The fourth event of the 2021 Grand Prix Series, NHK Trophy, takes place in Tokyo, Japan, Nov. 12-14. This is an important competition for those hoping to secure a place at the Grand Prix Final in Osaka in December.
Yuzuru Hanyu had planned to kick off his third Olympic campaign at this competition, but a few days after telling a Japanese broadcaster in early November that ″my biggest wish is to succeed with landing the quad Axel at NHK,″ the Japanese superstar suffered a fall in a training session that forced him to withdraw from the event. That leaves the field of 11 wide open for other podium challengers, which includes the American Vincent Zhou who is on a winning streak this season, capturing the Cranberry Cup International and Skate America titles in runaway victories and Shoma Uno of Japan, the silver medalist in Las Vegas.
The women′s field is loaded with talent. Three of those competing will be in a rematch from Skate America, including two of the top four finishers: Young You and Kaori Sakamoto. Amber Glenn, sixth in Las Vegas, will be joined by her teammate Alysa Liu, who finished fifth at Skate Canada International. Rika Kihira and Alexandra Trusova, who are both recovering from foot injuries, have withdrawn. Daria Usacheva suffered an injury in the warm up for the short program and was forced to withdraw, leaving nine women in the field. A press release from the Russian federation noted she has been diagnosed with a ligament rupture of one of the muscles in her right leg in the growth area of the femur.
Russia′s Anastasia Mishina and Alexander Galliamov are the top-ranked team in the pairs discipline (which is down to seven teams). They will likely be in a battle for gold with teammates Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov who will be looking to repeat the first-place result they achieved in Las Vegas. The hometown team of Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara, second at Skate America, will also be chasing a step on the podium in Tokyo.
In ice dance, Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov lead the way. Their main rivals will be the American team of Madison Chock and Evan Bates. One of the highlights of this competition will be the battle between the two Japanese teams, Kana Muramoto and Daisuke Takahashi and Misato Komatsubara and Tim Koleto. Kaitlyn Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker withdrew on Nov. 7. Hawayek is recovering from a concussion suffered during a training session. Nine teams are currently scheduled to compete.
NBC will air a two-hour recap of the competition on Nov. 14 from 4-6 p.m. EST.