The 2019 Grand Prix assignments have been announced. Retirements, partner changes, and those sitting out this Grand Prix season, have opened spots for those who may not have otherwise been able to secure an assignment, as well as those who will make the leap into the senior ranks next season.
New faces will grace the six stages this season, particularly in the ladies fields with newly-minted seniors: Yuhana Yokoi of Japan, Russia′s Alexandra Trusova, Anna Scherbakova and Alena Kostornaia (Russia has 18 ladies spots in this season’s Series, and will field three in each of the six competitions), Ting Cui of the U.S., Yelim Kim and Young You of Korea and China′s Hongyi Chen.
In the men′s discipline, Japan′s Koshiro Shimada, Conrad Orzel of Canada, Camden Pulkinen and Tomoki Hiwatashi of the U.S., and Russia′s Roman Savosin and Anton Shulepov will all make their debuts on the senior Grand Prix circuit this season.
Canada′s newest pairs team of Lubov Ilyushechkina and Charlie Bilodeau will make their debut at Skate Canada. New kids on the senior block in pairs are reigning World Junior champions Anastasia Mishina and Aleksandr Galliamov of Russia.
The ice dance, Canada′s Marjorie Lajoie and Zachary Lagha, the 2019 World junior ice dance champions, will make their senior debut at Skate Canada. Caroline Green and Michael Parson of the U.S. will also make their debut in Kelowna. Green formerly skated with her brother and Parsons with his sister. Both partners retired at the end of last season and Green and Parsons teamed up in the spring.
Eyes down for the Grand Prix The new Grand Prix season promises to be one to savour with the three Russian youngsters, Kihira, Zagitova and Evgenia Medvedeva among those vying for top honours.
Schcherbakova makes her Grand Prix debut at Skate America in Las Vegas next weekend with Tuktamysheva and Korea's Eunsoo Lim among her rivals.
Trusova and Kihira line up alongside reigning European champion Sofia Samodurova at Skate Canada a week later in Kelowna, British Columbia.
Kostornaia takes on PyeongChang 2018 gold medallist Zagitova when she makes her Grand Prix bow in November's Internationaux de France with the pair also scheduled to compete in the NHK Trophy where Kihira defends her title.
The top six in the standings after the six regular season events will go through the December's Grand Prix Final in Turin, Italy.
2019/20 ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating season calendar October 18-20 - Skate America, Las Vegas
October 25-27 - Skate Canada, Kelowna, British Columbia
NBC Sports will present wall-to-wall coverage of the 2019-20 figure skating season, featuring more than 80 hours of coverage between October and April. Every skate from the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series (including Skate America), ISU World Championships, ISU Four Continents Championships and the ISU European Championships will be available live and commercial-free with the Figure Skating Pass from NBC Sports Gold.
It starts with the Grand Prix series coverage, with Skate America beginning Oct. 18-20 in Las Vegas.
Coverage on NBC and NBCSN is live streamed on NBCSports.com, and the NBC Sports app. Coverage on Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA is available on OlympicChannel.com, the Olympic Channel app, NBCSports.com, and the NBC Sports app.
You can watch the events from the 2019-20 figure skating season live and on-demand with the ‘Figure Skating Pass’ on NBC Sports Gold. Go to NBCsports.com/gold/figure-skating to sign up for access to every ISU Grand Prix and championship event, as well as domestic U.S. Figure Skating events throughout the season. NBC Sports Gold gives subscribers an unprecedented level of access on more platforms and devices than ever before.
Date ISU Grand Prix Series Time (ET) Network Oct. 19 Skate America 12 – 2 a.m. NBCSN (live) Skate America 6 – 8 p.m. NBCSN (live) Oct. 20 Skate America 1 – 3 a.m. NBCSN Skate America 12 – 1 p.m. NBC Oct. 26 Skate America 4:30 – 6 p.m. NBC Oct. 27 Skate Canada 4:30 – 6 p.m. NBC Nov. 3 Grand Prix France 4 – 6 p.m. NBC Nov. 10 Grand Prix China 12 – 1:30 p.m. NBC Nov. 17 Grand Prix Russia 12 – 1:30 p.m. NBC Nov. 24 Grand Prix Japan 4 – 6 p.m. NBC Dec. 6 Grand Prix Final 9 – 11 p.m. NBCSN Dec. 7 Grand Prix Final 9 – 11 p.m. NBCSN Dec. 22 Grand Prix Final 4 – 6 p.m. NBC Date U.S. Championships – Greensboro Time (ET) Network Jan. 23 Pairs’ short program 5 – 7 p.m. NBCSN (live) Ladies’ short program 9 – 11 p.m. NBCSN (live) Jan. 24 Rhythm dance 5 – 6 p.m. NBCSN (live) Ladies’ free skate 8 – 11 p.m. NBC (live) Jan. 25 Men’s short program 2:30 – 4:30 p.m. NBC (live) Free dance & pairs’ free skate 8 – 11 p.m. NBCSN (live) Jan. 26 Men’s free skate 3 – 6 p.m. NBC (live) Feb. 2 Skating Spectacular 4 – 6 p.m. NBC Date ISU Championships Time (ET) Network Jan. 22 European Champs: Men’s short 11:30 p.m. – 1:30 a.m. NBCSN Jan. 23 European Champs: Men’s free 7 – 9 p.m. NBCSN Jan. 24 European Champs: Ladies’ short 11 p.m. – 1 a.m. NBCSN Jan. 26 European Champs: Ladies’ free 10 p.m. – 12 a.m. NBCSN Feb. 1 European Champs: Men’s and ladies’ free 3 – 5 p.m. NBC Feb. 6 Four Continents: Ladies’ short 3 – 5 p.m. NBCSN Feb. 7 Four Continents: Free dance 7:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. NBCSN Four Continents: Men’s short 11 p.m. – 1 a.m. NBCSN Feb. 8 Four Continents: Ladies’ free 7 – 9 p.m. NBCSN Feb. 9 Four Continents: Ladies & men’s free 4 – 6 p.m. NBC Men’s free 11 p.m. – 1 a.m. NBCSN March 18 World Championships: Pairs’ short 12:30 – 2:30 p.m. NBCSN (live) March 19 World Championships: Ladies’ short 6 – 8 p.m. NBCSN World Championships: Pairs’ free 8 – 10 p.m. NBCSN (live) World Championships: Men’s short 10 p.m. – 12 a.m. NBCSN March 20 World Championships: Rhythm dance 6 – 8 p.m. NBCSN World Championships: Ladies’ free 8 – 10 p.m. NBCSN (live) March 21 World Championships: Ladies’ free 1 – 3 p.m. NBC World Championships: Men’s free 9 – 11 p.m. NBC (live) March 22 World Championships: Free dance 4 – 6 p.m. NBCSN April 12 Season Recap Show 4 – 6 p.m. NBC
Nathan Chen competes this weekend in an attempt to win his third straight Skate America title, the first stop on the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating for the 2019-20 season.
