The ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating 2013/2014 continues this week with Skate Canada International, the second of six events, in Saint John, NB. In the Olympic season, the series features three reigning World champions as well as Olympic Champions and medalists, European Champions, Four Continents Champions, World, European and Four Continents medalists as well as all current World Junior Champions. The world's top figure skaters are competing for a prize money of US $ 180,000 per individual event of the Grand Prix.
51 skaters/couples from 9 ISU Members have been invited to Skate Canada. The event is headlined by three-time and reigning World Champion Patrick Chan (CAN) and Olympic Champions Tessa Virtue/Scott Moir (CAN).
In the Men's event, Chan will have to deal with a strong Japanese squad consisting of 2012 World bronze medalist Yuzuru Hanyu, Nobunari Oda and Takahito Mura. Jeremy Abott (USA) and reigning World Junior Champion Joshua Farris (USA) want to challenge the World Champion as well.
Virtue/Moir have to watch out for teammates Kaitlyn Weaver/Andrew Poje in the Ice Dance event. The bronze medal seems up for grabs for the other teams including World Junior Champions Alexandra Stepanova/Andrei Bukin (RUS), Nelli Zhiganshina/Alexander Gazsi (GER), Charlene Guignard/Marco Fabbri (ITA), Madison Hubbell/Zachary Donohue (USA).
With no clear top favorite, the Ladies competition is an open event that features several strong contenders. 2012 World Junior Champion Julia Lipnitskaia (RUS) might have the edge over her competitors after a strong start into the season earlier this month at Finlandia Trophy. Other top contenders include 2012 World bronze medalist Akiko Suzuki (JPN), 2012 Skate Canada Champion Kaetlyn Osmond (CAN), Gracie Gold (USA) and Christina Gao (USA).
Reigning World bronze medalists Meagan Duhamel/Eric Radford (CAN) lead the Pairs. The challenge should come from three-time World Junior Champions Wenjing Sui/Cong Han (CHN), 2013 World Junior Champions Haven Denney/Brandon Frazier (USA) and 2013 European bronze medalists Stefania Berton/Ondrej Hotarek (ITA).
For full entry lists and results of the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating 2013/14 please refer to www.isu.org.
The schedule of Skate Canada International is as follows:
Friday, October 25: Pairs, Ladies & Men's Short Program, Short Dance
Saturday, October 26: Pairs, Ladies & Men's Free Skating, Free Dance
Sunday, October 27: Exhibition Gala