Stop no. 2 for the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating is in Laval, Quebec, Canada for the Skate Canada International, with strong – but thin – fields in all four events. The expected stars:
∙ Kazuki Tomono (JPN) ~ Fifth at the 2018 World Championships
∙ Shoma Uno (JPN) ~ 2018 Olympic silver medalist and 2017-18 Worlds silver winner
∙ Jason Brown (USA) ~ Forth at the 2015 Worlds; sixth at the 2018 U.S. Nationals
∙ Wakaba Higuchi (JPN) ~ 2018 World Championships silver medalist
∙ Evgenia Medvedeva (RUS) ~ 2016-17 World Champion; 2018 Olympic silver medalist
∙ Starr Andrews (USA) ~ 10th at Skate America last week
∙ Mariah Bell (USA) ~ 12th at the 2017 and 2018 Worlds; 2017 U.S. Nationals bronze winner
∙ Kirsten Moore-Towers/Michael Marinaro (CAN) ~ 2018 Olympic 11th; 2018 Worlds 6th
∙ Vanessa James/Morgan Cipres (FRA) ~ 2018 Olympic 5th; 2018 Worlds bronze medalists
∙ Haven Denney/Brandon Frazier (USA) ~ 2017 U.S. Champions, second in 2015
∙ Piper Gilles/Paul Poirier (CAN) ~ 2018 Olympic 8th; 2018 World Championships 6th
∙ Anastasia Skoptcova/Kirill Aleshin (RUS) ~ 2018 World Junior Champions
∙ Madison Hubbell/Zachary Donohue (USA) ~ Skate America winners; fourth at PyeongChang 2018; World Championships silver medalists in 2018
Uno, Brown and Alexander Samarin (RUS) went 1-2-3 last year in Regina in the men’s Singles, and the American dance pair of Hubbell and Donohue have finished third in this event three times, in 2013-14-17, but look to break through this year. Canada’s Gilles and Poirier were third in 2016.
But much of the attention will be on the 18-year-old Medvedeva (pictured above), the 2016 and 2017 World Champion and early favorite for PyeongChang. But after recovering from a right foot injury, she fell to second place to fellow Russian Alina Zagitova at the European Championships and won “only” silver in PyeongChang. So, she packed up and left for Toronto, to train with the famed coaching duo of Brian Orser and Tracy Wilson. She won Skate Canada in 2016, but this is her second competition under her new coaching team, as she finished second to American Bradie Tennell in the ISU Challenger Series Autumn Classic International in September in Oakville, Ontario (CAN).
Prize money is as usual in the Grand Prix: $18,000-13,000-9,000-3,000-2,000 U.S. for the top five placers, in both the individual and team events.
NBC will have a summary show on Skate Canada on Sunday from 4-6 p.m. Eastern time. Look for results here.