It all comes down to the wire at Rostelecom Cup, the final stop on the 2021 Grand Prix circuit, which will be held at the Iceberg Skating Palace — the 2014 Olympic venue — in Sochi, Russia, Nov. 26–28. This marks the first time in 16 years that Moscow has not hosted the competition.
Rostelecom Cup would have completed the circle for Japan′s Yuzuru Hanyu, who contested this event in his first season on the senior circuit 11 years earlier. After withdrawing from NHK Trophy in early November due to ligament tears in his right ankle, the Japanese federation announced on Nov. 17 that Hanyu had also withdrawn from this competition to allow his injury to fully heal. Maxim Naumov of the U.S. also withdrew citing injury.
Mikhail Kolyada, the silver medalist at the Italian Grand Prix, will be joined by two young guns: Evgeni Semenenko, the bronze medalist at Skate Canada and Mark Kondratiuk, whose third-place finish at Nebelhorn Trophy secured a third spot for his nation at the 2022 Olympic Games. Australia′s Brendan Kerry, who trains full time in Russia, was added to the roster following Hanyu′s withdrawal.
This competition will mark the conclusion of Michal Březina′s 11-year Grand Prix career. Regardless of where he places, he will be celebrated in Sochi not only by his family, friends and the audience in attendance, but also by countless fans around the globe.
In the women′s event, Russia′s Kamila Valieva and Elizaveta Tuktamysheva will go head-to-head for the third time this season (previously, Finlandia Trophy and Skate Canada International). They will be joined by Maiia Khromykh, the 2021 Budapest Trophy and Warsaw Cup champion and the silver medalist at the Gran Premio D′Italia. Canada′s Madeline Schizas, Mariah Bell of the U.S. and Japan′s Rino Matsuike are the only non-Europeans entered for this competition.
Reigning World pairs champions Anastasia Mishina and Alexander Galliamov of Russia, the victors at the Grand Prix stop in Japan, are the top team in this not so strong pairs field. They will be joined by Daria Pavliuchenko and Denis Khodykin, the bronze medalists at Skate Canada International.
In ice dance, Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov should face no challenge for the ice dance crown. The other two steps of the podium are up for grabs.