OUT NOW! A Guide to Grand Prix Assignments 2019/20




Grand Prix Assignments for the upcoming season will be released this June, and in the off-season, speculation is rife over which skaters and teams will be getting one or two spots (or maybe left out completely!). So let’s break it down a little…

Grand Prix Events

There are 6 Grand Prix events in the 2019/20 skating season, which conclude with the Grand Prix Final in Italy. (Season’s outline can be found here)

  • 2019 Skate America
  • 2019 Skate Canada
  • 2019 Internationaux de France
  • 2019 Cup of China
  • 2019 Rostelecom Cup (also known as Cup of Russia)
  • 2019 NHK Trophy

The question is, how is it decided which skaters attend the Grand Prix events in the first place? It’s not an exact formula – because the host federation of a Grand Prix chooses who they want to invite – so always be prepared for some surprises. However, we can make some predictions based on the rules that create the Selection Pool. 

Prize Money

The Global Prize Money per individual event of the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating is US$ 180,000.00 in 2019/2020.

Place Singles (prize money) Pairs / Ice Dance (prize money)
1st Place
US$ 18,000
US$ 18,000
2nd Place
US$ 13,000
US$ 13,000
3rd Place
US$ 9,000
US$ 9,000
4th Place
US$ 3,000
US$ 3,000
5th Place
US$ 2,000
US$ 2,000

Selection Pool

 The selection pool is divided into two types of skaters; seeded skaters, who can participate based on their great results in the previous year, and invited skaters. 


Invited Skaters and Seeded Skaters

Skaters get picked based on their finish at World Championships, their World Standings, and their Season’s Best total score. The amount of events they can attend (1 or 2) depends on the way they qualified.
  • Singles skaters who finish in the top 12 at the World Championships are guaranteed TWO spots, the top 6 skaters are called “Seeded Skaters”
  • Dance and Pairs teams who finish in the top 10 at the World Championships are guaranteed TWO spots, the top 6 are called “Seeded Skaters”
  • Everyone who is in the top 24 in the World Standings is guaranteed ONE spot 
  • Everyone who is in the in the top 24 Season’s Best total score list is guaranteed ONE spot

other invited Skaters:

The host countries (USA, Canada, Russia, China, Japan, and France) can invite up to 3 skaters per discipline who do not meet the requirement fulfilled by the seeded skaters.   

 There are a couple of rules associated with the skaters that are allowed to participate, which we will have a look at in the following point. 


 Only 3 skaters/teams (per discipline) from one country can participate in a Grand Prix.

 To compete in the Grand Prix circuit, skaters have to be 15 years old before July 1, 2019.
Since 2011 there is a minimum score requirement. Skaters who were invited by their own host country do not need to fulfil these requirements. 

Discipline Total Score
Ice Dance

Medalists from the Junior World Championships and the Junior Grand Prix Final champions, if moving up to the Senior field, will be included in the selection process, although spots are NOT explicitly guaranteed.

Other rules include: 

the “Comeback” rule (= skaters, who have previously been seeded #1-6 in a World Championship are pretty much guaranteed TWO GP spots, even if they skipped one or more seasons, if it is their first “comeback” and they commit to the ISU to participate in two Grand Prix events)

the “Split Couple” rule (= if a partnership ended but the couple were highly ranked, the skater’s new partnership can be invited based on the previous good results) 

the “Return Skater/Couple” rule (= for skaters who have skipped a season due to injury of other reasons)

Successful “Seeded” skaters are allowed to give a preference for the assignments they want to complete. However, skaters/teams who have been seeded from the World Championships spot #1-3 and #4-6 are in the same seeding group and cannot meet each other at the Grand Prix events. 

For example, if Zagitova attends the Russian Grand Prix, Tursynbaeva and Medvedeva cannot attend the same Grand Prix as her, or as each other. And if Sakamoto did the Japan Grand Prix, Miyahara and Kihira cannot attend that same Grand Prix as her or as each other.

Predictions 2019/2020


Men guaranteed TWO spots in the 2019/20 season:

  • Nathan Chen (USA)
  • Yuzuru Hanyu (Japan)
  • Vincent Zhou (USA)
  • Shoma Uno (Japan) 
  • Boyang Jin (China)
  • Mikhail Kolyada (Russia)
  • Matteo Rizzo (Italy)
  • Michal Brezina (Czech Republic)
  • Jason Brown (USA)
  • Andrei Lazukin (Russia)
  • Kevin Aymoz (France)
  • Alexander Samarin (Russia)

Seeded skaters in bold. 

