The Sports Examiner

FIGURE SKATING Preview: OWG champs Hanyu and Zagitova on the ice in Helsinki

2018 Olympic Champion Alina Zagitova (Photo: ISU)

It’s hard to believe, but the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating has already reached the halfway mark with the Grand Prix in Helsinki (FIN). This week’s line-up is led by 2018 Olympic champions Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN) and Alina Zagitova (RUS). The top entries:

• Boyang Jin (CHN) ~ 2016-17 Worlds bronze; 4th at PyeongChang ‘18
• Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN) ~ 2014-18 Olympic gold medalist; 2014-17 World Champion
• Alexei Bychenko (ISR) ~ 4th at 2018 World Championships; 2016 European silver medalist
• Mikhail Kolyada (RUS) ~ 2018 Worlds bronze medalist; eighth in PyeongChang ‘18

• Kaori Sakamoto (JPN) ~ 2018 Four Continents winner; second at Skate America ‘18
• Alina Zagitova (RUS) ~ 2018 Olympic Champion; 2017 World Junior Champion
• Leona Hendrickx (BEL) ~ 9th at 2018 World Championships
• Hanul Kim (KOR) ~ 13th in PyeongChang ‘18; 15th at the 2018 World Championships

• Natalia Zabiiako/Alexander Enbert (RUS) ~ 7th in PyeongChang ‘18; 4th at Worlds ‘18
• Nicole Della Monica/Matteo Guarise (ITA) ~ 10th at PyeongChang ‘18; 5th at Worlds ‘18

Ice Dance:
• Charlene Guignard/Marco Fabbri (ITA) ~ 10th at PyeongChang ‘18; second at Skate America
• Alexandra Stepanova/Ivan Bukin (RUS) ~ 7th at the 2018 World Championships
• Christina Carreira/Anthony Ponomarenko (USA) ~ 3rd-2nd at World Juniors ‘17-18
• Lorraine McNamara/Quinn Carpenter (USA) ~ World Junior Champions 2016

This third leg of the ISU Grand Prix is normally held in China, but the Chinese deferred for this year and after the successful World Championships held in Helsinki in 2017, the Finns picked it up.

Hanyu, 23, and Zagitova, now 16, were the darlings of the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang (KOR). Hanyu overcame injuries that threatened to keep him out of the Games, while Zagitova came from the junior ranks to dazzle everyone and win the gold medal over two-time World Champion Evgenia Medvedeva (RUS).

Prize money is as usual for the Grand Prix: $18,000-13,000-9,000-3,000-2,000 for the top five place winners in all divisions.

NBC will have a highlights show of the Helsinki Grand Prix on Sunday, starting at 1 p.m. Eastern time. Look for results here.

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