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The final event of the 2018 Grand Prix Series will be a nail-biter. Last chance. Last dance. Go big or go home will be the mantra for those on the edge of capturing one of the few remaining berths at the Grand Prix Final.
Three places are already confirmed in the ladies disciplines. Five strong podium contenders will battle it out in Grenoble: Japan’s Rika Kihira and Mai Mihara, Russia’s Evgenia Medvedeva and Stanislava Konstantinova, and Bradie Tennell of the U.S.
Kihira ranks highest with 15 points to her credit after winning NHK Trophy two weeks ago. With 24 points being the bottom line for ladies qualification this season, Kihira needs to finish top four to qualify. Mihara and Tennell, who both have 9 points, would need to win this competition. Medvedeva (11 points) will automatically qualify with a victory. If she places second, she would need a higher combined score than that of Japan’s Kaori Sakamoto (24 points – 411.32). The same scoring process applies to Konstantinova (13 points) if she ranks third in Grenoble. A second-place finish will guarantee her a berth in Vancouver.
In the men’s discipline, Nathan Chen of the U.S. (15 points) needs to place top four to secure a berth at the Final. Russia’s Alexander Samarin (9 points) can finish no lower than second. China’s Boyang Jin (7 points) would have to win the competition.
There are only two places up for grabs in pairs. Vanessa James and Morgan Ciprès of France (15 points) need a top four finish. If Russia’s Aleksandra Boikova and Dmitrii Kozlovskii (9 points) take silver, they will earn a berth. If they are third, their teammates, Daria Pavliuchenko and Denis Khodykin (22 points), will head to the Final.
Three spots are open in ice dance. As Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron withdrew from NHK Trophy they are ineligible to earn a place at the Grand Prix Final. That opens the door for three contenders: Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker of the U.S. (15 points) need a podium finish; Russia’s Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov (13 points) are guaranteed a spot with a second-place result. If they finish third, they will need a higher score than Russia’s Tiffani Zagorski and Jonathan Guerreiro (24 points – 364.43). Canada’s Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier (11 points) need to win and/or place second with the same criteria as the Russian team.
With so much on the line for so many, expect some serious showdowns in France.
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