Updates to the Grand Prix Roster

Russia and Canada name previous TBA host entries; two withdrawals and one significant replacement.

It was a surprisingly quiet summer when it came to the Grand Prix rosters. Even when they came out early, there wasn’t the usual pattern of withdrawals and replacements you often see after they come out. Late in August, Japan filled one of their previously open host spots at the NHK Trophy, giving the men’s berth to Hiroaki Sato, a relative unknown who was eighth at Japanese Nationals last year. Otherwise, not much change.

But this week that changed, with two federations filling in their TBA third host slots. And sadly, we also had a couple of withdrawals.

Russian and Canadian Host Invites

Having seen all their skaters do their programs, the Russian federation has now decided how to fill three of the four open host slots at the Rostelecom Cup. Andrei Lazukin will get to make his Grand Prix debut, while Sofia Evdokimova & Egor Bazin will also have their home event as their only appearance for the second year in a row. The pairs spot went to Kristina Astakhova & Alexei Rogonov, who were the obvious choice from the time they only got one assignment initially. Their ladies spot did not get filled; most of Russia’s top ladies, including all the ones at the test skate, have two events already. They’ll fill it later, perhaps looking at the results of their internal events.

When the ISU officially updated the rosters to reflect those assignments, those weren’t the only TBAs filled. Skate Canada has also filled the three open host spots of their event of the same name. The two singles spots both went to those who were fourth at Canadian Nationals last year, Nicolas Nadeau and Larkyn Austman; the latter was especially the obvious choice. The pairs spot went to Sydney Kolodziej & Maxime Deschamps, who were sixth at Canadian Nationals.

Two Withdrawals

The highest profile skaters to make it onto their first Grand Prix circuit this week, however, were Americans Ashley Cain & Timothy LeDuc. The TBA spots at Skate America remain unfilled, but the good news is, they got a spot at Cup of China. The field there is such that they could easily end up in a six-way battle for bronze behind the top two Chinese pairs. They might well win it, if they land their ambitious elements.

The bad news is, it’s as replacements for fellow Americans Tarah Kayne & Danny O’Shea. No immediate reason has been given for their withdrawal from their only event. The most likely explanation is the major injury and surgery she was still coming back from as of July. O’Shea noted then they weren’t rushing things, and they might have judged getting ready for China as not worth the risk.

The other withdrawal is another skater who had only one event, in this case Ivett Toth from the Rostelecom Cup. That was already reported as likely to happen a month ago. That was after she’d had to have foot surgery after a freak accident going down the stairs. She was then hoping to be back for another competition at the end of November. Luckily she qualified an Olympic berth for Hungary at Worlds, and is unchallenged for it within the country, so she doesn’t have to worry about any of that. Her replacement hasn’t been named yet, but is unlikely to be a factor in this field.

Final Junior Grand Prix Roster

The Junior Grand Prix series may be off this week, but the roster for the final event in Italy came out. Not that it necessarily means all that much, since a lot of the major entries may be changed. Russia and the U.S. are now both changing things around, based on what happened at the first three events.

Unusually, the final event will only have singles and ice dance. The men’s roster currently includes Andrew Torgashev, as well as Egor Murashov, who won bronze at his first event. The ladies’ roster currently pits Rika Kihira against Latvia winner Daria Panenkova and Brisbane silver medalist Anastasiia Guliakova. The dance roster currently includes Brisbane winners Sofia Polishchuk & Alexander Vakhnov and Latvia winners Sofia Shevchenko & Igor Efremenko.

Taking place in Italy this week is the Lombardia Trophy, one of the first two events of the Challenge Series, the more minor fall circuit for the senior level. The other is the U.S. International Classic in Utah. They both conclude today.

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