First Impressions: Grand Prix Assignments 2021/22

With the annual mess of Grand Prix assignments having dropped earlier today, we noted some of our first thoughts and reactions to the events and participants. 

©International Skating Union (ISU)

Skate America

  • Could Yaroslav get the host spot? Officially been released and a nationals medal is a good case
  • Ladies host spot: Audrey Shin is more likely but Lindsay Thorngren has already started competing. Both training 3a’s
  • Battle of the Madison’s: A surprising choice considering Chock/Bates and Hubbell/Donohue don’t usually face each other at Grand Prix events
  • Liu/O’Shea to make their debut and have already announced their Short Program
  • The scores for Boikova/Kozlovskii and Tarasova/Morozov will be very interesting to watch 
  • Wonder if there will be a problem for Russians to get into America with the visa restrictions.  Zagorski/Guerreiro and Morozov/Bagin assigned spots that may be because it’s easier for them to travel.
  • Dance TBA spot could go to McNamara/Spiridonov? Cesanek/Yehorov had a better nationals placement. Or Pate/Bye. Will likely come down to either summer domestic or early challengers. 
  • Ladies with 3a – Amber, Young, Alexandra? Kseniia? Daria?? 
  • Ladies with quads – Alexandra. Young and Kseniia have trained quads in the past. 
  • Samsonov senior debut

Skate Canada

  • What a line up
  • Most competitive ladies field in the calendar 
  • Two newly senior Russian ice dance teams: Davis/Smolkin and Shanaeva/Naryzhnyy. Interesting that Davis/Smolkin got a spot over Shevchenko/Eremenko
  • Host spot for men has gone to Nicolas Nadeau the past few years. Several options: Conrad Orzel, Joseph Phan, Stephen Gogolev, Corey Circelli
  • Very competitive pairs competition, despite only one Russian pair assigned. James/Radford Grand Prix debut. 
  • Ladies with 3a – Wakaba, Rika, Elizaveta, Kamila, Alysa – Alena?
  • ( Scott Moir as a coach! )
  • 3rd place ice dance should be interesting. 
  • Fun fact: Zoe Jones is the oldest competitor here at 41, and Kamila Valieva will be the youngest at 15. 

Cup of China

  • Mai Mihara! 
  • Crazy to think that 3 seasons ago Sofia Samodurova was the European Champion 
  • Maiia Khromykh senior debut
  • Papadakis/Cizeron, Hubbell/Donohue and Stepanova/Bukin should be the dance podium but Wang/Liu could be a surprising 3rd, or very close to, if scored right.
  • Loena Hendrickx medal potential 
  • Boyang’s only Grand Prix spot
  • Artemeva/Nazarychev officially moving to senior this season

NHK Trophy

  • Seoyeong Wi’s senior debut (and 3!!! Korean ladies spots)
  • Olga Mikutina Grand Prix debut after an amazing Worlds outing
  • Lucas Tsuyoshi Honda could get the host spot, he won junior nationals last year and placed 3rd at NHK Trophy. 
  • Rino Matsuike could get the other host spot. She was on the reserve team for 2021 Worlds.
  • The blank ice dance host spot is interesting but should go to Komatsubara/Koleto. The new team of Ayumi Takanami/Shingo Nishiyama are competing as seniors so they could contest the spot. Fukase/Cho were 3rd at nationals and could also get the spot. 
  • Again, the scoring between Mishina/Galliamov and Tarasova/Morozov will be interesting to compare.
  • Sinitsina/Katsalapov and Chock/Bates should finish on the podium. Based on scoring from the past couple of seasons and not just 2021 Worlds along, third place is up for grabs between Wang/Liu, Fear/GIbson, Hurtado/Khaliavin and Hawayek/Baker.

Internationaux de France

  • Mens host spot could be either Romain Ponsart, Adrien Tesson or Landry Le May. 
  • Pairs host spot could easily belong to Keriven/Pierre. Camille Kovalev/Pavel Kovalev were the 3rd pairs team at Master’s de Patinage
  • Ice dance host pick could be between Lopareva/Brissaud or Julia Wagret/Pierre Souquet-Basiege. 
  • Excited to see Starr Andrews again!
  • Good ladies competition 
  • The men’s podium is a bit more open. Early guesses include a combination of Yuma and Jason. 

Rostelecom Cup

  • The return of Elizabet Tursynbaeva! 
  • Hope Shevchenko/Eremenko get the host pick but unfortunately wouldn’t be surprised if it goes to another team. 
  • Mens host pick should hopefully be Mark Kondratiuk. He’s the reigning national bronze medalist and has added more quads to his arsenal. 
  • Ladies host pick is between a few people: Khromykh, Nugumanova, Guliakova?
  • After some injuries last season, really excited for Kazakova/Reviya
  • Very happy Maxim Naumov has a spot.
  • Should be an easy win for Sinitsina/Katsalapov, but expect solid outings from Guignard/Fabbri and Fournier Beaudry/Sorensen

Other general thoughts:

  • No Calalang/Johnson. Were tagged in a picture on June 11 and received Short Program choreography in April from Benoit Richaud.
  • No Panfilova/Rylov. Rylov apparently had surgery in April with a long recovery time, so there’s a chance they won’t compete this season. 
  • No Shevchenko/Eremenko or Khudaiberdieva/Bazin. Shevchenko/Eremenko have a higher place in the world standings, so not sure why exactly they haven’t gotten any assignments, especially when Davis/Smolkin (to our understanding) don’t fit the criteria for a spot, with a lower World ranking, season best score, and no medal at JGPF or Junior Worlds.
  • Excited that Jones/Boyadji have a spot, and hope training is easier for them this season. They were off the ice for so long and only had a limited amount of training before going to Worlds. 
  • The scoring between Hubbell/Donohue and Chock/Bates will be interesting to follow all season
  • Very excited to see 9 spots assigned to Korean ladies across all events! They suffered majorly during the pandemic season with only Young able to go to NHK Trophy and Haein and Yelim assigned to Worlds.
  • Likewise the scoring of the top 4 Russian pairs internationally, leading up to Nationals and Olympic selection
  • Will this be the season Sinitsina/Katsalapov win against Papadakis/Cizeron? Scoring wise, they’ve been on a rising path but before the Olympics they’ll likely face each other at the Grand Prix Final and Europeans. 

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