Grand Prix Series to feature Olympic championsSotnikova, Hanyu highlight talented field following Sochi Games
Following an exciting Olympic season, the International Skating Union has announced the field of skaters that will compete in the 2014 Grand Prix Series.
Russia's reigning Olympic gold medalists return to the circuit, with ladies champion Adelina Sotnikova and pairs champions Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov set to make appearances.
Sotnikova, who became Russia's first Olympic gold medalist in ladies figure skating, will lace up her skates at the Rostelecom Cup in Moscow and the NHK Trophy in Japan. Volosozhar and Trankov will look to build off their own Olympic success at Skate America and at the Cup of China.
Yuzuru Hanyu, who won Japan's first men's Olympic gold medal at the Sochi Winter Games, will compete at both the Cup of China and the NHK Trophy. In addition to taking the Olympic men's title last season, Hanyu also won gold at the 2014 World Figure Skating Championships.
Other Olympic medalists set to compete on the Grand Prix circuit are men's bronze medalist Denis Ten of Kazakhstan and pairs silver medalists Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov of Russia.
Following a season that saw Ten win Kazakhstan's first-ever Olympic figure skating medal, the 2013 world silver medalist earned two assignments: Skate America and Trophée Eric Bompard in Bordeaux, France. Stolbova and Klimov, who shocked the world with their runner-up finish in Sochi, will skate at the Rostelecom Cup and Trophée Bompard.
Notably absent from the list of assignments were three-time world champion Patrick Chan and 2010 Olympic ice dance champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, all from Canada. Those three have yet to make definitive public statements about their competitive futures.
Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov of Russia, the ice dance bronze medalists in Sochi, will each skate with new partners at the Rostelecom Cup after splitting up in April. Ilinykh will take the ice with Ruslan Zhiganshin and Katsalapov will debut with Victoria Sinitsina.
Other notes of interest:
- Former Canadian champion Kirsten Moore-Towers received two assignments (Skate Canada, Trophée Eric Bompard) with new partner Michael Marinaro.
- Three-time European medalist Vera Bazarova will skate with new partner Andrei Deputat at two events: the Cup of China and the NHK Trophy.
- Two-time world bronze medalists Yuko Kavaguti and Alexander Smirnov of Russia return to the ice with two assignments (Skate America, NHK) after missing all of last season due to injury.
- Former U.S. pairs skater Joshua Reagan will debut for Canada on the Grand Prix at Skate Canada with partner Britney Jones.
- World junior champion Nam Nguyen of Canada will make his Grand Prix debut at Skate America. He will also compete at the Cup of China.
- Eliška Březinová, younger sister of Czech skater Michal Březina, will debut on the Grand Prix at Trophée Bompard. Michal plans to compete at Skate Canada and Rostelecom Cup.
- U.S. skater Ashley Cain received her first Grand Prix assignment (Cup of China) as a singles skater. She competed at the 2011 Rostelecom Cup in pairs with then partner Joshua Reagan.