FIGURE SKATING Preview: Chen and Zagitova headline Grand Prix Final

World Champion Nathan Chen of the U.S. (Photo: ISU)

The climax of the ISU Figure Skating Grand Prix comes this week with the Grand Prix Final in Vancouver (CAN), with senior and junior competitions. The senior schedule:

∙ 6 December: Men’s Short Program, Women’s Short Program
∙ 7 December: Men’s Free Skate, Pairs Short Program, Ice Dance Rhythm Dance
∙ 8 December: Women’s Free Skate, Pairs Free Skate, Ice Dance Free Dance

Only six skaters or duos qualified for the Grand Prix Final. The highest seasonal scores from the top entries include:

Men:
280.57 Nathan Chen (USA) at Skate America
278.25 Shoma Uno (JPN) at Skate Canada International
265.17 Keegan Messing (CAN) at Skate Canada International
259.78 Jun-Hwan Cha (KOR) at Autumn Classic Int’l
257.98 Michal Brezina (CZE) at Grand Prix Helsinki

Women:
238.43 Alina Zagitova (RUS) at Nebelhim Trophy
224.31 Rika Kihara (JPN) at NHK Trophy
219.71 Satoko Miyahara (JPN) at Skate America
219.02 Elizaveta Tuktamysheva (RUS) at NHK Trophy
213.90 Kaori Sakamoto (JPN) at Skate America

Pairs:
221.81 Vanessa James/Morgan Cipres (FRA) at Skate Canada International
220.25 Evgenia Tarasova/Vladimir Morozov (RUS) at Rostelecom Cup
214.14 Natalia Zabiiako/Alexander Enbert (RUS) at NHK Trophy
207.24 Cheng Peng/Yang Jin (CHN) at NHK Trophy
203.83 Nicole Della Monica/Matteo Guarise (ITA) at Rostelecom Cup

Ice Dance:
200.82 Madison Hubbell/Zachary Donohue (USA) at Skate America
200.78 Alexandra Stepanova/Ivan Bukin (RUS) at Finlandia Trophy Espoo
200.38 Victoria Sinistina/Nikita Katsalapov (RUS) at Internationaux de France
196.28 Charlene Guignard/Marco Fabbri (ITA) at Grand Prix Helsinki
184.63 Kaitlin Hawayek/Jean-Luc Baker (USA) at NHK Trophy

Japan’s 2018 Olympic champ Yuzuru Hanyu withdrew due to injury, leaving Chen – the 2018 World Champion – as the men’s favorite. Zagitova, the 2018 Olympic gold medalist, is a solid favorite among the women.

Defending champions returning include Chen (who finished ahead of Uno) and Zagitova. Tuktamysheva won this event in 2014 and Tarasova and Morozov won the Pairs title in 2016.

There is $272,000 in prize money available, with $25,000-18,000-12,000-6,000-4,000-3,000 available to the six placewinners.

NBCSN has live coverage on Friday at 11:30 p.m. Eastern time and taped coverage on Saturday at 11:30 p.m. Eastern. NBC has a highlights program on Sunday at 4 p.m. Eastern. Look for results here.

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