The ISU International Grand Prix Series is coming to an end. The crown of the prestigious figure skating competition will be the grand final in Beijing from December 7 to 10. Six representatives from each of the four disciplines that obtained the best results among all participants in six stages will meet on the Chinese ice. An exciting fight between the strongest athletes on the planet awaits fans, and it is not entirely clear how it will end.
The American with Russian roots, Ilya Malinin, may finally have to demonstrate his main asset again: the quadruple axis. Otherwise, formidable rivals are capable of not only leaving him without the coveted gold, but also preventing him from getting on the podium.
Two-time world champion Kaori Sakamoto needs to rehabilitate after her failure last season. She then took second-to-last place in the Grand Prix final, although she came in as the top favorite. Will she be able to cope with her nerves this time? We will know very soon.
European champion Gubanova did not qualify for the final:
He was skating like he was doomed. Gubanova is sixth again in the Grand Prix and it’s her fault
Competitions between sports couples are also full of intrigue. And all thanks to the former Russian Nikita Volodin, who took the German flag last summer and, together with his partner, immediately broke into the elite of the doubles event.
This finale will definitely be one of the brightest events of the season and will deliver a lot of genuine emotions.
Malinin has very dangerous opponents and they are better than him in terms of components.
Four skaters are aiming for gold in the men’s individual Grand Prix final: Ilya Malinin of the USA, Adam Xiao Him Fa of France and two Japanese, Shoma Uno and Yuma Kagiyama. Of them, only Adam managed to win both of his stages. In the current season, it simply surprises with its stability, despite the very difficult content, which consists almost entirely of ultra-c. A triple Axel and two quadruples in the short program plus two triple Axels and four quadruples in the free program allow him to surpass the 300 point mark and not be afraid even of the quad god Malinin.
In the France stage, Xiao Him Fa already beat the young American and is definitely determined to do it again. Furthermore, he has a well-deserved advantage in component evaluation. Perfect body control and impeccable acting skills leave the judges no questions about Adam, which, unfortunately, cannot be said about Ilya.
Adam Xiao He Fa
Photo: Antti H’m’l’inen/AP Photo/TASS
However, the Beijing Grand Prix final will be the talented Frenchman’s debut, so there is a danger that anxiety will prevent him from performing at his best. Or perhaps simple fatigue will disappoint you. In two and a half months, Adam skated in six tournaments and won gold in all of them. It would be a shame to interrupt this winning streak or suddenly be left without a reward.
However, the risk that Ilya Malinin will not be on the podium cannot be ruled out. Of all the finalists, he has the highest total score for his performances in two stages, but if everyone skates cleanly, falling behind in the second score will be fatal for him. Of course, the Russian-American has made progress in both choreography and performance compared to last season, but not enough to rely on component points. He will still beat Kao Miura and Kevin Aymoz, as he is significantly ahead of them in technology. But Xiao Him Fa, Uno and Kagiyama are unlikely to be flawless.
Perhaps it’s time for Malinin to once again take a swing at the quadruple axis, so that the space jump will elevate him far above his rivals. The fans will be incredibly happy and Ilya’s chances of winning, all things being equal, will surely increase.
How Malinin lost to Xiao Him Fa:
Have they found justice for the God of the Quads? Malinin lost in a furious battle at the French Grand Prix!
Can Sakamoto avenge his failure last season?
Single girls will have very interesting company on the ice in Beijing. Japan’s representatives dominate: three figure skaters, including absent leader Kaori Sakamoto, quad skater Ryon Sumiyoshi and trixelist Hana Yoshida. A real sensation is the qualification of two Belgians at once: the stunning Luna Hendricks, familiar to everyone, and the charming 17-year-old Nina Pinzarrón. Isabeau Levito, 16, will have to defend the honor of the United States alone. Furthermore, she is the youngest of the finalists. However, she is a very strong competitor, although she did score a rather controversial victory in her final stage in France.
The judges adore the soulful American and do not skimp on their assessments. If necessary, they calmly turn a blind eye to some of its shortcomings and never offend you with its components. Without a medal, Isabeau will leave China only in case of a total collapse in one or two programs at a time.
Photo: Angelika Warmuth/DPA/TASS
Last year’s experience of two-time world champion Kaori Sakamoto shows that anyone can make enough mistakes and not leave the referees any chance to correct themselves. A year ago, Kaori skated so poorly in the free skate of the Grand Prix final that she showed the worst result of the last five years of her career. At the Beijing competitions, she will definitely try to take revenge and overshadow the unfortunate fiasco of her sports biography with a brilliant and unconditional victory.