There will also be a free trial of the subscription service during Skate America, taking place in Las Vegas. The free trial includes exclusive live coverage of practices and warm-ups starting Thursday, Oct. 17 through Saturday, Oct. 19. NBC Sports Gold’s “Practice Cam” presents live coverage of practice beginning Thursday at 1 p.m. ET. NBC Sports Gold will stream coverage live and on-demand, to desktops, mobile, tablets, and connected TV devices.
Chen hasn’t lost a Grand Prix event since his silver medal finish at the 2016 Grand Prix Final. And he’s undefeated since his fifth place finish in PyeongChang. Now a sophomore at Yale University, Chen will face challenges from countryman Jason Brown, South Korea’s Cha Junhwan, and China’s Jin Boyang.
The ladies’ field features Japan’s Kaori Sakamoto, who captured silver at Skate America in 2018, as well as 2017 and 2018 U.S. national champions Karen Chen and Bradie Tennell. Chen, who began her freshman year at Cornell this fall, returns to major international competition after missing last season with an injury.
Plus, Russian junior Anna Shcherbakova makes her senior-level Grand Prix debut after she won the 2019 Russian national championships (at the senior level, despite her junior status at the time) and silver at the world junior championships. Shcherbakova has landed quad Lutz in competition.
Madison Hubbell and Zach Donohue can lead the U.S. to its 11th straight Skate America ice dance title. Russia’s Aleksandra Stepanova (returning from an injury) and Ivan Bukin, fourth at last year’s world championships behind Hubbell and Donohue’s bronze by a slim 1.88 points, are also in the field.
Reigning U.S. national champions Ashley Cain-Gribble and Timothy LeDuc will compete in pairs after winning bronze at last year’s Skate America. The biggest threats in the pairs competition will likely come from Cheng Peng and Yang Jin of China and Daria Pavliuchenko and Denis Khodykin of Russia.
Skate America TV/Stream schedule (all times ET)
Thursday 1 p.m. – Practice camera – STREAM LINK
Friday 10:15 a.m. – Practice camera – STREAM LINK 4 p.m. – Pairs short program – STREAM LINK 5:30 p.m. – Men’s short program – STREAM LINK 10 p.m. – Rhythm dance – STREAM LINK
Saturday 12 a.m. – Ladies’ short program – STREAM LINK, Live on NBCSN 4:15 p.m. – Pairs free skate – STREAM LINK 6 p.m. – Men’s free skate – STREAM LINK, Live on NBCSN 10 p.m. – Free dance – STREAM LINK
Sunday 12 a.m. – Ladies’ free skate – STREAM LINK, Live on NBCSN (beginning at 1 a.m.)
As a reminder, you can watch the events from the 2019-20 figure skating season live and on-demand with the ‘Figure Skating Pass’ on NBC Sports Gold. Check out a free trial of the Figure Skating Pass during Skate America from Oct. 18-20. Go to NBCsports.com/gold/figure-skating to sign up for access to every ISU Grand Prix and championship event, as well as domestic U.S. Figure Skating events throughout the season. NBC Sports Gold gives subscribers an unprecedented level of access on more platforms and devices than ever before.
The ice dance contest is perhaps the most interesting in Vegas, with two fierce rivals who finished third and fourth at the last world championships. Bronze medallists Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue had to fight their way from fourth after the short program, while Russians Alexandra Stepanova and Ivan Bukin dropped one spot. Skate America is the perfect event to pick up where they left off.
Although the teams are well matched in terms of skills and presentation, for my money, the Americans are somehow more substantial. Hubbell and Donohue's ability to assume a character — rather than simply performing one — gives them the edge in performance. It's also brought them a pair of medals at worlds.
Skate America, the opening event, kicks off on Friday at 4 p.m. ET in Las Vegas with a full slate of top-level competitors. And you can also catch live coverage of every Grand Prix event, excluding Skate Canada, on CBCSports.ca. Tune in on Sundays for CBC Sports' That Figure Skating Show, hosted by retired skaters Dylan Moscovitch and Asher Hill.