Evgenia Medvedeva prepares for 'home' appearance at Skate Canada

Double world champion competes in first ISU Grand Prix event since joining coach Brian Orser in Toronto.

Evgenia Medvedeva makes her ISU Grand Prix seasonal debut at this weekend's Skate Canada in Laval, Quebec.

The second stop of the series takes place just across the provincial border from her new home in Toronto where she is hoping to rediscover the form which made her the dominant woman in figure skating.

The two-time world champion has finished second in her last three competitions, including PyeongChang 2018 where she was the favourite for gold.

After the Olympic Games, the Russian split with her coach of 11 years, Eteri Tutberidze, moved across the Atlantic and changed her hairstyle.

And from what we can tell, she seems happy in her new surroundings.

A time to rebuild

Brian Orser coached Yuna Kim and Yuzuru Hanyu to Olympic titles and now Medvedeva wants the same.

Under the Canadian, a world champion and twice Olympic silver medallist himself, she's looking to take her skating to the next level.

But the process of deconstruction and reconstruction takes time and, as Orser noted, it's a challenge that she's willing to accept.

"She has embraced the idea of rebuilding. I think she understands that’s the only option, and we may have to take a couple hits along the way." - Brian Orser to NBCSports

Medvedeva, who turns 19 in November, premiered her new routine at last month's Autumn Classic and was the first to admit that it was far from perfect.

A fall in the free skate cost her the win but nevertheless she was upbeat about the result.

"I think it just takes a little bit of time. And by Skate Canada I'm sure it'll be fine." - Medvedeva after finishing second at the Autumn Classic

Russian rivalry renewed

Medvedeva will face Japan's current world silver medallist Wakaba Higuchi and another Russian, 2015 world champion Elizaveta Tuktamysheva, at Skate Canada.

But the battle for supremacy in women's skating this season will almost certainly be between Medvedeva and her former training partner, Olympic champion Alina Zagitova.

Evgenia Medvedeva and Alina Zagitova at PyeongChang 2018
Evgenia Medvedeva and Alina Zagitova at PyeongChang 2018Evgenia Medvedeva and Alina Zagitova at PyeongChang 2018

The two will not meet before the Grand Prix Finals in December but, with both already having competed in Challenger Series events this season, we have an idea of things to come.

Zagitova currently holds the world's top score this season by nearly 17 points.

The 16-year-old defending Grand Prix champion managed 238.43 at the Nebelhorn Trophy in Germany last month while Medvedeva only scored 204.89 at the Autumn Classic.

Medvedeva will be aiming to close that deficit when she takes to the ice this weekend.

And she's hoping to take inspiration from meeting four-time world champion Kurt Browning ahead of the competition.

Brown looking to outshine Uno

Olympic silver medallist Shoma Uno is the only man from the top 10 at PyeongChang 2018 in the field this weekend, and will be confident of starting his Grand Prix season with a win.

But Jason Brown is hoping to take the challenge to the Japanese.

Brown was the top American finisher at Sochi 2014 before failing to make the team for PyeongChang.

USA's Jason Brown competes in the free skate at Sochi 2014
USA's Jason Brown competes in the free skate at Sochi 2014USA's Jason Brown competes in the free skate at Sochi 2014

Like Medvedeva, he joined Orser this year after splitting with his long-time coach.

Like Medvedeva, he has changed hairstyle with the 23-year-old cutting off his signature ponytail.

This weekend will be a real test given that he has yet to land a clean quadruple jump in competition and finished fourth behind Hanyu at the Autumn Classic.

For both of Orser's new charges, Skate Canada marks the start of a new chapter in their careers as they seek to reinvent themselves in the run-up to Beijing 2022.

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