Olympic champs Yuzuru Hanyu and Alina Zagitova under spotlight in Moscow
PyeongChang 2018 gold medallists Yuzuru Hanyu and Alina Zagitova headline the Rostelecom Cup, the fifth event of seven in the 2018-19 ISU Figure Skating Grand Prix series.
The return of American figure skater Gracie Gold after nearly two years away from competition will present another exciting highlight.
Any quads in Moscow?
A win in the Russian capital will earn Hanyu a ticket to next month’s Final in Vancouver.
The 23-year-old, who is marking his ninth year on the GP circuit, stunned the skating world with three world records in Helsinki last time out.
The Japanese superstar may not have the quadruple axel on his mind for now, but Keegan Messing does.
The American-born skater who now competes for Canada said it is ‘possible’ after a second-place finish at his home Grand Prix in October.
Messing, 26, made his Olympic and World debut this year and won his first event as a Canadian at the Nebelhorn Trophy in Oberstdorf, Germany.
The excitement in Moscow is palpable with reports indicating that Hanyu’s bus will have security to keep flocks of fans at bay.
“Security officers will be on the bus…so that the girls do not throw themselves under the wheels,” Alexander Polinsky, the General Director of the Directorate of sports and entertainment events of Moscow told Tass.
Another win for Zagitova?
Olympic champion Alina Zagitova is seeking another victory after clinching the Grand Prix in Helsinki.
The Russian, who also won the Nelbelhorn Trophy, will be wary of gritty Japan skaters.
In both instances, the 16-year-old had Japanese skaters joining her on the podium.
This time, watch out for Yuna Shiraiwa, fourth in Helsinki, Mako Yamashita, the runner-up at the Skate Canada International, and Yura Matsuda.
Gracie Gold is back!
The double U.S. national champion is back on ice after a dark period battling a mental health issue.
The 2014 Sochi bronze medallist is now coached by Vincent Restencourt, a French former figure skater.
She is among the 10 skaters listed for the women’s event.
Olympians Karen Chen of USA and Germany’s Nicole Schott are among the late withdrawals.
Russians look to rule pairs, dance
In pairs, two-time world medallists Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov are tipped to impress at the Megasport Arena and clinch their second title this season.
The duo also won Skate America in October.
Russia’s ice dance team Alexandra Stepanova and Ivan Bukin are also chasing another title after victory in Helsinki.
Follow the Olympic Channel for all the latest updates on the ground from the Rostelecom Cup in Moscow.