Regina / CAN

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 Reigning World Champions Tessa Virtue/Scott Moir (CAN), World silver medalist Shoma Uno (JPN) and other top skaters will compete this week at Skate Canada International in Regina (CAN), the second event of the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating series 2017/18.

Overview of the top contenders

Uno set new personal best scores at Lombardia Trophy in Italy this September and looks ready to start into the Grand Prix. Three-time World Champion Patrick Chan (CAN) will challenge the Japanese star on home ice. Jason Brown (USA), Takahito Mura (JPN) and Michal Brezina (CZE) are in the mix as well. Other competitors include Jun Hwan Cha (KOR), Jorik Hendrickx (BEL) and World Junior bronze medalist Alexander Samarin (RUS), who debuts on the senior Grand Prix circuit.

World silver medalist Kaetlyn Osmond (CAN) is the top-seeded lady. She has to expect strong competition from 2017 European silver medalist Anna Pogorilaya (RUS), 2017 World Junior silver medalist Marin Honda (JPN), 2016 World silver medalist Ashley Wagner (USA) and ISU Grand Prix Finalist Maria Sotskova (RUS). Also competing are U.S. Champion Karen Chen and Rika Hongo (JPN).

Two-time World Champions Meagan Duhamel/Eric Radford (CAN) lead the Pairs and will face World silver medalists Aliona Savchenko/Bruno Massot (GER) as well as 2017 Four Continents bronze medalists Liubov Ilyushechkina/Dylan Moscovitch (CAN) as well as 2017 European bronze medalists Vanessa James/Morgan Cipres (FRA). ISU Grand Prix Finalists Cheng Peng/Yang Jin (CHN) and Natalia Zabiiako/Alexander Enbert (RUS) hope for a podium finish as well.

Three-time and reigning World Champions Tessa Virtue/Scott Moir (CAN) lead the Ice Dance event and aim for their seventh Skate Canada title. “We had a great summer and a great fall and we’re just excited to get back in the Grand Prix season and kind of get the season going”, Moir said. “We love doing early season competitions like the Autumn Classics, but this is where the season really begins for us. It’s a big competition and we have to be on our A game. We’re super excited, but we know we have work to go. The season begins, let’s go. We can’t wait to see what happens here”, he added referring to Skate Canada International.

Competition should come from Kaitlyn Weaver/Andrew Poje (CAN) and 2014 Four Continents Champions Madison Hubbell/Zachary Donohue (USA). Other competitors include 2014 World Junior Champions Kaitlin Hawayek/Jean-Luc Baker (USA) and 2017 World Junior silver medalists Alla Loboda/Pavel Drozd (RUS). Loboda/Drozd debut at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating (senior level).

The schedule of Skate Canada International is as follows:

Friday, October 27: Ladies Short Program, Short Dance, Men and Pairs Short Program
Saturday, October 28: Ladies Free Skating, Free Dance, Men and Pairs Free Skating
Sunday, October 29: Exhibition Gala

The ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating series consists of six events and culminates in the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final in Nagoya (JPN) in December. The top six skaters/couples in each discipline qualify for the Final. The global prize money for the Grand Prix is US $ 272,000.

Full entry lists and results of the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating 2017/18 are available here. Follow the discussion on social media by using #GPFigure #FigureSkating.