The final of the world series of the ISU (International Skating Union) Grand Prix of Figure Skating is about to kick off in the Sochi capital of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games. From December 6th to 9th the world’s best figure skaters will compete to win the prizes of one of the most prestigious tournaments held under the auspices of the International Skating Union.
Specialists call the final of the Grand Prix series a mini world cup. According to the well-established tradition, it brings together the world leaders in figure skating. On the results of the former 6 stages which were held from October to November this year, 24 figure skaters from 9 countries won the right to perform in the final. Among them are Olympic champions and also winners and prizewinners of the world, European and 4 continental championships.
Russia will be represented by 11 figure skaters, President of the Russian Figure Skating Federation Valentin Piseyev said in an interview with the Voice of Russia.
"As regards pairs figure skating, our team, including Tatyana Volossozharand / Maxim Trankov, Vera Bazarova / Yuri Larionov, and Yuko Kawaguti/ Alexandrov Smirnov, is very strong. All of them have a good chance to win a medal. The fight will be interesting, taking into consideration that the Chinese figure skaters Pang/Tong, the former world champions, will also take part in the competitions."
The winner of the Winter Youth Olympic Games 16- year-old Yelizaveta Tuktamysheva will vie for a prize in the ladies’ single skating. Her main rival will be the former World Champion from Japan Mao Asada.
In the ice dance pair skating the Russian school of figure skating will be represented by the Vice Champions of the European Championship Yekaterina Bobrova and Dmitry Solovyov and by the European bronze medalists Yelena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov. The Vancouver -2010 Olympic champions and Two Time World Champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir (Canada), and also the silver medalists of the 2012 World Championship Meryl Davis and Charlie White have also arrived in Sochi. The two North American duets have been the best according to the world rankings for a third year now, Valentin Piseyev says.
"As of today, these two pairs, coached by Marina Zuyeva, perform excellently. They have sophisticated programmes, and for the time being, they are higher in their rankings than all the rest of their rivals, due to perform in Sochi. Although they are lacking international authority which usually comes in time, they have good prospects."
None of the Russian figure skaters has made it to the finals in the men’s single skating. However, the viewers will be able to enjoy the performance of the two time World Champion Patrick Chan from Canada, who will fight for the first place, competing with the budding star in the world figure skating Yuzuru Hanyu from Japan. The performance of the 17-year-old figure skater already became a sensation at the stage of Grand Prix in Japan in late November this year, where he gained the record points for his short programme. Experts say that he is the main candidate for the 2014 Olympic medal.
The Sochi Grand Prix series in figure skating is a unique chance for figure skaters to measure swords with the others a year before the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics and for the organizers – a kind of dress rehearsal ahead of the Sochi Olympics. They must test the work of all services in the Olympic regime, including meeting sports delegations in the airport, carrying out TV broadcasts, and also organizing the work of both the press centre and volunteers.