Ten Americans head to Beijing for Cup of China
|Jeremy Abbott (Getty Images)|
Ten U.S. skaters will compete in four disciplines: ladies, men's, pairs and ice dancing. The U.S. team hails from seven different states: Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Virginia.
The Grand Prix Series, now in its 14th season, consists of six international events in a cumulative, point-scoring format. Approximately 300 athletes from 30 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 of Figure Skating Final, which will be combined with the Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final this year in Goyang City, Republic of Korea, Dec. 10-14. Athletes will be vying for a total of more than $1.35 million in prize money throughout the series.
At last week's Skate Canada, Team USA took home five medals. Meryl Davis and Charlie White secured ice dancing gold, while Ryan Bradley won men's silver. Alissa Czisny (ladies), Evan Lysacek (men's) and Keauna McLaughlin and Rockne Brubaker (pairs) all took home bronze.
U.S. bronze medalist Ashley Wagner is competing in the Grand Prix Series for the second season. She won bronze last season at the Trophée Eric Bompard and finished fifth at Skate Canada. Katrina Hacker is making her Grand Prix Series debut. She finished sixth at both the 2008 U.S. Figure Skating Championships and 2008 Four Continents Championships.
U.S. bronze medalist Stephen Carriere is participating in his second Grand Prix Series. The 2007 world Junior champion finished fourth at Skate America and won bronze at the NHK Trophy last season. Jeremy Abbott is also skating in his second Grand Prix Series. Last season, he finished fourth at the NHK Trophy and the U.S. Championships and won bronze at the 2007 Four Continents Championships.
Amanda Evora and Mark Ladwig are competing in their second event of the series after finishing seventh last week at Skate Canada. They won bronze at the 2007 Nebelhorn Trophy and finished fifth at the 2008 U.S. Championships. Joining them are Chelsi Guillen and Danny Curzon, who are making their Senior Grand Prix Series debut. They won junior bronze at the 2008 U.S. Championships. The pair replaced Brooke Castile and Ben Okolski, who withdrew from the competition last week because of an injury to Castile.
2006 Olympic silver medalists Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto will be competing at the Cup of China for the fourth time; they won gold at the event in 2004 and 2007 and silver in 2006. The five-time U.S. ice dancing champions and three-time world medalists won the silver two weeks ago at Skate America.
In addition to the Cup of China, the Grand Prix Series consists of the remaining events:
Trophée Eric Bompard -- Paris, France -- Nov. 13-16
Cup of Russia -- Moscow, Russia -- Nov. 20-23
NHK Trophy -- Tokyo, Japan -- Nov. 27-30
Grand Prix Final -- Goyang City, Republic of Korea -- Dec. 10-14