Skate Canada is the second stop in the Grand Prix circuit and the final competition before leaving North America and moving on to another part of the world. Skate Canada takes off this Friday, October 31 in Kelowna, British Columbia. There are some tough competitors coming into this event, so what should you watch for? Here’s what to keep your eye on.
Which lady will bring consistency and fully rotated jumps to the table?
There are some tough competitors set to compete in the ladies field, yet what it will come down to is who can get the job done. Ashley Wagner could very well win Skate Canada, but she will have to not only hit her jumps, she will have to fully rotate each jump in order to rack up the points so that her score stays strong. In many ways, how Ashley does in this event will set the pace for her internationally this season. If she cannot get out on top now, it is doubtful that she will be able to pull up as the season progresses.
Satoko Miyahara, from Japan just took home the win from the Lombardia Trophy only a few weeks ago and could very well do the same here if she can stay on target. And of course there are the Russians, Anna Pogorilaya and Alena Leonova. Pogorilaya is one of the more consistent skaters, yet her artistry is lacking, but if everyone else falters she might just find herself on the podium. Finally, American Courtney Hicks, could be in the mix if she can nail her jumps and does not allow her nerves to get the best of her.
Which man can shrug off last season?
Many expect Javier Fernandez to take the win at Skate Canada, but he had a very slow start to the season last year and coming off of an Olympic Games it will be interesting to see where he is at with his training. Fernandez is the reigning world bonze medalist and has some incredible quads, so if there has been no fallout from this post-Olympic season he could definitely take the gold, but it all depends on where he is at physically and mentally.
American, Max Aaron is eager to prove that he belongs on the international circuit and has a great technical ability yet his nerves and overthinking seems to be a real deterrent for him. The question for Max, is after missing the Olympic Team and not performing well at worlds, can he come back strong this season and start fresh? The same goes for Japanese skaters, Takahito Mura and Takahiko Kozuka who also missed making the Olympic Team. Mura had a solid start to his season at the Japan Open a few weeks ago, so he could very well be on the podium, but Kozuka had a tough skate at the Japan Open that will be very difficult for him to shake.
Two more Americans anxious to get back into the spotlight, Adam Rippon and Stephen Carriere, will need to skate cleanly in order to gain some momentum and put them back on track for this season.
Which pair team will take the silver and bronze?
The favorites to win the pairs event is Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford and barring any major mistakes, they should easily be able to take the gold in this event. It will be exciting to see if they include their quad throw into their program and they are always a great pair to watch, but really this event will be about which pair team emerges and really shines amongst the rest, besides Duhamel and Radford.
Many eyes will be on Kirsten Moore-Towers as she competes with her new partner Michael Marinaro for the first time on the Grand Prix circuit. They have only been together for a few months, yet there has to be a lot of pressure on this team since Moore-Towers was fifth at the Olympics and fourth at worlds with her previous partner, Dylan Moscovitch, and fans were thrown when they decided to part ways.
Wenjing Sui and Cong Han could very well be contenders, but they are still growing and developing as a team, so it will be interesting to see where they are at this season and if they have the goods to really be in that top field just yet. Russians, Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov, are just coming onto the scene this season along with American Madeline Aaron and Max Settelage. The silver and bronze are up for grabs and it is anyone’s game.
Will an ice dance team step up and create a memorable moment?
It is no secret that everyone expects Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje to take the gold at Skate Canada. With Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir not competing this season, it is really their time and they have worked so hard and hopefully they will be able to enjoy this moment.
When it comes to the silver and bronze, just like in pairs, it is up for grabs. Americans Alexandra Aldridge and Daniel Eaton as well as Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue could very well find themselves on the podium. Canadians, Elisabeth Paradis and Francois-Xavier Ouellette, who came in fourth at Skate America last weekend could also be in the mix. For these teams, it will not only be about skating clean, it will be about becoming memorable. With Davis and White and Virtue and Moir out of the picture for now, these teams will need to work hard to make a statement to the judges as well as the fans, that they are a team worth watching.
Skate Canada seems full of skaters who either made the Olympic Team and are still competing this season, newcomers making their Grand Prix debuts or skaters who missed the Olympic Team and are back trying to prove themselves. Either way it makes for a very interesting event that will be chock full of ups and downs and unexpected moments.