Ice Network

Big names return to compete in Grand Prix Series

Asada, Chan, Volosozhar and Trankov come back after taking year off
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Three-time world champion and Olympic silver medalist Mao Asada is slated to compete at the Cup of China and the NHK Trophy. -Getty Images

The list of participants for the 2015 Grand Prix Series includes several standouts who are returning to the sport after taking a year off from competition.

Three-time world champions and Olympic silver medalists Mao Asada and Patrick Chan have two assignments apiece in the series, as do reigning Olympic pairs champions Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov. Asada makes her return at Cup of China (Nov. 5-7 in Beijing) and will also compete at the NHK Trophy (Nov. 26-28 in Nagano). Chan is scheduled to take the ice at Skate Canada (Oct. 29-Nov. 1 in Lethbridge, Alberta), where he will square off against reigning Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan, and Trophée Éric Bompard (Nov. 12-14 in Bordeaux, France). Volosozhar and Trankov were assigned to Trophée Bompard and NHK, where they will face reigning world champions Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford of Canada.

Several other notables will return to the Grand Prix Series after at least a one-year absence. Former European champions and world bronze medalists Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev, who sat out last season after he suffered a knee injury in September, are scheduled to appear at Skate Canada and NHK. After missing last season because of a leg injury, two-time Canadian champion Kaetlyn Osmond returns, with Skate Canada and NHK on her fall schedule. Returning to the series for the first time since 2012 is three-time European medalist Kiira Korpi of Finland, who has just a single assignment (Trophée Bompard). 

Reigning world champion Elizaveta Tuktamisheva was assigned to Skate Canada and Trophée Bompard, while her men's couterpart, Javier Fernández, drew Cup of China and Rostelecom. In addition to NHK, Duhamel and Radford will appear at their home Grand Prix. World ice dance champions Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France will also compete in front of a friendly crowd: They've got Trophée Bompard, as well as NHK, on their docket.

Three of the four reigning world junior champions will make their Grand Prix debuts in the fall, and all are scheduled to appear at Skate America. Evgenia Medvedeva of Russia, Japan's Shoma Uno and Russian ice dancers Anna Yakovskaia and Sergei Mozgov will be at the series' first event, Oct. 22-25 in Milwaukee. Medvedeva will also compete on home ice, at the Rostelecom Cup (Nov. 19-21 in Moscow), while Uno, and Yanovskaia and Mozgov are both on the roster for Trophée Bompard.

Two of the four reigning world junior silver medalists -- Boyang Jin of China, and Julianne Séguin and Charlie Bilodeau of Canada -- will make their series debuts. Notable pairs making their first appearance in the series together include Canadian silver medalists Lubov Iliushechkina and Dylan Moscovitch, Italian champions Valentina Marchei and Ondřej Hotárek and U.S. pair Marissa Castelli and Mervin Tran.

A couple of Russians who have won Olympic gold medals are conspicuously absent from the lineup. Neither Evgeni Plushenko nor Adelina Sotnikova -- both of whom have said they will compete next season -- received an assignment.

Also missing is four-time U.S. champion Jeremy Abbott, who told icenetwork he will skip the series in order to focus on the U.S. and world championships.