Big time figure skating rolls into Turin (Torino) for the first time in almost a decade and it feels such a short and yet such a long time ago.
So much has changed in figure skating over the past decade since the World Figure Skating Championships were held in the capital of Piedmont. Yuzuru Hanyu had just won the World Junior title a few weeks prior to those 2010 Worlds in Turin and Winnie the Pooh showers were not yet a thing. Quadruple Lutzes being performed by male AND female skaters. Montreal becoming the centre of the ice dance world. Russian skaters dominating the female ranks. If you had told us these things ten years ago, we would not have believed you.
There have been fewer changes to Turin. There is a metro stop now at Lingotto near the Palavela that was not there at the time of 2010 Worlds. The hotels at the converted old FIAT factory have changed names and are full of fans instead of skaters (the competitors are being housed in the city centre and bused into the arena). Aside from that and a new logo, things are pretty much as they were.
Today was a practice day for the skaters and a travel day for the Europe On Ice team. Our journey to Turin was via France where tomorrow there will be a national strike. Hopefully, no-one travelling to the Grand Prix Final will be affected.
The competition begins tomorrow and it is difficult to pick out a highlight. There will inevitably be a lot of interest in the first clash between Hanyu and Nathan Chen since Worlds earlier this year in Saitama, Japan. In fact, it will be the first time those two skaters go head to head at a Grand Prix Final since 2016. Beyond that, there will also be the first face-off in the senior ranks for the three debuting Russian ladies who each won two Grand Prix titles this season. In pairs, Wenjing Sui and Cong Han will be going for their first Grand Prix Final gold, but watch out for the rise of the young Russians Aleksandra Boikova and Dmitrii Kozslovskii. Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron are expected to be crowned champions in the ice dance event. Can they break their world record scores again?
We do not know exactly what will happen. We do know it will be epic, so stay tuned to Europe On Ice here and on our social media channels for the weekend!