Men guaranteed ONE spot in the 2019/20 season

  • Keegan Messing (Canada)
  • Deniss Vasiljevs (Latvia)
  • Morisi Kvitelashvili (Georgia)
  • Junhwan Cha (South Korea)
  • Sergei Voronov (Russia)
  • Javier Fernandez (Spain) [Retired]
  • Dmitri Aliev (Russia)
  • Daniel Grassl (Italy)
  • Keiji Tanaka (Japan)
  • Kazuki Tomono (Japan)
  • Alexei Krasnozhon (USA)
  • Alexei Bychenko (Israel)
  • Roman Savosin (Russia)
  • Camden Pulkinen (USA)
  • Nam Nguyen (Canada)
  • Maxim Kovtun (Russia) [Retired]
  • Tomoki Hiwatashi (USA)


Ladies guaranteed TWO spots in the 2019/20 season:
  • Alina Zagitova (Russia)
  • Elizabet Tursynbaeva (Kazakhstan)
  • Evgenia Medvedeva (Russia)
  • Rika Kihira (Japan)
  • Kaori Sakamoto (Japan)
  • Satoko Miyahara (Japan)
  • Bradie Tennell (USA)
  • Sofia Samodurova (Russia)
  • Mariah Bell (USA)
  • Eunsoo Lim (South Korea)
  • Gabrielle Daleman (Canada)
  • Loena Hendrickx (Belgium)

Seeded skaters in bold.

Ladies guaranteed ONE spot* in the 2019/20 season:

  • Mai Mihara (Japan)
  • Stanislava Konstantinova (Russia)
  • Wakaba Higuchi (Japan)
  • Elizaveta Tuktamysheva (Russia)
  • Yuna Shiraiwa (Japan)
  • Viveca Lindfors (Finland)
  • Alexia Paganini (Switzerland)
  • Alexandra Trusova (Russia)
  • Maria Sotskova (Russia)
  • Laurine Lecavelier (France)
  • Mako Yamashita (Japan)
  • Carolina Kostner (Italy) [unlikely to be taking part in the GP events]
  • Mae Berenice Meite (France)
  • Anna Shcherbakova (Russia)
  • Alena Kostornaia (Russia)
  • Serafima Sakhanovich (Russia)
  • Ting Cui (USA)
  • Anna Tarusina (Russia)
  • Anastasiia Gubanova (Russia)
  • Alena Kanysheva (Russia) [ineligible, too young to compete senior]
  • Yelim Kim (South Korea)

*However, as there are so many Russian ladies eligible for a spot, it’s possible not all of them will be assigned one. Host picks take precedence even before Seeded skaters wishes, and the federation has to choose to submit a skater for a spot in the Grand Prix events. There are currently 15 spots taken if every Russian lady guaranteed a spot is given one (or two), and only 18 spots eligible for Russian ladies in total across all Grand Prix events. It is possible not all of the Russian ladies will be submitted in the Grand Prix events to make room for more promising skaters eligibility for two spots.

Edit (11/06): Tarusina is listed on the Russian National team as a Junior, so we can assume she will not be taking her GP spot.


Pairs guaranteed TWO spots in the 2019/20 season:
  • Sui/Han (China)
  • Tarasova/Morozov (Russia)
  • Zabiiako/Enbert (Russia)
  • Peng/Jin (China)
  • James/Cipres (France)
  • Boikova/Kozlovskii (Russia)
  • Moore-Towers/Marinaro (Canada)
  • Della Monica/Guarise (Italy)
  • Cain-Gribble/LeDuc (USA)
  • Ziegler/Kiefer (Austria)

Seeded teams are bolded.

Pairs guaranteed ONE spot in the 2019/20 season:

  • Pavliuchenko/Khodykin (Russia)
  • Kayne/O’Shea (USA)
  • Scimeca Knierim/Knierim (USA)
  • Savchenko/Massot (Germany) [will not be participating]
  • Alexandrovskaya/Windsor (Australia)
  • Hase/Seegert (Germany)
  • Barquero/Maestu (Spain) [split]
  • Efimova/Korovin (Russia)
  • Hocke/Blommaert (Germany) [split]
  • Kostiukovich/Ialin (Russia)
  • Denney/Frazier (USA)
  • Ryom/Kim (North Korea)
  • Mishina/Galliamov (Russia)
  • Lu/Mitroganov (USA)
  • Panfilova/Rylov (Russia)
  • Akhanteva/Kolesov (Russia)
  • Stellato-Dudek/Bartholomay (USA) [split]
  • Walsh/Michaud (Canada)
  • Calalang/Johnson (USA)

Kostiukovich/Ialin, Akhanteva/Kolesov, and Panfilova/Rylov are staying Junior, freeing up their guaranteed spots to other teams.

