|Qualifiers for the Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final|
With the conclusion of the NHK Trophy in Kumamoto, Japan, the sixth and last event of the Grand Prix of Figure Skating series, the entries for the Final have been determined. The Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final will take place in Kitchener, Canada, on December 13-16. Full standings of the Grand Prix series are also directly available on ww2.isu.org .
Maria Butyrskaya of Russia heads the final standings for the Ladies. The 1999 World Champion collected the maximum of 24 points with two wins at the Sparkassen Cup and the Trophée Lalique. Her teammate, World silver medallist Irina Slutskaya, picked up 21 points with a second place finish at Skate Canada and a first place at the Cup of Russia. Reigning World Champion, Michelle Kwan (USA), has 19 points from Skate America (12 points) and Skate Canada (7). World bronze medallist Sarah Hughes (USA) and Japan's Yoshie Onda each have 18 points. Like Onda, Tatiana Malinina of Uzbekistan was able to jump into the standings for the Final at the last Grand Prix event, the NHK Trophy. Although Malinina was sixth at the Sparkassen Cup (3 points), her victory in Japan gave Malinina 12 points and provided her with a ticket to the Final. While Onda is a newcomer to the Final, the other five competitors are veterans, as they all competed in this event during the previous season.
The substitutes are Angela Nikodinov (USA, 14 points), Russia's Viktoria Volchkova (12) and Sasha Cohen (USA, 11).
Five ISU Members are represented in the Final in the Pairs event. The three current World medallists are on top of the standings, with the maximum of 24 points each. Reigning World Champions Jamie Sale/ David Pelletier of Canada, China's World bronze medallists Xue Shen/Hongbo Zhao and World silver medallists Elena Berezhnaya/Anton Sikharulidze (RUS) each won two events of the series. The 2000 World Champions Maria Petrova/Alexei Tikhonov collected 18 points by finishing second at the Cup of Russia and at the NHK Trophy. Kyoko Ina/John Zimmerman (USA) also have 18 points from two silver medals at Skate America and the Sparkassen Cup. European bronze medallists Sarah Abitbol/Stephane Bernadis earned their berth to the Final with 14 points. The French placed third at the Trophée Lalique and at the Cup of Russia. While the Canadians, Russians, Chinese and French have competed in the Final for the last two years, the Americans have made their comeback to the event. Ina/Zimmerman have qualified for the Final once before, during the 1998/1999 season, which was also their first season as a team.
The substitutes are Tatiana Totmianina/Maxim Marinin (RUS, 12 points), Poland's Dorota Zagorska/ Mariusz Siudek (12) and Julia Obertas/Alexei Sokolov of Russia (10).
In Ice Dancing, three couples have qualified with the maximum of 24 points: World Champions Barbara Fusar-Poli/Maurizio Margaglio of Italy, Shae-Lynn Bourne/Victor Kraatz (CAN) and the World silver medallists from France, Marina Anissina/Gwendal Peizerat. The Italians took the gold at the Sparkassen Cup and at the Cup of Russia; the Canadians won Skate America and Skate Canada, and the French won the Trophée Lalique and the NHK Trophy. Galit Chait/Sergei Sakhnovski (ISR) have 18 points, as they placed second at Skate Canada and at the Cup of Russia. Marie-France Dubreuil/Patrice Lauzon of Canada earned their second trip to the Final with a silver medal in Germany and a fourth place in Japan. Last season, this team made the Final as substitutes for their teammates Bourne/Kraatz, who withdrew because Victor Kraatz was ill. Margarita Drobiazko/Povilas Vanagas of Lithuania picked up 14 points from their two scoring events in the USA and France to reach the Final. Like Bourne/Kraatz, Anissina/Peizerat had qualified for the Final last season but were unable to compete due to injury.
The substitutes are Albena Denkova/Maxim Staviski of Bulgaria (12 points), and three tied couples with 11 points each: Isabelle Delobel/Olivier Schoenfelder (FRA), Russia's Natalia Romaniuta/Daniil Barantsev and Elena Grushina/Rusland Goncharov of the Ukraine.
Three-time World Champion Alexei Yagudin and current World Champion Evgeni Plushenko, both from Russia, are heading the Grand Prix standings. The Russians both took two victories on the circuit to earn the maximum of 24 points each. Timothy Goebel (USA) has 21 points after winning Skate America and placing second at the Sparkassen Cup. Japan's Takeshi Honda also picked up 21 points, as he won the silver medal at Skate America and placed first at the NHK Trophy. This is the first time that Honda has qualified for the Final. He had an opportunity to compete in the Final in 1999 as a substitute for Elvis Stojko (CAN), but withdrew due to injury. 1996 World Champion, Todd Eldredge (USA) has secured his spot in the Final with 16 points. The American had finished third at Skate Canada and second at the Trophée Lalique. Eldredge was also qualified last season, but was unable to compete due to injury. Ivan Dinev, bronze medallist at the Cup of Russia and the NHK Trophy, picked up 14 points to advance to the Final for the first time in his career. Dinev is the first Skater from Bulgaria ever to reach the Final.
The substitutes for the Men's' event are Elvis Stojko (CAN, 12 points), Russia's Alexander Abt (12) and Andrejs Vlascenko of Germany (10).
For further information please contact:
Aline Bussat Ingwersen, ISU Media/ Communications Coordinator Tel: +41 21 612 66 66 Fax: +41 21 612 66 77 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or Patrick Kenny, Press Officer, Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final, Tel:+1 (613) 742-5419 Fax:+1 (613) 748-5616 E-mail: email@example.com
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