2017 Internationaux de France Men’s Preview

With two events to go in the Grand Prix series, only Mikhail Kolyada has secured his place in the Final with 26 points.  Jason Brown has 22 points, and while it is unlikely, he still has a shot at the Final depending on how everyone else skates.  Six men at this event have a shot of making the Final, but most will need a gold medal to do so.

Shoma Uno is the only skater to score over 300 points this season and has done so twice, at Lombardia Trophy and Skate Canada.  He needs a gold, silver, or bronze medal to qualify for the Final, while a 4th place finish would still give him a strong chance.  At Lombardia Trophy he hit the quad flip and quad toe + triple toe, while at Skate Canada he only added a double to the combination.  He earned all positive GOEs in Canada, worth 10 points, and his program components were his highest of the season ranging from the low to mid 9s.  He even received three 10.00 marks, but they were all from the same judge.  He has been playing with the layout of his free skate and did not attempt the quad salchow at Skate Canada that he had landed at Lombardia Trophy.  He has three quads and a triple axel combination in the bonus, although his solo quad toe was under-rotated in Canada.  He completed four quads, and two of them had positive GOEs.  At Lombardia Trophy, he landed five quads, four with positive GOEs.  His biggest difference in scores between events, definitely has to be on the GOE side.  At Lombardia Trophy, he earned a whopping 23 points from GOEs in his free skate, while at Skate Canada, he only earned 6.  His program components were similar between events, in the high 8s to mid 9s.  He has the 2nd best short program, best free skate, and best total scores.

Javier Fernandez is out of the running for the Grand Prix Final after a 6th place finish at Cup of China, his worst finish since 2010.  His short program is intended to include a quad toe + double toe and a quad salchow.  However, in China he missed his opening quad.  At both events he earned all Level 4s, but he lost ground in China with a messy triple axel.  His program components were similar at both events, in the low to mid 9s.  His free skate is intended to have a quad toe and a quad salchow + triple toe.  He landed a quad salchow in his free skate in China, but tripled his opening quad, missed his triple axel combination, doubled a flip and earned negative GOEs on three of his jumps.  He did earn all Level 4s and had program components in the high 8s to low 9s.  He has the 4th best short program, 6th best free skate, and 5th best total scores, although they all came from the Autumn Classic International.

Max Aaron won the bronze medal at Cup of China with a personal best free skate score.  He needs a gold medal to guarantee a spot in the Final.  He landed a quad toe + double toe and a quad salchow in his short program, although the opening quad and his triple axel received negative GOEs.  Overall, he earned only tenths of a point from GOEs for this program.  His program components were better than earlier in the season, in the mid to high 7s.  In the free skate he landed a quad toe + double toe, quad salchow, and a quad toe in the bonus.  Both of his triple axels are in the bonus, along with a triple lutz + single loop + triple salchow combination.  He also earned Level 4 on his spins and his step sequence and only had two very slight negative GOEs.  His program components were some of his best, in the high 7s to low 8s.  He has the 9th best free skate and 8th best total scores.

Vincent Zhou finished 4th in his Grand Prix debut at Cup of China.  He needs a gold medal to keep himself in the running for the Final.  He started off with a bang with a clean quad lutz + triple toe worth 19.76 points.  However, he fell on a fully rotated quad flip and had his triple axel under-rotated and fell on it.  He also under-rotated the triple axel and his solo flip at Finlandia Trophy.  At both events, his GOEs actually lost him points on the technical score.  His program components were much better in China, scoring in the low to mid 7s.  His free skate had a quad lutz + triple toe that was again well done, earning him 19.90 points.  He also attempted a quad flip, quad salchow, quad lutz, and quad salchow + double toe.  The solo salchow and lutz were both under-rotated and he fell on the salchow.  He also has one triple axel in the bonus and a triple lutz + single loop + triple flip combination.  His program was a bit cleaner at Finlandia, but his jump content was a lot more difficult in China, and he did score over 100 points on the technical side.  His program components were all in the mid 7s.  He has the 10th best free skate score.

Alexei Bychenko won bronze at NHK Trophy last week.  His short program includes a quad toe and a triple lutz + triple toe.  He earned all positive GOEs and had program components in the mid 7s to low 8s.  His free skate has a quad toe + triple toe and a quad toe.  He doubled a loop and had a messy landing on a triple axel, but otherwise the program was fairly clean.  His program components were in the high 7s to low 8s.  He needs a gold medal to guarantee a spot in the Final.

Alexander Samarin won bronze in his Grand Prix debut at Skate Canada with personal best scores across the board.  He needs a gold medal to guarantee a spot in the Final.  His short program includes a quad lutz + triple toe and a quad toe, although neither are in the bonus.  His triple axel was under-rotated and earned negative GOEs.  His program components were on the lower side, in the low to high 7s.  His free skate includes a quad lutz and a quad toe.  His only errors were under-rotating his triple axel combination and a messy double axel at the end of the program.  He only earned Level 3 on his spins, so that is an area he could improve on.  His program components were slightly better, in the mid 7s to low 8s.

