It’s like Christmas morning when the Grand Prix assignments are announced- it gives us fans *much* to talk about, just at the time when the off season is starting to feel long. The announcement finally makes it feel like a new year, and I know I’m not the only one who was repeatedly refreshing the ISU page for the postings to go up : ) I will discuss each discipline in a later post, but here are my overall impressions:
Voloshozhar/Trankov had already announced they wouldn’t do the Grand Prix, so this wasn’t surprising, but I still wonder at the decision. Having missed some events last season and taking a year off, I’m not sure that the pre-Olympic year is really the year to just show up at Europeans. They certainly have world-class clout, but I fear they’ll be outpaced quickly.
Reigning Olympic Champ Adelina Sotnikova is not on the GP roster. Last year, she did not receive an assignment initially, but was added later to Rostelecom Cup. There is no such spot available this year. I’m guessing she’s done, though I’ve seen no official confirmation of that.
I was a bit surprised to see Alena Leonova’s name on the women's roster (twice!). It was a rocky year last year that showcased little promise for her career. I have a feeling if there were more Russian juniors eligible to come up to seniors, her name may not have been on the list.
Sui/Han are assigned to Skate America, despite Sui having a major foot surgery shortly after Worlds. I certainly *want* to see them that early in the season, but I doubt if they’ll have time to be fully healthy. It wouldn’t surprise me if they withdraw and just compete at their home event--but--it also wouldn’t surprise me if they didn’t, considering how long she reportedly competed while injured. Wishing my favorite pair girl a healthy recovery!
I have to say, I thought Sergei Vornov would retire. But alas, I will see him at Skate America : )
Ashley V. Gracie, Season 4, starts earlier than expected, as both will compete at Skate America. While Russia and Japan often have their two biggest skaters compete at their host events, the U.S. has shied away from it in recent years. This was *the* big storyline of the announcement, and this will be one of the most anticipated events of the whole series.
Fans at Skate Canada will get to see Patrick Chan and Yuzuru Hanyu head-to-head again this year at Skate Canada. Both are looking for a comeback, but it will be interesting to see where each man’s preparation is at that early in the year.
Now in their second year together, I am excited to see Savchenko/Massot go against Stolbova/Klimov at Rostelecom as it would be huge for the Germans to continue to beat a team like that. Most of the top pairs have fairly uncontested events, but Duhamel/Radford vs. Stolbova/Klimov could be interesting at NHK.
Most exciting at NHK, though, will be Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir’s matchup against two-time World Champions Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron. Now that they are training mates, this will be billed as a clash of the titans as one of the top teams from pre-2014 takes on the king and queen of post-2014.
I thought Castelli/Tran deserved a second assignment, though I’m hoping they get the Skate America TBD placement. Also in pairs at Skate America, I’m surprised Kayne/OShea got the event over a higher ranked Scimeca/Knierim. The path to the Final for either team is dubious, but Scimeca/Knierim ended up with much harder events as a result.
Not surprising, but telling, is that Weaver/Poje lost the Skate Canada placement to Virtue/Moir.
Chock/Bates not only lost Skate America to the Shibutanis but they have to compete at back-to-back events early in the series (Skate Canada and Rostelecom).
Javier Fernandez also has to compete back-to-back, which just surprises me that they’d set it up that way- exhausting!
That’s all I will comment on for now, so look for more in depth posts from each discipline later next week. 2016-17 season, here we come!
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Reviews, predictions and opinions in the magical, sparkly and dramatic field of figure skating.