The 2021 Grand Prix Series opens with Skate America in Las Vegas, Nevada, Oct. 22-24.
With the U.S. Embassy in Moscow now only issuing diplomatic visas, skaters, coaches and officials had to go to Tashkent, Uzbekistan in early October to obtain a U.S. travel visa for this competition. The visas were reportedly issued on Oct. 7.
Daniil Samsonov of Russia and Yaroslav Paniot of the U.S. were originally slated to compete in Las Vegas, but both withdrew a couple of weeks prior to the competition. No reasons given for the withdrawals. Jimmy Ma was assigned to Paniot′s spot. Russian ice dancers Tiffani Zagorski and Jonathan Guerreiro also withdrew. In an interview with a Russian press agency, Guerreiro said his partner had been admitted to an infectious diseases hospital. We are told it is not COVID-19 related. Bradie Tennell of the U.S. withdrew on Oct. 18 due to a foot injury. Starr Andrews was named to the team as her replacement.
With Nathan Chen headlining the men′s event the odds are the battle in this discipline will be for the second and third steps of the podium. Top contenders include Vincent Zhou of the U.S., Japan′s Shoma Uno, Czech star Michal Březina and Kévin Aymoz of France.
The women′s competition is likely to be dominated by Russia′s Alexandra Trusova who will come armed with a quint of quads. Ksenia Sinitsyna will also be attempting at least one four-revolution jump in her free program. Other potential medalists include Kaori Sakamoto of Japan and South Korea’s Young You.
Who will twirl away with the pairs title is anyone′s guess. Aleksandra Boikova and Dmitrii Kozlovskii, the reigning World bronze medalists have to be a top favorites along with Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov and Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier of the U.S. If Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara of Japan skate as well as they did at Autumn Classic they will also challenge for a step on the podium.
In ice dance, the top two American teams, Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue and Madison Chock and Evan Bates, will be in a battle for gold. Canada′s Laurence Fournier Beaudry and Nikolaj Sørensen will also be in the hunt for a podium finish.
U.S. Figure Skating has published a Digital Program for fans who cannot attend the event in person.