Team USA sends 13 skaters to Cup of China
|Brandon Mroz will skate for the U.S. at the upcoming Cup of China in Beijing. (Getty Images)|
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The Grand Prix Series, now in its 16th 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 the discipline qualify for the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final in Beijing, Dec. 9-12. Athletes will compete for a total of more than $1.35 million in prize money throughout the series.
At last week's Skate Canada in Kingston, Ontario, U.S. skaters captured three medals. Alissa Czisny brought home the gold, while Adam Rippon and ice dancers Madison Chock and Greg Zuerlein each won bronze.
Leading the ladies contingent in Beijing is 2010 U.S. silver medalist Mirai Nagasu. The 2010 Olympian finished fifth last year at this event and fourth at 2009 Skate Canada. Joining Nagasu are Amanda Dobbs and Kristine Musademba, who will both make their Grand Prix debut at this event. Dobbs finished sixth last year at the 2010 AT&T U.S. Figure Skating Championships and fourth at the 2010 Four Continents Figure Skating Championships. Musademba qualified for the Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final in 2008 and 2009 and won the junior pewter medal at the 2008 U.S. Championships.
This is the second assignment for Ross Miner in this year's Grand Prix Series. The 2009 Junior Grand Prix Final bronze medalist finished seventh at the NHK Trophy in Nagoya, Japan, two weeks ago. Appearing on the Grand Prix circuit for the third year is 2009 U.S. silver medalist Brandon Mroz, who finished seventh last season at the Rostelecom Cup and eighth at Cancer.Net Skate America. Mroz's 2010-11 season also included a sixth-place finish at the 2010 U.S. Championships and a fourth-place finish at the 2010 Four Continents Championships.
This is the third appearance at the Cup of China for 2010 Olympians Amanda Evora and Mark Ladwig. The team finished just off the podium, in fourth, at this event in 2008 and placed seventh last season. Evora and Ladwig followed their silver at the 2010 U.S. Championships with a 10th-place finish at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games and a ninth-place finish at the 2010 ISU World Figure Skating Championships in Torino, Italy. Caitlin Yankowskas and John Coughlin just missed the podium with their fourth-place finish at the NHK trophy two weeks ago. They finished fourth at their lone Grand Prix appearance last season, Skate Canada, and sixth at the 2010 U.S. Championships.
Madison Hubbell and Keiffer Hubbell, the 2008 U.S. junior champions, return for their second season on the Grand Prix circuit. The Hubbells finished eighth last season at Trophée Eric Bompard and sixth at Skate Canada. Isabella Cannuscio and Ian Lorello make their senior international debut in Beijing. The team competed in the Junior Grand Prix Series last season, winning bronze at JGP Poland and JGP Turkey. They qualified for the 2009 Junior Grand Prix Final, where they finished sixth.
In addition to Cup of China, the Grand Prix Series consists of the remaining events:
* Skate America: Portland, Ore., USA - Nov. 12-14
* Rostelecom Cup: Moscow, Russia - Nov. 19-21
* Grand Prix Final: Beijing, China - Dec. 9-12