Ice Network

Grand Prix Final hopefuls descend on Osaka, Japan

Team USA to send 10 athletes to NHK Trophy for final event of Grand Prix
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Yuzuru Hanyu will look to clinch a trip the the Grand Prix Final when he competes at the NHK Trophy in Osaka, Japan. -Getty Images

The sixth and final event of the Grand Prix Series will kick off this week with the NHK Trophy in Osaka, Japan.

Fifty-three entries will take part in the event, including Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu from Japan, world silver medalists Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje from Canada and world bronze medalists Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford. Team USA is set to have 10 athletes compete.

Icenetwork Season Pass subscribers will have access to live video from the competition. To become a Season Pass subscriber, go here.


Two spots in the Grand Prix Final are still up for grabs for the ladies. Japanese skaters Satoko Miyahara and Kanako Murakami each won bronze medals in their first Grand Prix events, as did team USA's Gracie Gold. Each will compete for a spot in Barcelona. Team USA's Polina Edmunds, who finished just off the podium at Cup of China, with a four-place finish, has a chance as well.

Russia's Alena Leonova will look to improve on her sixth-place finish at Skate Canada. Other challengers include Georgia's Elene Gedevanishvili, Canada's Gabrielle Daleman, China's Zijun Li and team USA's Christina Gao.


Having already won a silver medal at the Cup of China, Hanyu will look to secure his spot in Barcelona for the Grand Prix Final. Competition should come from teammate and Four Continents champion Takahito Mura, who took the gold medal at Skate Canada, and European silver medalist Sergei Voronov of Russia, who took silver at the Rostelecom Cup.

Three-time U.S. champion Jeremy Abbott will compete at the NHK Trophy for the fifth time in his career, having won bronze at the event last season. Abbott's teammate, Ross Miner, will also compete in what will be his first Grand Prix competition of the year. Other competitors include Canada's Jeremy Ten, Italy's Ivan Righini and South Korea's Jin Seo Kim.


In the Pairs event, Duhamel and Radford will go up against two-time world bronze medalists Yuko Kavaguti and Alexander Smirnov of Russia. Each won their first event on the circuit and will look to book their tickets to Barcelona in Osaka. World junior champions Xiaoyu Yu and Yang Jin of China have a chance to qualify for the Final as well, having won silver at Cup of China.

Also competing are Russians Vera Bazarova and Andrei Deputat, Narumi Takahashi and Ryuichi Kihara of Japan, Mari Vartmann and Aaron Van Cleave of Germany and Team USA's DeeDee Leng and Simon Shnapir.

Ice dance

Weaver and Poje highlight the ice dance field. The team will look for a second Grand Prix gold medal and, in turn, a trip to the Grand Prix Final following their victory at Skate Canada. European bronze medalists Penny Coomes and Nicholas Buckland of Great Britain enter with a bronze from the Rostelecom Cup and also hope for a berth to Barcelona.

Other podium contenders in Osaka include Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov of Russia, Ksenia Monko and Kirill Khaliavin of Russia and Nelli Zhiganshina and Alexander Gazsi of Germany. Team USA will be represented by the reigning world junior champions, Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker, who finished sixth in their Grand Prix debut at the Rostelecom Cup.