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Team USA at Skate Canada

Emily Hughes at 2007 Skate America.
Emily Hughes at 2007 Skate America. (Michelle Harvath)

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(11/01/2007) - The 2007 ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series heads north to Quebec City, Canada, Nov. 2-4 for Skate Canada. Approximately 56 skaters from 14 countries are competing for points and prize money. Nine U.S. skaters will compete in four disciplines: ladies, men's, pairs and ice dancing. The U.S. team hails from seven different states: Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, New York and Virginia.

The Grand Prix Series, now in its 13th season, consists of six international events in a cumulative point-scoring format. Approximately 300 athletes from 29 countries are expected to participate in the series. Each athlete is eligible to score points in two of the six scheduled events. The top six point-earners in each of the disciplines then qualify for the Grand Prix Final in Torino, Italy, Dec. 13-16. Athletes will be vying for a total of more than $1.35 million in prize money throughout the series.

At last week's Skate America , Team USA gave a strong showing, taking home four medals, including gold for four-time U.S. champion ice dancers Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto and U.S. champion Kimmie Meissner. Two-time World bronze medalist Evan Lysacek garnered the men's silver while World Junior champion Caroline Zhang took home the ladies bronze in her first senior event.

LADIES

This will be the second Grand Prix assignment this season for Emily Hughes, who turned in a fourth-place finish last weekend at Skate America. Hughes will be joined by World Junior bronze medalist Ashley Wagner. Skate Canada will be Wagner's first senior event. Competing in the junior division, Wagner also brought home bronze from the 2007 State Farm U.S. Championships.

MEN

2007 Four Continents bronze medalist Jeremy Abbott is competing in his first Grand Prix event at Skate Canada. Abbott finished fourth at the 2007 U.S. Championships and brought home gold from the 2006 Finlandia Trophy. Teammate Geoffry Varner is back for his second appearance at Skate Canada, after finishing 11th in 2006. Abbott and Varner will be joined by Scott Smith. Smith placed fifth at the 2007 U.S. Championships and sixth at 2006 Skate America.

PAIRS

Tiffany Vise and Derek Trent return to Skate Canada following a sixth-place finish in 2006. The pair secured a fifth-place finish at both the 2007 Nebelhorn Trophy and the 2007 U.S. Championships.

ICE DANCING

Melissa Gregory and Denis Petukhov will make their first Grand Prix assignment of the season. The four-time U.S. silver medalists hope to improve on their last Skate Canada appearance in 2005, when they secured bronze.