Tuesday, June 28, 2011

2011-12 ISU Grand Prix Assignments At a Glance

Five months from today, all the finalists for the 2011-12 ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating will be decided… so as per tradition, the ISU thought late June to be the best time to let skaters know their assignments during the six-week whirlwind that precedes said finals. You can check out the initial assignments for all four disciplines right here.

At a glance (or two), here are some of the more interesting things to note:

+ Miki Ando has joined Kim Yu-Na in sitting out the upcoming GP season… kind of interesting, considering the ill effect such a strategy had on Kim this past year…

+ Perhaps in anticipation of two GP assignments he has received—Skate America, and Trophee Eric Bompard—2010 OGM Evan Lysacek has reportedly just resumed training with Frank Carroll…

+ The rest of the rosters are comprised, by and large, by the usual suspects—which is to say that there aren’t many “rookies” entering the Senior GP arena next season:

-- For the men, the only newbie is USA’s Richard Dornbush (who competed/won the Junior GP title last season).
-- The ladies are welcoming just one new US skater (Christina Gao), one new Chinese skater (Kexin Zhang), and one new French skater (Yretha Silete)… but the big attention will most likely be on three young’uns from Russia (Sofia Biryukova, Adelina Sotnikova, and Elizaveta Tuktamishieva). As Tara Lipinski “tweeted” earlier this week, the other ladies better get to work on their triple/triple combos…

+ The pairs events boast something like 8 new teams, the majority of those being Canadian and American—if only because recent breakups/retirements gave them no choice.

+ It’s a similar story for ice dance, though it appears to be U.S. and Russian teams leading the way in terms of first-time talent. (It’s worth noting that only Davis/White have been named to the Skate America trifecta of American dance teams thus far.)

+ Look closely at the lineups, and you’ll see that the overall number of participants has been reduced across the board—10 singles skaters per event (down from 12), and 8 pairs/dance teams (down from 10).

+ And you’ll also notice that the series is kicking off with Skate America for the first time in a while… followed by Skate Canada, Cup of China, NHK Trophy, Trophee Bompard, and Rostelecom Cup… in that order. And back to Canada (Quebec City) for the GP Final.

More on the specific GP showdowns later in the week!

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