium this week in a highly competitive division. At the top of the list is American Ashley Wagner, who surprised everyone and won Skate America in October. She’ll have two Russian skaters to fend off for the top spot. Elena Radionova finished 2nd Rostelecom Cup two weeks ago. Teammate Liza Tuktamysheva just missed the podium at Skate Canada, but is a real threat to medal this weekend. China’s Zijun Li is the top local skater that could medal this weekend. She finished in 4th place at
Skaters to Watch: American Courtney Hicks has picked up some valuable international experience, and it has paid off with a 3rd place finish at Rostelecom Cup two weeks ago. She has an outside chance at the GP Final with a win this weekend. Canadian Kaetlyn Osmond faces her biggest challenge of the season, as she also guns for a place in the GP Final with her 2nd place finish at Skate Canada. Japan’s Mai Mihara surprised the judges in her first senior GP event at Skate America, finishing 3rd. Teammate Rika Hongo is also a contender, but had a tough GP debut with a 6th place finish at Skate Canada.
1. Ashley Wagner (USA)
2. Elena Radionova (RUS)
3. Mai Mihara (JPN)
Russia’s Yuko Kavaguti and Alexander Smirnov hope to break up a Chinese sweep at the podium.
Analysis: Only eight pairs teams compete this weekend, three from China. At the top of the list is Xiaoyu Yu and Hao Zhang, who made their debut as a team and took 2nd at Skate Canada. A win could put them in the Grand Prix Final. Xuehan and Lei Wang have two 4th place finishes at Cup of China and could medal this weekend. The other team, Cheng Peng and Yang Jin are making their senior debuts this weekend. Of the teams that could break a possible sweep are Russia’s Yuko Kavaguti and Alexander Smirnov, who have won this competition in 2015. Their season got off to a rough start with a 5th place finish at Skate Canada.
Skaters to Watch: The other four teams are looking to improve their world rankings and possibly squeeze into a podium slot. Canada’s Lubov Iliushechkina and Dylan Moscovitch started their season with a strong performance at Skate Canada, finishing 3rd. Italy’s Nicole Della Monica and Matteo Guarise finished 6th at Skate Canada. Mari Vartmann and Ruben Blommaert finished 6th in China last year and are making their GP season debut this weekend. Jessica Pfund and Joshua Santillan have only one GP competition under their belt, an 8th place finish at last year’s Skate America.
1. Xiaoyu Yu and Hao Zhang (CHN)
2. Yuko Kavaguti and Alexander Smirnov (RUS)
3. Xuehan and Lei Wang (CHN)
Canadians Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje looks to get back their winnings ways this weekend in Bejing.
Analysis: This could be a real treat, with two of the three top teams competing this weekend. Maia and Alex Shibutani are still flying high after continuing their winning ways, placing 1st at Skate America. A win this weekend will punch their ticket to the GP Final. Canadians Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje stand in their way of perfection. They lost for the first time in Grand Prix competition since 2013 with a 3rd place finish at Skate Canada. Russia’s Alexandra Stepanova and Ivan Bukin are currently ranked 10th by the ISU, but a 5th place finish at Skate Canada threatens to put them out of the top 10. Teammates Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov make their season debuts this weekend and are a strong contender to medal. They have 2nd and 3rd place finishes at last year’s Grand Prix competitions. (Skate America and Rostelecom Cup).
Skaters to Watch: Two teams could make a move up the ISU standings this weekend. Americans Anastasia Cannuscio and Colin McManus are prepping for a run at US Nationals and a good performance this weekend could benefit them with the judges in their season debut. Canada’s Alexandra Paul and Mitchell Islam could fall victims to the numbers game at Nationals, but a strong showing will also help them at Canadian Nationals. They have an 8th place finish at Skate Canada last month. China has three teams participating, two of which, lacking international experience. Their best chance to medal is with Shiyue Wand and Xinyu Liu, but they have a 9th place finish at Skate Canada this season and finished 6th twice in this event.
1. Maia and Alex Shibutani (USA)
2. Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje (CAN)
3. Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov (RUS)