May 21, 2012
Grand Prix Assignments 2012-2013: Men and Ladies
The Grand Prix assignments for the 2012-2013 season have been released! Some observations/speculations for the men's and ladies' assignments:
-Johnny Weir actually appears to be somewhat serious about coming back, and managed to wrangle for himself two GP events: Rostelecom Cup and Trophee Eric Bompard. Mr. Weir has zero chances of winning at Rostelecom Cup and merely an infinitesimal chance to do so at Trophee Eric Bompard, though. Outside shot at the podium for both, though more so at Paris than at Moscow.
-in other news on the comeback front, neither Evan Lysacek and Evgeni Plushenko received official assignments, although both Skate America and Rostelecom Cup have TBA host pick spots. There's still the (hopefully distant) possibility that Mr. Lysacek may return and claim his host pick spot at Skate America, but Patrick Chan's presence in Moscow at the GP next year should all but guarantee that Mr. Plushenko will not skate in the GP next year. There's no point of losing to Mr. Chan on home territory if it could be avoided....
-the most boring GP event next year for the men should be the Cup of China. Utter cakewalk for Daisuke Takahashi barring a complete meltdown, as Brian Joubert has not looked on form early in the season for the past couple of seasons, and most of the other skaters are somewhat lacking in the PCS department (Kevin Reynolds, Nan Song, Artur Dmitriev Jr., Jinlin Guan, Samuel Contesti, etc.)
-it's not a surprise that someone like Jason Brown would stay in juniors as he's not very competitive on the senior level with his current jump repertoire, but it's somewhat puzzling that Han Yan and (to a lesser extent) Joshua Farris are going to stay junior. Perhaps Mr. Farris is staying junior due to the fairly deep US men's field, but it doesn't seem to make much sense for Mr. Yan to do the same.
-the most interesting GP events for the men should be Skate America (Michal Brezina, Yuzuru Hanyu, Takahiko Kozuka, Jeremy Abbott) or the NHK Trophy (Yuzuru Hanyu, Daisuke Takahashi, Javier Fernandez)
-"Alexandra" Majorov of Sweden skating at Skate America in the men's discipline?
-as for the ladies, it also appears that Miki Ando is also mounting a comeback campaign with her two GP assignments (Cup of China, Trophee Eric Bompard). With her purported split from Nikolai Morozov, it will be interesting to see what form Ms. Ando will be in next season, as well as the state of her programs.
-the ladies GP has some very deep fields, including the Cup of China (Miki Ando, Mao Asada, Carolina Kostner, Julia Lipnitskaya) and Trophee Eric Bompard (Carolina Kostner, Miki Ando, Julia Lipnitskaya, Elizaveta Tuktamysheva, Ashley Wagner).
-the next big wave of junior ladies is finally hitting the senior GP, with Kaetlyn Osmond, Zijun Li, Gracie Gold, Polina Korobeynikova, Julia Lipnitskaya and Polina Shelepen all moving up to the senior level for the time being
-reality checks: Mirai Nagasu with one assignment (Cup of China), Cynthia Phaneuf with none (but possible Skate Canada host pick?), Kiira Korpi with one (Rostelecom Cup), Alissa Czisny with one (NHK Trophy)
-Rachael Flatt and Christina Gao as two of the three host picks for Skate America? Looks like the USFSA is working hard to try to crown Ashley Wagner as Skate America champion next season.