We’re still trying to get used to the fact that this year’s Grand Prix Final will not have Yuzuru Hanyu, Patrick Chan, and Javier Fernandez. Hanyu is injured, Chan withdrew from NHK Trophy to focus on Canadian Nationals, and Fernandez placed sixth at Cup of China. Now that we’ve reached the second-to-the-last Grand Prix competition, it’s still difficult to tell what’s going to happen from hereon.
It looks like it will be the battle between two teams in Grenoble—Evgenia Tarasova / Vladimir Morozov, who won the Rostelecom Cup, and Vanessa James / Morgan Cipres, who won bronze in Skate Canada. Two teams are up for a third spot on the podium, and consistency will remain the biggest factor on who wins a medal. We’ve never been so excited over what’s going to happen.
There is going to be quite a bloodbath in this competition as two gold medalists from previous Grand Prix competitions go head to head, while at least three other girls battle it out for the last spot on the podium here in France. Everyone wants to go to Nagoya for the Final, but only a few lucky girls can punch in their tickets for the last four spots.
With the competition all wrapped up, I guess we can say that the ladies are still capable of surprising us. Some favorites rose to the occasion, while others faltered, making this an interesting competition to watch.
NHK Trophy certainly was full of drama before the actual competition even started. Defending Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN) had attempted a quad lutz in practice and injured his ankle in the process, forcing him to withdraw altogether. (We hope for his speedy recovery!)
With the top man on the road to recovery, podium predictions became more unexpected. Certainly no one expected Sergei Voronov (RUS) to be on top of the podium, with two more of the oldest men in the field by his side. But then again, this is the men’s event, where no one really knows what to expect.
This week’s competition in Osaka is one for the books. Wenjing Sui / Cong Han took the gold medal, and with a world-record-breaking performance to boot. Most of our favorites to be on the top five also delivered, making it one memorable competition for us.
The fourth Grand Prix competition is in Osaka, Japan, and we all know whose territory it is. Yuzuru Hanyu dominates the Grand Prix competition on home ice and is the heavy favorite to win NHK Trophy. Meanwhile, the American skaters trail behind the predicted podium finishers.