But it definitely won’t be easy for Sakamoto to win the gold. The Ultra-C compatriots subtly play on your nerves. What if Ryon Sumiyoshi with a quad finger loop and Hana Yoshida with a triple axle turn out to be perfect? No amount of premiums for the quality of high-quality items and components will save Kaori!
The ISU Figure Skating Grand Prix broadcast is available on Okko.
Luna Hendricks is also not very interested in the success of girls with ultra-c, but she will do everything so that, in any development of events, her fiery dances melt the hearts of the judges and help her climb at least to the third position, similar to last season.
The exrusa is close to gold among couples, and in dance there is a very strong lineup of finalists
Who would have thought that pair sports competitions would attract attention in the absence of Russian athletes? But in the Grand Prix final there will be a really exciting competition between the Canadians Deanna Stellato-Dudek/Maxime Deschamps and the Germans Minerva Fabienne Haze/Nikita Volodin. It is no coincidence that Khaze’s partner has a name in Russian. Nikita, in fact, recently received clearance from the Russian Figure Skating Federation to join the German national team, early last summer.
The newly formed couple wasted no time. After Nikita was officially released under the German flag, he and Minerva prepared brilliantly for the season and announced themselves loudly in September by taking silver in the Lombardia Trophy Challenger. In the next four starts, including two Grand Prix stages, they invariably took gold, increasingly intimidating their opponents. Reaching the series final is in itself a huge achievement for them, but in Beijing they clearly intend to fight for gold.
Minerva Hase and Nikita Volodin
Photo: Tomohiro Ohsumi/AP Photo/TASS
Maria Pavlova/Alexei Svyatchenko, competing for Hungary, will also leave their Russian mark in the pairs competition. They train with Fedor Klimov and it would be fantastic if they manage to get on the podium.
In ice dance, the Grand Prix final is stormed by an entire Canadian group made up of three excellent duos: Laurence Fournier Baudry/Nikolai Sorensen, Piper Gilles/Paul Poirier, Marjorie Lajoie/Zachary Laga. One of them will surely ruin the plans of the British Lila Fir/Lewis Gibson and the Italians Charlene Guignard/Marco Fabbri to win the awards.
At first glance, it is impossible to fight for gold with the current world champions Madison Chock/Evan Bates of the United States. But in fact, Gilles/Poirier, Fir/Lewis and Guignard/Fabbri were already ahead of them in terms of points scored this season. That is why the battle for gold between the dancers promises many surprises.
Where to see
The tournament will be broadcast in full on the Okko online cinema; Absolutely all rentals will be available there live.
The contest will take place from December 7 to 10. For convenience, here is the schedule according to Moscow time:
December 7, Thursday Sports couples, short program – 12:55 Men, short program – 14:07
How is the international figure doing with attendance?
According to the head coach of our figure, there were 483 people at the US Grand Prix. This is bad
Friday December 8 Sports couples, free program – 11:45 Women, short program – 14:55 Ice dance, rhythmic dance – 16:00
December 9, Saturday Ice dancing, free dance – 12:50 Women’s free dance – 14:10 Men’s free dance – 15:27
December 10, Sunday Demonstration performances – 9:30
List of participants
The complete list of participants in the Grand Prix Final is as follows:
Men: Kevin Aymoz, Adam Xiao Him Fa (France), Kao Miura, Yuma Kagiyama, Shoma Uno (all Japan), Ilya Malinin (USA).
Women: Nina Pinzarron, Luna Hendricks (all from Belgium), Hana Yoshida, Kaori Sakamoto, Ryon Sumiyoshi (all from Japan), Isabeau Levito (USA).
Sports couples: Deanna Stellato-Dudek/Maxime Deschamps, Leah Pereira/Trennet Michaud (all Canada), Minerva Fabienne Haze/Nikita Volodin (Germany), Maria Pavlova/Alexey Sviatchenko (Hungary), Sara Conti/Niccolò Machi, Rebecca Ghilardi/Filippo Ambrosini (all from Italy).
Dancing on ice: Laurence Fournier Baudry/Nicholas Sørensen, Piper Gilles/Paul Poirier, Marjorie Lajoie/Zachary Laga (all Canada), Lila Fir/Lewis Gibson (Great Britain), Charlene Guignard/Marco Fabbri (Italy), Madison Chalke/Evan Bates (USA). USA).