After a one year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Skate Canada International is back this year hosted by the city of Vancouver, British Columbia for the first time in 43 years. Initially the Grand Prix event was due to be held behind closed doors, but on 20 October Skate Canada announced that a limited number of all-event tickets would go on sale.
When is it on?
The competition begins Friday, 29 October with the rhythm dance and short programmes and concludes Saturday, 30 October with the free dance and free skating segments.
Who is skating?
Following his shock defeat in Las Vegas last weekend at Skate America, Nathan Chen (USA) needs to win in Vancouver to secure his place in the Grand Prix Final, although a silver medal might be enough. Chen will face 2020 Four Continents silver medallist Jason Brown (USA), 2020 European bronze medallist Morisi Kvitelashvili (GEO) and Keegan Messing (CAN).
It is fair to say that the women’s event is stacked. Six of the 12 skaters will potentially be attempting triple Axels in their programmes. 2021 World silver medallist Elizaveta Tuktamysheva (RUS), 2020 European champion Alena Kostornaia (RUS) and 2020 World Junior champion Kamila Valieva (RUS) will be a formidable Russian trio. 2018 World silver medallist Wakaba Higuchi (JPN) and 2020 World Junior bronze medallist Alysa Liu (USA) should also be in the mix for medals.
Two-time World champions Wenjing Sui and Cong Han (CHN) go into Skate Canada International as the outstanding favourites to take the pairs title. 2020 European bronze medallists Daria Pavliuchenko and Denis Khodykin (RUS) will be the sole Russian representatives in the event. 2018 Four Continents silver medallists Ashley Cain-Gribble and Timothy LeDuc (USA) have bagged a bronze medal at Finlandia Trophy already this season, while we will witness another intriguing domestic match-up between two-time Canadian champions Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro (CAN) and the new pairing of Vanessa James and Eric Radford (CAN).
2021 World bronze medallists Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier (CAN) are favourites in the ice dance event to seal a home victory. Charlene Guignard and Marco Fabbri (ITA) and Lilah Fear and Lewis Gibson (GBR), respectively the sixth and seventh placed teams from Worlds, will no doubt be challenging for the podium.
Everything you need to know (and some things you did not) about the skaters, the competition schedule and results can be viewed here.
When is the skating on?
Early morning in Asia, late in Europe and just the right time in North America. The times listed for Skate Canada International are local and if you want to know what the time difference is between where you are and Vancouver then this link is your friend. For those of you watch in Europe, be aware that summer time ends at 2am on Sunday, 31 October during the free dance.
Where can I watch the pretty skaters?
The wonderful and very helpful people at the ISU have compiled a handy guide as to where you can view this season’s Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series in a whole host of countries and territories. For everyone else, there is the ISU Skating YouTube channel.
What are the hashtags?
#GPFigure #FigureSkating #SCI21 #IPC21