It’s hard to imagine that Skate Canada will be World silver medalists Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov’s first time on the Grand Prix together. But their first international competition together came earlier this year, not last fall. Their stiffest challenge will come from the young Chinese, Wenjing Sui and Cong Han, who is already in mid-season shape after competing on the Junior Grand Prix circuit as well.
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But while the top two seem fairly secured, the bronze could be quite a battle. Canadian silver medalists Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford lead the way for the home team, with a familiar name making her Grand Prix debut with a new partner.
GOLD Tatiana Volosozhar/Maxim Trankov RUS – Already two competitions down and two wins under their belt, Skate Canada should be a third consecutive victory for the new Russian powerhouse pair. It’s really just a warmup for them to fine-tune their programs in anticipation of the bigger battles later this season. We will have to wait and see how these two stack up to the Germans in a few months.
WATCH: Volosozhar/Trankov Ondrej Nepela free skate
SILVER Wenjing Sui/Cong Han CHN – There was a controversy about their real ages last season – with Sui possibly being too young and Han possibly being too old. But with seemingly no real resolution one way or the other, the show must go on. They are already two competitions down, having won both of their Junior Grand Prix events, and are ready to bring their quad twist to the Grand Prix circuit.
WATCH: Sui/Han JGP Austria free skate
BRONZE Meagan Duhamel/Eric Radford CAN – A strong seventh at their first Worlds together earlier this year – broken nose and all – Duhamel and Radford are back to capitalize on a great rookie season. They are a powerful pair and have already proven that they work well together. They could take home a first-ever Grand Prix medal as a team, but they will need to be consistent.
4. Narumi Takahashi/Mervin Tran JPN – The Japanese finally have a viable pairs team in the two-time World junior medalists. They took two Grand Prix medals last year, and are certainly capable of getting on the podium this week at Skate Canada. They had a less difficult repertoire than many of the pairs last year, but triumphed as a testament to their elegance as a pair. It will be interesting to see if there are any technical upgrades this year.
5. Lubov Iliushechkina/Nodari Maisuradze RUS – They are the reigning Skate Canada champions, and it was certainly a bit of a surprise when they won it last year. Though after a successful Grand Prix, they were fifth at Russians and there ended their season. Their showing at Ondrej Nepela in September was a tad shaky, and they will need to work out the kinks in the technical department if they hope to be on the podium again.
6. Paige Lawrence/Rudi Swiegers CAN – Third at Canadians last season, Lawrence and Swiegers started off this season with a fifth place finish at Nebelhorn Trophy.
7. Jessica Dube/Sebastien Wolfe CAN – Three times the Canadian champ with former partner Bryce Davison, Dube is coming into Skate Canada with a brand new partner in Sebastien Wolfe and hoping to carve a brand new path. Watch for some high-valued side-by-side elements from these two, which, if they hit, could rocket them up the standings.
WATCH: Dube/Wolfe Liberty free skate
8. Xiaoyu Yu/Yang Jin CHN – Like Sui/Han, they also had their own similar age controversy earlier this year. They were the bronze medalists at the recent Chinese championships.
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