In the middling ranks for a huge chunk of their careers, Vanessa James/Morgan Cipres broke through a couple of years ago and rose to the top last season with a bronze at Worlds. They are currently the hottest pair in the world right now, with everything trending their way as they look for their (gasp) first Grand Prix Final appearance. And in the fight for the podium, there may be some history made by the North Koreans this week as well.
Internationaux de France preview
Official hashtag: #IFP2018
GOLD Vanessa James/Morgan Cipres FRA - Skating in front of the home crowd hasn’t really been an issue for them at all - they earned their first ever Grand Prix medal three years ago at their home Grand Prix, and they are heavy favorites for their third international title of the season here at Internationaux de France. This field should really be no match for these two; they will be using their performances here to set themselves up for the Final in two weeks, where it will be a showdown between them and Evgenia Tarasova/Vladimir Morozov.
SILVER Aleksandra Boikova/Dmitrii Kozlovskii RUS - Speaking of the Grand Prix Final, who would have thought that Boikova/Kozlovskii would be in a strong spot to qualify this week? They impressed with fourth among a very strong set of pairs at Skate Canada four weeks ago, and with a less competitive field this week, they should be on the podium. Silver here practically guarantees them a spot in Vancouver.
BRONZE Tae Ok Ryom/Ju Sik Kim PRK - They’ve had a lot of firsts for North Korea, and Ryom/Kim may have yet another one this week. Before this season, no North Korean skater has ever skated in a Grand Prix, nevertheless earned a medal. Their biggest competition for the bronze here will come from Kayne/O’Shea, who is still getting settled with this season and their new coaching arrangement.
4. Tarah Kayne/Danny O’Shea USA - After a coaching change in August brought them to Colorado Springs, Kayne/O’Shea hasn’t quite had the season’s start that they were hoping for. Their fifth-place at NHK Trophy was below expectations, and they are hoping to bounce back here with Nationals less than two months away.
5. Camille Ruest/Andrew Wolfe CAN - Eighth at Skate Canada, Ruest/Wolfe know that they have a shot at making it to Worlds this season. Two strong performances here can set them up well for Canadians in January.
6. Minerva Fabienne Hase/Nolan Seegert GER - Hase/Seegert surprised everyone with a third-place finish in the short program at Skate America. Their results this season have been solid so far, with a fourth at Nebelhorn Trophy and then fifth overall at Skate America.
7. Audrey Lu/Misha Mitrofanov USA - The US junior champs were seventh at NHK Trophy to start their Grand Prix. They will hope to clean up some of those mistakes here in Grenoble.