Word on the street is that the ISU Grand Prix assignments for the 2012-13 season will be announced this coming Monday, May 21. Will they include Plushenko? Lysacek? Weir? Other names we haven’t seen on the circuit in over a year?
Welllll... I’m interested in those possibilities, but not ONLY those. Because there are plenty of relatively new faces I’d like to see in there; faces of rising stars—for their respective countries, if not for the world—that I think have earned an assignment or two.
MEN—Kevin VDP is no longer competing, so it seems to me at least one other “minor” skating nation should find their way to the assignments. My top two suggestions include...
Misha Ge (UZB), who made his presence known late in the season with back-to-back solid showings at 4CCs (9th) and Worlds (up from 30th last year to19th). I tend to think of Ge as Johnny Weir with even more energy.
Christopher Caluza (PHI), who used to represent the U.S... but this year made it to the finals for the Phillippines and finished 21st. Probably a longshot, but I hope he can nab an assignment, and get a triple axel going this summer so he can be more competitive.
From the U.S.: Douglas Razzano, who finished 5th at Nationals and a very respectable 7th when he filled in for Evan Lysacek at Skate America last season.
LADIES—With Laura Lepisto the only recognizable name from last year’s roster that’s now “retired” (though her injuries kept her from competing last season too), it’s a little tricky saying what will be given and what’ll be taken away. But I’d like to see them make room for...
Kexin Zhang, the 16 year-old who came in 4th at last season’s Cup of China, 5th at 4CC’s, and 7th at Worlds—which qualifies two Chinese ladies for next year’s event; a feat that hasn’t been accomplished in that country since Lu Chen skated her magic in the mid 90s). MORE ASSIGNMENTS, STAT!
Yretha Siliete (FRA) and Elena Glebova (EST), who finished 12th and 13th, respectively, at Worlds. Siliete is still fairly new to the GP scene; Glebova is already a two-time Olympian (Did you know that?? I didn’t) who has been on the GP scene since 2007—but received no assignments last year. I think both ladies deserve a shot this season.
From the U.S.: Vanessa Lam, who made it to the Junior GP Final last year and has finished in the top 10 at Senior Nationals the past 2 years.
PAIRS—Sui/Han. Yes, they’ve already competed senior GP... but not without simultaneously competing junior GP. Perhaps they’ll have more time to work on their artistry and overall skating now that they’re finally leaving junior GP behind.
From the U.S.: Gretchen Donlan/Andrew Speroff, who finished 4th at Nationals and are the heir apparent to GP assignments since bronze medalists Evora/Ladwig are no longer competing together.
DANCE—At least two teams that made last year’s GP assignments failed to make it to the final round at Worlds this year—Carron/Jones (FRA), and Reed/Reed (JPN). In their places I’d love to see more of:
Ralph/Hill (#3 on the Canadian team; finished 13th) who typically get only North American GP assignments...
Huang/Zheng (China’s world rep this year who finished 12th)...
And it’s a longshot I guess, but wouldn’t it be nice to see Australia’s O’Brien/Merriman prior to 4 Continents?? Come on, ISU, they made it to finals! Shoot ‘em an assignment.
From the U.S.: Anastasia Cannuscio/Colin McManus, who finished 6th in their senior debut this past year.
Come back next week, as we compare notes and see just how interesting this upcoming GP season might be!