As the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating series continues with the fourth of six events in Grenoble, more skaters want to secure their spot in the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final.
A total of 58 skaters/couples from 15 ISU members compete in France.
Overview of the top contenders
World silver medalist Shoma Uno (JPN) enters his second Grand Prix this season and comes with a gold medal from Skate Canada and best chances to qualify for the Final to Grenoble. Competition should come from two-time World Champion Javier Fernandez (ESP), who is looking to improve on his sixth-place finish at Audi Cup of China and from Max Aaron (USA), who took a bronze medal in Beijing and has set his eyes on the podium again. Alexei Bychenko (ISR) comes fresh off NHK Trophy last week with a bronze medal. Other challengers include 2014 Olympic bronze medalist Denis Ten (KAZ), 2017 World Junior Champion Vincent Zhou (USA), Skate Canada bronze medalist Alexander Samarin (RUS) and Moris Kvitelashvili (GEO). Chafik Besseghier (FRA) has withdrawn as he is recovering from illness and has not been replaced.
Following her victory at Skate Canada, World silver medalist Kaetlyn Osmond (CAN) hopes for another gold medal here in Grenoble and for her ticket to the Final. She has to expect stiff competition from 2017 World Junior Champion Alina Zagitova (RUS), who took gold at Audi Cup of China, 2017 Four Continents Champion Mai Mihara (4th in China), Skate Canada silver medalist Maria Sotskova (RUS) and 2015 World Champion Elizaveta Tuktamysheva (RUS). Other contenders include Yuna Shiraiwa (JPN), Elizabet Tursynbaeva (KAZ) and Laurine Lecavelier (FRA).
European Champions Evgenia Tarasova/Vladimir Morozov (RUS) lead the Pairs and have to expect a challenge from European bronze medalists Vanessa James/Morgan Cipres (FRA). Tarasova/Morozov won Rostelecom Cup last month and have best chances to book their tickets for the Final while James/Cipres took a bronze medal at Skate Canada and need more here if they want to advance to the Final. Cheng Peng/Yang Jin (CHN), Liubov Ilyushechkina/Dylan Moscovitch (CAN) and Nicole Della Monica/Matteo Guarise (ITA) are aiming at the podium as well.
Two-time World Champions Gabriella Papadakis/Guillaume Cizeron (FRA) became the first ice dancers to break 200 points two weeks ago at Audi Cup of China and they are looking to do even better in Grenoble in front of a home crowd. Competition should come from Cup of China silver medalists Madison Chock/Evan Bates (USA), Skate Canada silver medalists Kaitlyn Weaver/Andrew Poje (CAN) and Rostelecom Cup bronze medalists Alexandra Stepanova/Ivan Bukin (RUS), who all are still hoping for a spot in the Final. Other contenders include Charlene Guignard/Marco Fabbri (ITA), 2017 World Junior silver medalists Alla Loboda/Pavel Drozd (RUS).
The schedule of Internationaux de France is as follows:
Friday, November 17: Ladies Short Program, Short Dance, Pairs and Men Short Programs
Saturday, November 18: Ladies Free Skating, Free Dance, Pairs and Men Free Skating
Sunday, November 19: 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.