ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Opens in Colorado Springs (USA)

The Grand Prix of Figure Skating series will launch this Thursday with Skate America in Colorado Springs, Colorado on October 25 - 28, 2001.

Skate America is the first of six international qualifying events of the Grand Prix of Figure Skating series. The skaters will be awarded prize money and points, and the top six skaters and couples with the most points overall will proceed to the Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final in Kitchener (CAN) on December 13-16, 2001. Full standings will be published after each event and also made available directly on the ISU Internet site on ww2.isu.org .

This season's events are:

Date				Event				Venue

25 - 28 October, 2001	 	Skate America			Colorado Spring, USA
1 - 4 November, 2001		Skate Canada			Saskatoon, CAN
9 - 11 November, 2001		Sparkassen Cup on Ice		Gelsenkirchen, GER
15 - 18 November, 2001		Trophée Lalique			Paris, FRA
22 - 25 November, 2001		Cup of Russia 			St. Petersburg, RUS
29 November - 2 December, 2001	NHK-Trophy			Kumamoto, JPN

13-16 December, 2001		ISU Grand Prix Final		Kitchener, CAN 

Each Grand Prix event is staged under ISU Rules with the standard international format of Short and Free Skating Programs for Men's, Ladies' and Pairs' competitions and one Compulsory Dance, Original and Free Dance for the Ice Dancers.

The Global Prize Money per individual event of the Grand Prix of Figure Skating will be US$ 264,000.00 awarded to winners and placed skaters/couples.

Prize money and points are awarded are as follows:

1st place	12 points	US$ 30, 000		5th place	4 points	US$ 3, 000
2nd place	 9 points 	US$ 18, 000		6th place	3 points	no prize money
3rd place	 7 points	US$  10,000		7th place	2 points	no prize money
4th place	 5 points	US$   5,000		8th place	1 point		no prize money

In the Pairs competition, points will be awarded up to sixth place only.

According to the results of the 2001 World Figure Skating Championships in Vancouver (CAN) the skaters and couples, ranking 1 to 6 in each of the four categories are seeded into a minimum of two and a maximum of three events. The seeded skaters must designate two events, which will count for points, before the start of the Grand Prix series. Although no points will be awarded for the third event, skaters are eligible for prize money. The maximum number of entries per event may not exceed twelve skaters in Singles and Ice Dance and ten in Pairs. Within these limits the organizers are allowed to invite a maximum of three skaters per country in each category for each of the events.

All prize money will be paid to skaters through the respective ISU Member Federation. The prize pool for the Grand Prix Final will be US $ 492,000.00. Additionally, all skaters participating and completing their programs at the Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final and Exhibition receive an extra bonus of US$ 10,000.

Ladies and Pairs World Champions lead the field of skaters at Skate America.

Reigning World Champions Michelle Kwan (USA) and Jamie Sale/David Pelletier of Canada (Pairs) headline Skate America in Colorado Springs. Kwan, who announced just before the event that she left her long-time coach Frank Carroll, will be joined by World bronze medallist Sarah Hughes (USA), last year's Skate America bronze medallist Elena Sokolova of Russia and three-time European bronze medallist Viktoria Volchkova, also from Russia. 2000 US silver medallist, Sasha Cohen, is making her comeback from an injury-plagued season. Sale/Pelletier will face competition from European silver medallists Tatiana Totmianina/ Maxim Marinin (RUS) and US Champions Kyoko Ina/John Zimmerman. Also competing are World Junior silver medallists Yuko Kawaguchi/Alexander Markuntsov (JPN) and Julia Obertas/Alexei Sokolov (RUS), who will be making their debut as a couple in an international event.

In the Men's competition, US Champion Timothy Goebel hopes to defend his Skate America title, but will be challenged by teammate and two-time World bronze medallist Michael Weiss and by reigning Four Continents Champion Chengjiang Li (CHN). Also aiming for a podium finish are 2001 Four Continents silver medallist Takeshi Honda (JPN), Matthew Savoie (USA) and Russia's Alexander Abt and Ilia Klimkin.

Competition will also be tough in the Ice Dance event, as the couples that were ranked 4 to 6 at the 2001 World Figure Skating Championships will meet in Colorado Springs: Canadians, Shae-Lynn Bourne/Victor Kraatz, Margarita Drobiazko/Povilas Vanagas of Lithuania and Israel's Galit Chait/ Sergei Sakhnovski. The field is completed by Russia's Tatiana Navka/Roman Kostomarov and World Junior silver medallists Tanith Belbin/Benjamin Agosto (USA), whom are competing for their first time in the senior Grand Prix series.

For further information please contact:

Aline Bussat Ingwersen, ISU Media Coordinator    
Tel: +41 21 612 66 66   
Fax: +41 21 612 66 77
E-mail: bussat@isu.org	

or

Skate America
Bob Dunlop Press Officer 
Tel:      +1 719 228 34 41 
Cellular: +1 719 351 96 09 

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