In the final Grand Prix event of the season before the Final, we’ve got the World Champion back for another title this week and a whole lot of unknowns around basically everyone else in this field as to how they will actually perform. The name of the game this week will be unpredictability - every skater in this field has had their ups and downs already this season.
Internationaux de France preview
Unofficial hashtag: #IdF18
GOLD Nathan Chen USA - Break time from college means skate time for Nathan Chen. He was in Moscow late last week to do get some face-to-face training time with Rafael Arutyunyan, who was there for Rostelecom Cup. And as a result, he got to France relatively early for this Grand Prix, which may keep him more settled and focused than usual. The question is - will he build on the technical content from Skate America or continue to play it safe for his standards?
SILVER Dmitri Aliev RUS - After a silver a Lombardia Trophy early this season, Aliev has had some WTF moments in his past two competitions, where he was fifth but was expected to be on the podium. So much of it for him has been confidence in his ability to land jumps in competition that he could do in his sleep. But expect this competition to be a turning point for him as he looks toward Russian Nationals in a month.
BRONZE Boyang Jin CHN - Speaking of WTF moments, Jin had those himself a couple weeks ago at Grand Prix of Helsinki. He comes into this season with the strongest programs he’s had in his career, yet his technical content has been inconsistent so far. Jin is a skater who generally can’t afford early mistakes, because they take a lot away from the rest of his programs. But if he’s not careful, he could be at risk of not medaling again this week in France.
4. Jason Brown USA - With a fourth place at Autumn Classic and a sixth place at Skate Canada, Brown takes his first steps out of Canada for competition this season. And having had another month since Skate Canada to get more settled, we could see a more relaxed Jason Brown than we’ve seen so far this season. Quad aside, if he can figure out his triples here, it will be a huge win for him, medal or not.
5. Alexander Samarin RUS - With a fourth-place finish at Skate Canada, Samarin has a shot at the Grand Prix Final this week with all the crazy results that have happened with other skaters earlier in the series. He is another skater who can be hot or cold depending on the week.
6. Kevin Aymoz FRA - It’s been a transformative season for Aymoz, with two artistically brilliant programs in tow. His results haven’t been stunning, but he’s shown signs that he could really get himself into the top ranks of men’s skating.
7. Nicolas Nadeau CAN - Keegan Messing’s uneven performance last week at Rostelecom Cup was an indication that the top Canadian spot in the men’s event isn’t quite locked up yet. Nadeau is one of those skaters who has always shown tons of potential and a strong skate here will set him up well for a showdown at Canadians.
8. Deniss Vasiljevs LAT - It just didn’t click for Vasiljevs at NHK Trophy a few weeks ago - he was having trouble with jumps from top to bottom, no quite settled in his programs yet. He’s very much got top five potential here, but it will depend on how comfortable he is with his jumps this week in Grenoble.
9. Romain Ponsart FRA - The last time we saw Ponsart was at Skate America, where he looked strong in practice but came in with a barely-week-old free skate that wasn’t quite ready for primetime. It’s been another five weeks since Everett, and he’s got a chance to redeem himself in his home Grand Prix.
10. Keiji Tanaka JPN - His eighth-place finish at Grand Prix of Helsinki was another showing of inconsistency from Tanaka. Having been the Japan #3 for the past couple of years, he’s definitely feeling some of the heat from the likes of Kazuki Tomono and Daisuke Takahashi, who will be after that third spot next month at Japan Nationals. This competition is crucial for Tanaka’s confidence.
11. Daniel Samohin ISR - There’s no one in this field more unpredictable than Samohin - he could be hot for two jumping passes then pop everything else in his program. His eighth place at Skate Canada was a decent showing.