Alina Zagitova, the 2017 World junior champion was unbeatable on the junior circuit last season. How will she fare in her senior debut against a number of veterans, including her teammates Radionova and Elizaveta Tuktamysheva? Throw reigning World bronze medalist Gabrielle Daleman from Canada and Japan’s Mai Mihara into the mix…and this could be a very exciting competition.
The same goes for the men. China’s Boyang Jin and Javier Fernández are set to battle it out once again. Jin won the contest at 2017 Worlds by capturing the bronze medal ahead of the Spanish star, but can he come out on top again? Russian champion, Mikhail Kolyada, will be looking for a better result in Beijing than at his first competition in Moscow and could be the dark horse in the medal conversation.
Though we have not seen China’s Wenjing Sui and Cong Han in competition until now, if the 2017 World pairs champions are up to par, they should win this event without any serious challenge. Valentina Marchei and Ondřej Hotárek of Italy and Canada’s Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro are strong contenders for second and third. Moore-Towers and Marinaro, who will be chasing one of three Olympic berths in January, will be looking for to kick off their season with a strong showing at their first Grand Prix event.
French stars Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron will likely twizzle to ice dance gold, with Russia’s Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitry Solovyev and the American team of Madison Chock and Evan Bates battling it out for silver and bronze. The U.S. is fielding two new senior teams at this event: Lorraine McNamara and Quinn Carpenter and Elliana Pogrebinsky and Alex Benoit.
There were some late changes to the ladies and pairs rosters for this competition. China’s Zijun Li and Anna Dušková and Martin Bidař of the Czech Republic were removed from the line-ups on Nov. 1.
Press Release from Czech Federation:
Anna Dušková and Martin Bidař have to postpone their premiere in the Grand Prix competitions until next season. Anna was injured in a warm-up session and will undergo surgery for a torn ligament in her knee. There is no start to the European Championships. Coach Horkl and the couple will try to co-operate with physicians and physiotherapists so they can compete at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
We hold our hands for surgery and subsequent rehabilitation to take place without any problems, and Anna and Martin can fulfill their Olympic dream!