Twists and Turns of Grand Prix News
Next year’s event to be held next door to Montreal; one of Gold’s spots filled as Chinese pair also pull out; Weaver & Pojé latest to revive old program.
Between the ISU Council decisions earlier in the week and Skate Canada starting tomorrow, it would be eventful enough of a week. But the advent of the second Grand Prix event brought with it a little more news, and a couple pieces of it are on the unexpected side. Meanwhile, the week also had an update on the Grand Prix roster. That was expected, if only because Gracie Gold’s vacated spots were left to be filled. Except, also unexpectedly, only one of them was.
Next Season’s Skate Canada Announcement Causes Confusion
As usual, Skate Canada this year was accompanied by the announcement of where the event will take place next year. There was even a video:
Laval is a city right next to Montreal, with an arena called the Place Bell for Skate Canada to take place in. It ought not be confused with Montreal’s Bell Centre, but it seems the head of the city’s tourism head has done so. Because she spoke of having the event there as “a crucial step in advance of hosting the 2020 World Championhips.” This seems to contradict the 2020 World announcement, which not only specified the host city as Montreal but also the venue as the Bell Centre. That raises the question of if there’s been a change of plans.
Perhaps, of course, she meant it as applying to the area in general. Or had not done her homework thoroughly, and mistakenly thinks Worlds is happening where it’s not. Hopefully, if so, someone will tell her otherwise before it causes her to do her job majorly wrong. Or we, at least, find out what’s going on some point before tickets go on sale in 2019.
Grand Prix Roster Holds a Spot Back
It’s been nearly two weeks since Gracie Gold pulled out of both her Grand Prix events, and this week we expected to learn who would take her place at them. The weekly update to the ladies roster did answer that question for Cup of China. There her spot’s gone to Amber Glenn, a young American woman with results and potential that more or less justify her. She probably won’t medal at what will be her Grand Prix debut. Indeed she’s happy just to make it on the circuit. But how she skates and how she scores should be worth paying attention to.
But while Gold’s name has come off the Internationaux de France roster as well, nothing replaces it besides a mysterious TBA. The event is still three weeks away, so they don’t actually have to select a replacement right this instant, but they can’t take too long over it either. Especially if it’s someone who’ll need a visa. Though it could be a third French skater; the roster so far doesn’t have one. Also, this close to the event, that lady will want to know as soon as possible. Although it’s not impossible she does, that she’s been notified, but not announced yet, for some reason probably involving crazy French federation politics. For her sake you hope so!
Less surprising, sadly, is the removal of Xuehan Wang & Lei Wang (no relation) from the same event. They’d already pulled out of their first event, as they struggle to recover from the injury that’s kept them out of competition for nearly a year now.
A Couple More Ditched Programs
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Skate Canada streams practices live over the internet, so we’ve gotten to see the skaters run through their programs, and with that have come the news of two more programs abandoned. One has been replaced by another new short program, the other by an old free dance-which by itself is a shock, because that very rarely happens in ice dance.
Since he was shocked at South Korea’s Nebelhorn qualifier and aggravated his injuries, fans have been quite anxious about young star Jun-Hwan Cha. That he’s made it to Saskatchewan is hopeful news, although the reports say he’s not back to a hundred percent yet. He’s also changed his short program. Gone is the slow “What a Wonderful World,” and it seems we’re stuck with yet another Don Quixote program. He is using “Gypsy Dance,” which makes that situation less painful-except Japanese skater Wakaba Higuchi’s also using it. They both could use the energy of it. Which one of them will ultimately skate it better remains to be seen-especially when we can’t be sure either will qualify for anything after their National Championships.
But that’s not the more stunning news. Although perhaps it’s not so stunning this season, where it seems everybody’s abandoning their newly fashioned programs and going back to old ones. We even had one significant dance team keep their free dance from the previous year. Still, nobody expected one of the top tier ice dance teams, one that really needs to impress the judges to gain back lost ground, would take the risk of showing them something they’d seen already, even if it was their signature free dance. But Kaitlyn Weaver & Andrew Pojé are doing just that, going back to their iconic “Je Suis Malade” free dance from 2012.
They explained why after practice. They also assure us it’s not the exact same program, since they’ve developed and the rules have changed since 2012. At least they seem certain about what they’re doing. Hopefully they’ll still be after they take it back to competitive ice Saturday night. Since Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir are also here, Weaver & Pojé probably can’t win, but in this field, they want silver by as large a margin as possible.