The second week of the Grand Prix brings another week of intrigue in the ladies’ event - this time, it’s at 2018 Skate Canada International. A lot of the eyes will be on the return of Evgenia Medvedeva to the Grand Prix series after her Olympic silver and her off-season coaching change. She will be up against her teammate, Elizaveta Tuktamysheva, who is having a resurgent season so far.
2018 Skate Canada International preview
Official hashtag: #SCI18
GOLD Evgenia Medvedeva RUS - Her first event with her new coaching team, Autumn Classic, may not have been flawless, but it gave her an opportunity to test out her new programs and get a feel for what it was like to compete with that new team for the first time internationally. It’s now been over a month since Autumn Classic, so she’s had a chance to work on her technical jitters and refine her new programs. Expect her killer instinct to return and a second Skate Canada title to be under her belt this week.
SILVER Elizaveta Tuktamysheva RUS - Speaking of killer instinct, the 2015 World champ is back post-Olympic-season with a vengeance. She has started her season off undefeated, winning Finlandia and Lombardia in the past month. And she comes into Skate Canada looking for her first Grand Prix medal since 2016. If anything could carry her to this title, it’s her triple axel, which is now back on full display. She’s confident, she’s motivated, and she’s back again.
BRONZE Wakaba Higuchi JPN - World silver medal in hand, Higuchi wants to back that up with a strong season to cement herself as one of the best in Japan. But it was a shaky opening to her season last month at Autumn Classic, where she finished fifth. We’ve seen Higuchi have off competitions before, so don’t take that result as a sign that she is necessarily ill-prepared. This week will be much more of an indicator of her readiness this season.
4. Mariah Bell USA - There’s something a bit pivotal about this season for Bell. She’s shown some great promise the past couple of seasons - her Skate America silver two years ago and her US Nationals performances the last two years have demonstrated her potential. Her short program at Nebelhorn just a month was the best of her career, and she’s working with the strongest programs of her career. Consistency and confidence are key - and those two things this week could carry her to the podium.
5. Elizabet Tursynbaeva KAZ - Tursynbaeva and Medvedeva made the exact opposite switch in coaches - Tursynbaeva went from Brian Orser’s team back to Eteri Tutberidze’s team this off-season. She started off with two silvers at Finlandia and Nepela, and she will be looking to get on the podium this week.
6. Mako Yamashita JPN - The World junior bronze medalist makes her first senior Grand Prix appearance this week. She has very solid basics, but her consistency in her first two competitions of the season has been on and off. She took bronze at Lombardia Trophy last month.
7. Daria Panenkova RUS - In her debut on the senior circuit, Panenkova will be looking to differentiate herself from her fellow teammates who are also making senior debuts this year. She was eighth at last year’s Russian Nationals, and has the technical goods to be competitive with this field.
8. Veronik Mallet CAN - After missing the last two seasons with injuries, Mallet returned to competition last month at Finlandia, where she was a solid sixth. She and teammate Alicia Pineault were last minute replacements here at Skate Canada. (Update: Mallet withdrew with injury on 10/25)
9. Alaine Chartrand CAN - Ninth at Skate America this past week, Chartrand exceeded expectations with her performances there, and will look to improve on them in Canada this week.
10. Starr Andrews USA - Andrews’ tenth-place showing at Skate America last week was not the Grand Prix debut she was hoping for. She has shown greater promise than what she delivered there, and is hoping for some redemption this week.
11. Alicia Pineault CAN - Pineault is one of the up-and-coming skaters from Canada, and will be looking at this event as a way for her to gain some experience and perhaps surprise some people. She was sixth at Autumn Classic to start her season.
12. Yura Matsuda JPN - Matsuda had a bit of a breakthrough two seasons ago on the Grand Prix, but hasn’t built on those successes since. She was ninth at Autumn Classic to start her season.