The NHK Trophy makes its return to the iconic Yoyogi National Gymnasium in Tokyo for the first time since 2013. The roster is somewhat depleted (more of that later), but there will no doubt be plenty of exciting skating on show to keep some of us up all night!
When is it on?
The competition begins Friday, 12 November with the rhythm dance and short programmes and concludes Saturday, 13 November with the free dance and free skating segments.
Who is skating?
The withdrawal of double Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN) due to injury is no doubt a huge disappointment for local fans and the organisers. However, Japanese fans will have plenty still to cheer about in the men’s event with 2018 Olympic silver medallist Shoma Uno (JPN) aiming to pick up his first NHK Trophy title since 2018. Uno did finish ahead of three-time World champion Nathan Chen (USA) last month at Skate America, but behind Vincent Zhou (USA) who will also be skating in Tokyo this weekend. Alexander Samarin (RUS) and Junhwan Cha (KOR) will also be contending for medals.
After her victory at Skate America, Alexandra Trusova (RUS) was expected to headline this weekend at NHK Trophy, but she has been sidelined due to injury. This opens the competition in the women’s category significantly. Daria Usacheva (RUS) impressed on her way to silver behind Trusova in Las Vegas. Young You (KOR) finished right behind Usacheva at Skate America. Kaori Sakamoto (JPN) just missed out on the podium at the same event and will carry Japanese hopes in Tokyo. Following three straight international wins earlier this season, Alysa Liu (USA) managed fifth in a very deep field at Skate Canada in her senior Grand Prix debut.
The pairs event promises to be a head to head between 2021 Skate America gold medallists Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozo (RUS) and 2021 World champions Anastasia Mishina and Aleksandr Galliamov (RUS). This will be Mishina and Galliamov’s first Grand Prix since winning their World title in Stockholm. The star of Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara (JPN) has risen fast this year and they will be in the hunt for a medal again after taking silver at Skate America.
Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov are making their international debut this season at NHK Trophy and will be aiming to pick up their first title at the event. The World champions will be pushed hard by Madison Chock and Evan Bates (USA) who captured a silver medal at Skate America. Lilah Fear and Lewis Gibson (GBR) will be hoping to bounce back from a disappointing performance at Skate Canada. Sara Hurtado and Kirill Khaliavin (ESP) will also be in the fight for medals. 2020 NHK Trophy reigning champions Misato Komatsubara and Tim Koleto (JPN) and Kana Muramoto and Daisuke Takahashi (JPN) compete against each other for the first time this season.
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?
At the perfect time if you are in Asia, really early in Europe and really late in North America. The times listed for NHK Trophy are local and if you want to know what the time difference is between where you are and Tokyo then this link is your friend.
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 #NHK杯フィギュア #FigureSkating