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Kent hosting ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating series opener this weekend
The International Skating Union (ISU) Grand Prix of Figure Skating opens Friday at the ShoWare Center in Kent with Hilton HHonors Skate America.
Skate America is the first of six events in the series. The skaters compete for prize money of $180,000 per individual event of the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating and receive points according to their placements, according to an ISU media release.
Forty-eight skaters representing 11 ISU members will start their season at Hilton HHonors Skate America on Friday through Sunday.
World silver medalists Meryl Davis/Charlie White (USA) headline the Ice Dance competition and will face 2012 European silver medalists Ekaterina Bobrova/Dmitri Soloviev (Russia) and 2012 Four Continents bronze medalists Kaitlyn Weaver/Andrew Poje (Canada).
Other Ice Dance competitors are German Champions Nelli Zhiganshina/Alexander Gazsi, Lorenza Alessandrini/Simone Vaturi (Italy), Anastasia Cannuscio/Colin McManus (USA) and Lynn Kriengkrairut/Logan Giuletti-Schmitt (USA).
Two-time and reigning World silver medalists Tatiana Volosozhar/Maxim Trankov (Russia) lead the Pairs. Competition should come from two-time World Champions Qing Pang/Jian Tong (China) and U.S. Champions Caydee Denney/John Coughlin.
Also competing in Pairs are Danielle Montalbano/Evgeni Krasnopolski (Israel), Vanessa James/Morgan Cipres (France), Marissa Castelli/Simon Shnapir (USA) and Gretchen Donlan/Andrew Speroff (USA).
The Men's event is highly competitive with 2012 World bronze medalist Yuzuru Hanyu (Japan), 2011 World silver medallist Takahiko Kozuka (Japan), 2011 Skate America Champion Michal Brezina (Czech Republic), 2008 European Champion Tomas Verner (Czech Republic) and three-time U.S. Champion Jeremy Abbott. The other competitors are Tatsuki Machida (Japan), Konstantin Menshov (Russia), Alexander Majorov (Sweden), Armin Mahbanoozadeh (USA) and Douglas Razzano (USA).
The Ladies event features 2012 World silver medalist Alena Leonova (Russia), 2012 Four Continents Champion Ashley Wagner (USA), 2011 World Junior Champion Adelina Sotnikova (Russia) and 2012 Skate America bronze medallist Viktoria Helgesson (Sweden). Mae-Berenice Meite (France), Sarah Hecken (Germany), Valentina Marchei (Italy), Haruka Imai (Japan), Rachael Flatt (USA) and Christina Gao (USA) are also aiming at a successful start of their season.
More information on the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating is available at www.isu.org.
For tickets, go to www.showarecenter.com.
For an online guide to Skate America published by the Kent Reporter, use this Skate America 2012 Fan Guide link.
The schedule of Hilton HHonors Skate America:
Friday, Oct. 19: Pairs and Men's Short Program, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 20: Ladies Short Program, Short Dance, 12:30 p.m. Pairs and Men's Free Skating, 7 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 21: Free Dance and Ladies Free Skating, 11:45 a.m. Exhibition Gala, 6 p.m.