Figure Skating

Yuzuru Hanyu to launch ISU Grand Prix campaign at Skate Canada

The 2019/20 ISU Grand Prix nominations are out with Nathan Chen opening up at Skate America, and Alina Zagitova gracing the Internationaux de France.

By Rory Jiwani ·

The ISU Grand Prix 2019/20 nominations were announced on Thursday (20th June) with Yuzuru Hanyu and Nathan Chen avoiding each other in the regular season.

Reigning double world champion Chen will start off in the opening event, Skate America, in Las Vegas from 18-20 October, with double Olympic gold medallist Hanyu opening his campaign a week later at Skate Canada in Kelowna, British Columbia.

Skate Canada will also witness the first major senior outing for quad-jumping sensation Alexandra Trusova who goes up against last year's Grand Prix Final winner Rika Kihira.

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World and Olympic champion Alina Zagitova begins her Grand Prix campaign at the Internationaux de France in Grenoble from 1-3 November where Chen will skate for a second time.

There is a new event on the schedule with the Cup of China taking place in Chongqing from 8-10 November, replacing the GP Helsinki.

The Grand Prix Final will be held from 5-8 December in Torino, the host city of the 2006 Winter Olympic Games.

2019 world champion Nathan Chen (R) with silver medallist Yuzuru Hanyu in Saitama

Hanyu and Chen dominate men's nominations

The two biggest stars in men's figure skating won two Grand Prix events each last season.

But Hanyu was forced to miss the final when he re-injured his right ankle at the Rostelecom Cup.

Chen went on to take the Grand Prix Final in Vancouver before retaining his world title in Saitama ahead of Hanyu.

If both stay fit, they will surely meet this time round in Torino.

Chen is taking in two early events as he continues to combine skating with studying at Yale University.

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After Skate America, he is back in action a fortnight later at the Internationaux de France in Grenoble.

Hanyu has chosen not to skate in Moscow this year, instead making his second engagement the NHK Trophy on home ice at the end of the Grand Prix series.

The Japanese superstar is currently recovering after sitting out the World Team Trophy due to that troublesome ankle.

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PyeongChang 2018 silver medallist Shoma Uno, who recently linked up with Moscow-based coach Eteri Tutberidze, will compete against Chen in Grenoble before skating at the Rostelecom Cup.

World bronze medallist Vincent Zhou makes a late start to his campaign in the fourth event, the Cup of China, before facing Uno the very next week in Moscow.

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Zagitova, Medvedeva and Trusova threaten Kihira defence

Rika Kihira was the revelation of the 2018/19 season, winning two Grand Prix events and the Grand Prix Final in her first year in the senior ranks.

She was out of the medals at the World Championships, but hopes to be back on the podium at Skate Canada where she comes up against double world champion Evgenia Medvedeva.

Russia's Olympic silver medallist struggled initially after moving to Canada to link up with coach Brian Orser, but found her form late in the season to take bronze in Saitama behind former training partner Zagitova.

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Kihira's second engagement is the NHK Trophy which will be a rematch with world and Olympic champion Zagitova.

After missing out on last year's Grand Prix Final, Medvedeva will hope to secure a return at the Rostelecom Cup with Trusova among the opposition in Moscow.

World silver medallist Elizabet Tursynbaeva competes at Skate America and the Cup of China.

World champs head ice dance and pairs entries

Gabrielle Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron have dominated ice dancing since the retirement of PyeongChang gold medallists Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir.

An injury to Cizeron forced them to miss last year's NHK Trophy, but they were back to winning ways in Grenoble later in November.

That meant they were unable to defend their Grand Prix Final title, but this year they will be hoping to regain the crown.

France's four-time world champions will compete again on home ice in Grenoble before reappearing in the NHK Trophy.

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China's Sui Wenjing and Han Cong, who regained their world pairs title in Saitama, are bidding for their first Grand Prix Final triumph.

They will stay in Asia this season, appearing at the Cup of China and the NHK Trophy.

Sui Wenjing and Han Cong during the pairs free skate at the 2019 World Championships in Saitama

ISU Grand Prix 2019/20 Calendar

October 18-20: Skate America - Las Vegas

October 25-27: Skate Canada - Kelowna, British Columbia

November 1-3: Internationaux de France - Grenoble

November 8-10: Cup of China - Chongqing

November 15-17: Rostelecom Cup - Moscow, Russia

November 22-24: NHK Trophy - Sapporo, Japan

December 5-8: Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final - Torino, Italy