Friday, June 7, 2013

ISU GP Assignments 2013: Checking Out the Ladies and Pairs

The ISU Senior Grand Prix assignments have been out since Monday. I’m not sure what this means for you, but for me, it means I spent the week with 4 pages of printouts in my bag. Come a lunch break, come some dead time at community theater rehearsal, come a lull (and there are many) at the end-of-school awards ceremonies I sat through yesterday, I had the lists out... circling, noting, question-marking, and occasionally wondering either a) why I didn’t see a certain name, or b) why I saw a certain name SO MUCH (meaning twice).

The ISU link to downloadable files can be found here. As for what I’ve got so far:


Omissions: Internationally speaking, the only “usual suspect” I don’t see on the list of assignments is Ksenia Makarova—but I think she’s out for the season with an injury. From the U.S. there is no Alissa Czisny (possibly by request, if there is a concern about her re-injuring if she returns too soon?)... also no Courtney Hicks (4th at 2013 Nationals) and no Yasmin Siraj (6th at 2013 Nationals). I presume that means both Hicks and Siraj will go to the JGP? Oh, and there’s also no Rachael Flatt among the entries—not sure if she’s still recovering from last season’s injuries, saving all her energies for one final push at Nationals, or none of the above.

Surprises: Despite her subpar performance at the last Nationals (7th), Mirai Nagasu still received 2 GP assignments. And despite her even weaker showing (12th), Caroline Zhang still got assigned to Skate America. My rational side argues “why bother? Why not give Hicks, or Kiri Baga, or Leah Keiser a try instead?” But sentiment suggests to me that Nagasu and Zhang—both up-and-coming junior stars when they were first brought to the attention of the ABC/ESPN audience, back in 2007—are each being showed a glimmer or two of support in what could be their last competitive season.

New faces: Elena Radionova, RUS, Anna Pogorilaya, RUS, Satoko Miyahara, JPN, and Lenaelle Gilleron-Gorry, FRA.

Noteworthy: With Yu-Na Kim & Mao Asada in two events apiece, the assignments pit Gracie Gold & Ashley Wagner against them alternately. In other words, Skate America will feature Asada vs.Wagner, Skate Canada’s got Kim vs. Gold, NHK has Gold vs. Asada), and Bompard will bring us Wagner vs. Kim. As for U.S. bronze medalist Agnes Zawadzki, she will face Carolina Kostner in the remaining two events (Cup of China and Rostelecom Cup).

Omissions: none jump out at me.

Surprises: The good news is that the U.S.’s newest team to have a shot at the Sochi Olympics-- Lindsay Davis/Rockne Brubaker—have a GP assignment to test the waters. The bad news—it’s at Skate Canada, which means they don’t get as much prep time as they would at, say, Rostelecom Cup (one month later).

New this year on the senior circuit (aside from Davis/Brubaker): Margaret Purdy/Michael Marinaro, CAN... Anastasia Martiusheva/Alexei Rogonov, RUS... Felicia Zhang/Nathan Bartholomay, USA... Haven Denney/Brandon Frazier, USA... Yulia Antipova/Nodari Maisuradze, RUS... Britney Simpson/Matthew Blackmer, USA.

Noteworthy: How about the fact that FOUR of those new teams represent the U.S.? Yes, we’ve got Denney/Coughlin back from surgery, as well as the proven Castelli/Shnapir, and the promising Scimeca/Knierim... but with Davis on to another partner since Nationals, and a GP pairs staple of the past 2 years (Vise/Baldwin) now retired (thank goodness), our weaknesses are showing. Or are they?? Let’s take a positive spin for now, and smile at the possibility of Top 5 finishes for all this fresh talent. No, I’m not looking at their competition as I write that. And you can’t make me. I’m staying positive, dammit.

ALSO noteworthy: remember 2011 World Bronze Medalists Takahashi/Tran? The team that split so that Takahashi could be paired with someone who better represented Japan (aka not a Canadian citizen)? Well, they are back... though of course (sigh) not with each other. Mervin Tran will debut with his new partner Natasha Purich at TEB; Narumi Takahashi will debut with her new partner Ryuichi Kihara one week later, at Rostelecom Cup.

Will post on the Men and Dance entrants soon. Say, did you happen to hear Evan Lysacek is planning a comeback at Skate America?


Anonymous said...

Anastasia Martiusheva/Alexei Rogonov - not new

Kelli Lawrence said...

You're right-- 5th at Rostelecom & NHK last year, and 7th at Rostelecom way back in '09. Thanks for the correction!

But to be fair, Anastasia still "looks" new... that's what happens when you start the Senior GP at age 14 I guess! :-)

Anonymous said...

Ah we have heard about comebacks from various skaters over the years especially in the Olympic year. Wouldn't bet the farm on it :)

96horseluvr said...

I'm not sure why you think GPs are given based off of Nationals results. Mirai placing 7th at Nationals has nothing to do with GP assignments. She most likely had a high enough season's best to get 2 assignments.
Courtney and Yasmin placing 4th and 6th respectively at Nationals does not impact GP assignments either.

Anonymous said...

Actually Caroline Zhang placed 11 at nationals and score wise she scored a 160.+. Which is the best an 11placer ever score.