The penultimate leg of the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating brings us to Sapporo, Japan for the NHK Trophy and figure skating’s most elaborate kiss and cry.
When is it on?
The NHK Trophy begins Friday, 18 November with the pairs short programme and concludes Sunday, 20 November with the exhibition gala.
Who is skating?
Both singles events are stacked with Grand Prix Final hopes ready to be dashed by an unlucky assignment. It will be a shock if Shoma Uno (JPN) does not win a third NHK Trophy title. The World champion slightly struggled at Skate Canada where he finished second in the short. However, he did rally in the free skating to pick up gold. Adam Siao Him Fa (FRA) became only the third man Frenchman ever to win a home Grand Prix, while Sota Yamamoto (JPN) and Kazuki Tomono (JPN) occupied the remaining two places on the podium in Angers. All three skaters will try to climb back onto the rostrum in Sapporo. Junhwan Cha (KOR) and Matteo Rizzo (ITA) both have bronze medals from their initial Grand Prix assignments.
Despite clearly not still at her best, Kaori Sakamoto (JPN) did her job at Skate America by taking home the title. She will be tough to beat although Rinka Watanabe (JPN) did just that at Lombardia Trophy in September. Watanabe has a Grand Prix win of her own as well this season from Skate Canada. Starr Andrews (USA) was runner-up to Watanabe in Mississauga. Yelim Kim (KOR) and Rion Sumiyoshi (JPN) won silver and bronze respectively at Grand Prix de France and Amber Glenn (USA) was third at Skate America.
Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara (JPN) look likely to become the first Japanese pairs team to claim an NHK Trophy title in the history of the event. The World silver medallists took their first Grand Prix victory at Skate Canada last month. Emily Chan and Spencer Howe (USA) and Camille Kovalev and Pavel Kovalev (FRA) earned second at their respective Grand Prix assignments.
Madison Chock and Evan Bates (USA) barely eked out a win at Skate America and they will be aiming for better performances in Sapporo. Laurence Fournier Beaudry and Nikolaj Sorensen (CAN) and Evgeniia Lopareva and Geoffrey Brissaud (FRA) find themselves at the same Grand Prix event for the second time this season. It was silver for the Canadians and bronze for the French in Angers.
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?
Late night in North America, very early morning in Europe and primetime in Asia. The times listed for the NHK Trophy are local and if you want to know what the time difference is between where you are and Sapporo then this link is your friend.
Where can I watch the pretty skaters?
This season’s Grand Prix series can be viewed on the ISU Skating YouTube channel. Geographic restrictions apply.
What are the hashtags?
#GPFigure #NHK杯フィギュア #FigureSkating