Americans abound at 2011 Grand Prix Final
Thirteen U.S. skaters to compete in junior and senior events
|Alissa Czisny is hoping to repeat as ladies champion at the Grand Prix Final. (Getty Images)|
Competition begins Thursday with all four junior disciplines taking the ice, while the seniors begin competing Friday at the Pavillon de la Jeunesse at ExopCité.
For full coverage, including news, photos and results, visit www.icenetwork.com. Live and on-demand video coverage of the Grand Prix Final will be available to icenetwork.com Season Pass subscribers.
GRAND PRIX FINAL
Alissa Czisny is the reigning Grand Prix Final champion. The 2011 U.S. titlist began the season by winning gold at 2011 Hilton HHonors Skate America, the first event of the Grand Prix Series. She went on to secure bronze at Trophée Eric Bompard in Paris in mid-November.
Jeremy Abbott, the 2008 Grand Prix Final champion, makes his third trip to the Grand Prix Final and first since placing fourth in 2009. Abbott's season includes a gold medal from Cup of China and a bronze from Rostelecom Cup.
The United States will send two ice dancing teams to the Grand Prix Final for the first time since 2008. Meryl Davis and Charlie White enter the event having won eight consecutive events dating back to 2010 NHK Trophy. The 2011 world champions, Davis and White are two-time reigning Grand Prix Final titlists and added the bronze medal at this event in 2008. Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani earned their spot at the Grand Prix Final thanks to a gold medal at NHK Trophy, their first Grand Prix Series win, and silver at Cup of China. Both teams train in Canton, Mich., under coaches Marina Zoueva and Igor Shpilband.
The Grand Prix Series, now in its 17th season, consists of six international events in a cumulative point-scoring format. Approximately 300 athletes from 30 countries participated in the series. Each athlete is eligible to score points in two of the six scheduled events. The top six point-earners in each discipline qualified for the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final in Quebec City, Quebec, Dec. 8-11. Athletes will compete for a total of more than $1.35 million in prize money throughout the series and Grand Prix Final.
JUNIOR GRAND PRIX FINAL
Joshua Farris looks to improve on a sixth-place finish at this event a year ago. Farris won a pair of gold medals in Estonia and Poland to qualify for his second JGP Final. He is joined by Jason Brown, who won the JGP Australia title and added a silver medal at JGP Italy.
For the first time since 2007, the U.S. qualified two pairs teams for the JGP Final. Britney Simpson and Matthew Blackmer joined forces last spring and enjoyed immediate international success, winning the JGP Poland title and following that up with a silver medal at JGP Estonia. Jessica Noelle Calalang and Zack Sidhu clinched a spot in the JGP Final after finishing third in Estonia and fourth in Poland. However, the duo withdrew from the JGP Final on Nov. 30, due to an injury to Sidhu.
Now in its 15th season, the JGP Series consists of seven international events in a cumulative point-scoring format. Approximately 400 athletes representing more than 35 countries participated in the series. Each athlete is eligible to score points in two of the seven scheduled events (pairs can compete in two of four designated events). The top six point-earners in each discipline qualified for the Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final, Dec. 8-11 in Quebec City, Quebec.