The ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating 2014/2015 continues this week with the Lexus Cup of China, the third of six events in the series, in Shanghai. Several top skaters are making their season debut this week in China. The world's top figure skaters are competing for a prize money of US $ 180,000 per individual event of the Grand Prix and are collecting points towards the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final in Barcelona (ESP).
54 skaters/couples from 12 ISU Members are scheduled to compete at the Lexus Cup of China. The event is headlined by Olympic Champion Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN) and Ice Dance World Champions Anna Cappellini/Luca Lanotte (ITA).
Olympic Champion Hanyu leads the Men. Hanyu is competing in his first event this season. Competition should come from defending Cup of China Champion Han Yan (CHN) and ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Finalist Maxim Kovtun (RUS). 2014 World Junior Champion Nam Nguyen (CAN) won the bronze medal at Hilton HHonors Skate America two weeks ago and is aiming at another podium finish here in Shanghai. Other competitors include Richard Dornbush (USA), Keiji Tanaka (JPN) and Misha Ge (UZB).
World Champions Cappellini/Lanotte debut this season in competition in China. They need to watch out for Maia Shibutani/Alex Shibutani (USA), who won the silver medal two weeks ago at Skate America and want to secure their spot in the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final. Other challengers are Alexandra Paul/Mitchell Islam (CAN), Gabriella Papadaki/Guillaume Cizeron (FRA) and the newly formed couple Elena Ilinykh/Ruslan Zhiganshin (RUS).
In the Ladies event, World silver medalist Julia Lipnitskaia (RUS) will face her teammate Elizaveta Tuktamysheva as well as 2014 Four Continents Champion Kanako Murakami and 2014 Four Continents bronze medalist Zijun Li (CHN). Tuktamysheva was a silver medalist at Skate America and wants to book her ticket to Barcelona. Other contenders include Gabrielle Daleman (CAN), Polina Edmunds (USA) and Christina Gao (USA).
The Pairs event looks wide open. ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Finalists Cheng Peng/Hao Zhang (CHN) want to improve on their bronze medal finish from Skate America two weeks ago to qualify for the Final again. World Junior Champions Xiaoyu Yu/Yang Jin (CHN) are hoping for their first senior Grand Prix medal. Nicole Della Monica/Matteo Guarise (ITA), Vera Bazarova/ Andrei Deputat (RUS) and Jessica Calalang/Zack Sidhu (USA) have a shot at the podium as well.
For full entry lists and results of the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating 2014/15 please refer to www.isu.org/en/single-and-pair-skating-and-ice-dance/series/isu-grand-prix-of-figure-skating.
The schedule of Lexus Cup of China is as follows:
Friday, November 7: Short Dance, Ladies, Men's, Pairs Short Program
Saturday, November 8: Free Dance, Ladies, Men's, Pairs Free Skating
Sunday, November 9: Exhibition Gala