The penultimate stage of this season’s Grand Prix Series takes us back to Grenoble which hosts the Internationaux de France for the first time in two years.
When is it on?
The competition begins Friday, 19 November with the rhythm dance and short programmes and concludes Saturday, 20 November with the free dance and free skating segments.
Who is skating?
Yuma Kagiyama (JPN) achieved one of the most dramatic comebacks in Grand Prix history when he stormed to the top of the podium after only finishing seventh in the short programme at the Gran Premio D’Italia men’s event two weeks ago. Jason Brown (USA) had a more even trajectory at Skate Canada International where he claimed a silver medal. Local hopes will be pinned on Kevin Aymoz (FRA) even though he had to withdraw after the short at Skate America due to injury. Deniss Vasiljevs (LAT) just missed on a place on the rostrum in Turin two weeks ago, while 2020 European champion Dmitri Aliev could only muster ninth place at that event.
There is no doubt that Anna Shcherbakova (RUS) is the favourite to win gold in the women’s event in Grenoble. The World champion will be up against the reigning Internationaux de France title holder Alena Kostornaia (RUS) and the 2018 World silver medallist Wakaba Higuchi (JPN) who posted a massive 79.73 short programme score last week at the Ice Challenge in Graz, Austria. Despite coming fourth at this year’s World Championships, Karen Chen finished down in tenth at Skate Canada International last month.
Aleksandra Boikova and Dmitrii Kozslovskii (RUS) were only third at Skate America, but are a good bet to end up on top in Grenoble in the pairs event. Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier (USA) were just a few points behind the Russians in Las Vegas and look like having an excellent chance of bagging a medal in France. After coming fourth at Skate Canada International a few weeks back, Vanessa James and Eric Radford (CAN) will be seeking to go at least one place better this weekend.
Having sat last season entirely, Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron (FRA) reasserted their dominance of the ice dance world with a commanding victory at Gran Premio D’Italia. It is hard to see past the four-time World champions in the ice dance event, especially at home. Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier (CAN) already have the Skate Canada International title in their pockets this season and a podium finish will be enough to see them through to the Grand Prix Final next month. Alexandra Stepanova and Ivan Bukin look to be a solid choice to find themselves amongst the medals in Grenoble.
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?
Really late if you are in Asia, the perfect time in Europe and a little bit early in North America. The times listed for Internationaux de France are local and if you want to know what the time difference is between where you are and Grenoble 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 #InternationauxdeFrance #FigureSkating