With every off-season comes lots of news and shakeups in the figure skating world. Here is a round-up of all of the news that is happening in during the off-season leading up to the 2015-16 season in September. Stay tuned to this page for more updates!
So what were the surprises from the news so far? Here are some of the highlights:
- UPDATE 10/16/15 Sara Hurtado/Adria Diaz ESP announced split
- UPDATE 9/11/15 Caitlin Yankowskas/Hamish Gaman GBR announce retirement due to inability to finance their coaching and travel expenses.
- UPDATE 9/2/15 Jeremy Abbott confirms that he will take the season off, will not rule out a return.
- UPDATE 8/27/15 Kiira Korpi announced her retirement.
- UPDATE 7/24/15 In a complete surprise to many (including me), Hong Kong's first breakthrough skater, Ronald Lam, announced his retirement today. Lam is going out on a very high note after ending last season with a surprise 14th-place finish at Worlds, the highest ever by any Hong Kong skater. He was even assigned to a Grand Prix event this season (Skate Canada) and would have been the first Hong Kong skater ever to compete on the Grand Prix. Lam, now 24, just graduated from the University of British Columbia and is eager to start a career outside skating.
- It's always interesting when Olympic champions make their decisions to take the post-Olympic season off - because it seems to generally mean they are done. Pairs champs Tatiana Volosozhar/Maxim Trankov are scheduled to be back, which is great for pairs skating, with Duhamel/Radford, Sui/Han, Cheng/Peng, and likely Stolbova/Klimov making strides in the technical department.
- Speaking of Olympic champs, Evgeni Plushenko announced that he would be back. And it surely has to do with the fact that the top Russian men are just not all that solid right now, even though they have the potential to be. We'll see if he actually does, back injuries and all.
- It's definitely sad, though not too big of a surprise, to see names like Viktoria Helgesson head into retirement. Helgesson, though, has been thoroughly supplanted by her younger sister, who has a solid triple lutz while Viktoria was still never able to fully master the flip or the triple toe-triple toe.
- Pairs stalwarts Qing Pang/Jian Tong retired again after a bronze-medal World Championships finish at home in China. It was their 17th season on the senior circuit, with their comeback made more tempting after their post-2014 Olympics retirement because Worlds was in Shanghai. I don't see another return in the works, but then again, we didn't think that would be the case with Plushenko either.
- Among the surprises - at least to me - were Takahiko Kozuka and Elene Gedevanishvili deciding to continue competing. Kozuka had an absolutely horrible season for his standards, but maybe his late season resurgence gave him some hope. Gedevanishvili has just had trouble skating consistently in competition for a few seasons. The downward trajectory was not promising.
Returns (You don't see this too often!)
- Mao Asada JPN (CBC Sports)
- Ekaterina Bobrova/Dmitry Soloviev RUS (injured last season)
- Patrick Chan CAN (Canadian Press)
- Kaetlyn Osmond CAN (injured last season)
- Evgeni Plushenko RUS (R-Sport)
- Adelina Sotnikova RUS (unconfirmed?)
- Tatiana Volosozhar/Maxim Trankov RUS (injured last season)
- Eveline Brunner SUI
- Stephen Carriere USA (IceNetwork)
- Samantha Cesario USA (IceNetwork)
- Christina Gao USA (IceNetwork)
- Danielle Gamelin USA (of Danielle Gamelin/Alex Gamelin)
- Alexander Gazsi GER (of Nelli Zhiganshina/Alexander Gazsi)
- Viktoria Helgesson SWE
- Kiira Korpi FIN
- Ronald Lam HKG
- Henna Lindholm/Ossi Kanervo FIN
- Anna Ovcharova SUI
- Qing Pang/Jian Tong CHN (again)
- Douglas Razzano USA
- Cathy Reed JPN (of Cathy Reed/Chris Reed)
- Simon Shnapir USA (of Dee Dee Leng/Simon Shnapir IceNetwork)
- Justus Strid DEN
- Jeremy Ten CAN (SkateCanada)
- Caitlin Yankowskas/Hamish Gaman GBR
- Sara Hurtado/Adria Diaz ESP
- Dee Dee Leng/Simon Shnapir USA - Shnapir retired
- Cathy Reed/Chris Reed JPN - Cathy retired
- Olivia Smart/Joseph Buckland GBR
- Narumi Takahashi/Ryuichi Kihara JPN
- Nelli Zhiganshina/Alexander Gazsi GER - Gazsi retired
- Alexandra Aldridge/Matthew Blackmer USA
- Hayleigh Bell/Rudi Swiegers CAN
- Yura Min/Alex Gamelin KOR
- Kana Muramoto/Chris Reed JPN
- Narumi Takahashi/Alexandr Zaboev JPN
- Danielle Thomas/Daniel Eaton USA
- Penny Coomes/Nicholas Buckland GBR - to be coached by Igor Shpilband
- Madison Hubbell/Zachary Donohue USA - to be coached by Marie-France Dubreuil, Patrice Lauzon
- Alexandra Paul/Mitchell Islam CAN - to be coached by Marie-France Dubreuil, Patrice Lauzon, Romain Haguenauer