Ice Dance

Ice dance teams guaranteed TWO spots in the 2019/20 season:
  • Papadakis/Cizeron (France)
  • Sinitsina/Katsalapov (Russia)
  • Hubbell/Donohue (USA)
  • Stepanova/Bukin (Russia)
  • Weaver/Poje (Canada) – See below
  • Chock/Bates (USA)
  • Gilles/Poirier (Canada)
  • Guignard/Fabbri (Italy)
  • Hawayek/Baker (USA)
  • Fournier-Beaudry/Sorenson (Canada)
[Note: As of 19th June, Weaver/Poje have announced they will not compete in the Grand Prix series. Therefore Gilles/Poirier are now seeded skaters. 

Seeded teams are bolded. 

Ice dance teams guaranteed ONE spot in the 2019/20 season:

  • Kaliszek/Spodyriev (Poland)
  • Wang/Liu (China)
  • Zagorski/Guerreiro (Russia)
  • Smart/Diaz (Spain)
  • McNamara/Carpenter (USA)
  • Lauriault/Le Gac (France)
  • Parsons/Parsons (USA) [split]
  • Hurtado/Khaliavin (Spain)
  • Soucisse/Firus (Canada)
  • Carreira/Ponomarenko (USA)
  • Virtue/Moir (Canada) [will not be taking part in the GP events]
  • Fear/Gibson (Great Britain)
  • Lajoie/Lagha (Canada)
  • Shevchenko/Eremenko (Russia)
  • Komatsubara/Koleto (Japan)
  • Skoptcova/Aleshin (Russia)
  • Evdokimova/Bazin (Russia)
  • Ushakova/Nekrasov (Russia)

Ushakova/Nekrasov are rumoured to be staying Junior, freeing up their spot to another team

There are 12 spots available in Singles at the Grand Prix events, 8 spots available for Pairs and 10 for Ice Dance. This means there are 72 spots available for the ladies and the men, 48 spots for Pairs teams and 60 for Ice Dance teams. There are many more spots available than skaters and teams mentioned above, but it gets a little harder to predict who will get spots the further down the lists you get. It’s also likely that some skaters and teams who are assigned spots will withdraw from the event as they get closer as teams can split up or skaters can become injured. This then means other skaters or teams will get invited in their place.


Grand Prix Final

The Grand Prix Final 2019/2020 will take place from  December 5 – 8, 2019 in Torino, Italy. You need to qualify during the Grand Prix circuit for the Final.


Qualification is pretty simple and depends on your performance in your one or two Grand Prix events. Because it is a points system, where each place gets awarded a certain amount of points, it is almost impossible to qualify with just one event. The six skaters or teams with the highest total points in each discipline can compete at Grand Prix Final.


Place Singles (points) Pairs / Ice Dance (points)
1st Place
2nd Place
3rd Place
4th Place
5th Place
6th Place
7th Place
8th Place

This system does not take into account the actual Total  Score a skater achieved at an event. As a result, skaters at a weaker event could get into the Final over skaters who had a higher Total Score at a more competitive event. 


Because of the nature of the points system, very often the results will end up in a tie. There are several rules on how to decide in these situations:

  • Highest place at a Grand Prix Event (a skater placing 1st and 4th beats a skater placing 2nd at both of his events)
  • Highest added up Total Score from both events (the total score of both events will be combined and compared)
  • Skaters who participated in 2 events over just 1 event will win the tie
  • Highest combined score in the Free Skate/ Dance in both events
  • Highest individual score in the Free Skate/ Dance from  one event
  • Highest combined score in the Short Skate/Dance from both events 
  • Highest individual score in the Short Skate/Dance at one event

Prize Money

The prize money you can win at the Grand Prix Final is higher compared to the individual events.  In 2019/2020 the Global Prize Money for the Grand Prix Final is U.S. $272,000.00

Place Singles (prize money) Pairs / Ice Dance (prize money)
1st Place
US$ 25,000
US$ 25,000
2nd Place
US$ 18,000
US$ 18,000
3rd Place
US$ 12,000
US$ 12,000
4th Place
US$ 6000
US$ 6000
5th Place
US$ 4000
US$ 4000
6th Place
US$ 3000
US$ 3000

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