Misha Ge finished 4th at Rostelecom Cup with personal best scores across the board.  He hasn’t included a quad in his short program at either of his events this season, but he has landed his triple lutz + triple toe and triple flip.  He earned all positive GOEs at Rostelecom Cup and had program components in the low to mid 8s.  His free skate also does not include a quad and while he has five jumping passes in the bonus, two are his lower value double axels.  He earned all positive GOEs in Russia, worth 11 points, and had program components in the low to mid 8s.  He needs a gold medal to keep himself in the running for the Final.

 

My podium predictions:

Gold: Shoma Uno

Silver: Javier Fernandez

Bronze: Vincent Zhou

 

Bios of the competitors:

Kevin Aymoz, FRA: He placed 15th at Europeans and 7th at Junior Worlds.  He finished 4th at JGP France and 6th at JGP Slovenia last season.  This is his Grand Prix debut.  His personal best is 218.63.  He is 20 years old.

Romain Ponsart, FRA: His personal best is 184.12.  He is 25 years old.

Moris Kvitelashvili, GEO: He placed 13th at Worlds and 6th at Europeans.  He finished 5th at Rostelecom Cup last season.  His personal best is 250.26.  He is 22 years old.

Alexei Bychenko, ISR: He finished 10th at Worlds and 5th at Europeans.  He won bronze at NHK Trophy.  He is the 2016 European Silver Medalist.  His personal best is 255.52.  He is 29 years old.

Shoma Uno, JPN: He is the reigning World Silver Medalist and reigning Four Continents Bronze Medalist. He won gold at Skate Canada.  He is the 2015 World Junior Champion.  His personal best is 319.84.  He is 19 years old.

Denis Ten, KAZ: He finished 16th at Worlds.  He placed 9th at Rostelecom Cup.  He is the 2014 Olympic Bronze Medalist, 2013 World Silver Medalist, 2015 World Bronze Medalist, and 2015 Four Continents Champion.  His personal best is 289.46.  He is 24 years old.

Alexander Samarin, RUS: He placed 8th at Europeans and is the reigning World Junior Bronze Medalist.  He won bronze at Skate Canada.  His personal best is 250.06.  He is 19 years old.

Javier Fernandez, ESP: He finished 4th at Worlds and is the reigning European Champion.  He placed 6th at Cup of China.  He is the 2015 and 2016 World Champion; 2013 and 2014 World Bronze Medalist; and 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 European Champion.  His personal best is 314.93.  He is 26 years old.

Max Aaron, USA: He won bronze at Cup of China.  His personal best is 261.56.  He is 25 years old.

Vincent Zhou, USA: He is the reigning World Junior Champion.  He placed 4th at Cup of China.  His personal best is 258.11.  He is 17 years old.

Misha Ge, UZB: He placed 12th at Worlds and 7th at Four Continents.  He finished 4th at Rostelecom Cup.  His personal best is 255.33.  He is 26 years old.

2017 Cup of China Men’s Results

Short Program

Pl. Name Nation TSS
=
TES
+
PCS
+
SS TR PE CO IN Ded.
StN.
1 Mikhail KOLYADA RUS 103.13 59.63 43.50 8.75 8.36 8.93 8.75 8.71 0.00 #11
2 Boyang JIN CHN 93.89 52.67 41.22 8.32 8.07 8.29 8.29 8.25 0.00 #10
3 Javier FERNANDEZ ESP 90.57 44.35 46.22 9.11 9.18 9.18 9.29 9.46 0.00 #12
4 Keiji TANAKA JPN 87.19 47.91 39.28 7.89 7.57 7.93 7.93 7.96 0.00 #7
5 Max AARON USA 83.11 44.50 38.61 7.89 7.50 7.79 7.75 7.68 0.00 #9
6 Han YAN CHN 82.22 41.36 40.86 8.36 8.07 8.07 8.18 8.18 0.00 #4
7 Grant HOCHSTEIN USA 80.55 42.68 37.87 7.54 7.29 7.61 7.64 7.79 0.00 #5
8 Vincent ZHOU USA 80.23 45.66 36.57 7.43 7.21 7.04 7.57 7.32 2.00 #6
9 Alexander PETROV RUS 68.58 32.44 36.14 7.43 7.04 7.21 7.32 7.14 0.00 #8
10 Kevin REYNOLDS CAN 64.40 31.30 35.10 7.14 6.96 6.71 7.11 7.18 2.00 #3
11 Alexander MAJOROV SWE 64.27 31.16 34.11 6.86 6.61 6.64 7.00 7.00 1.00 #2
12 He ZHANG CHN 46.99 17.95 30.04 6.43 5.79 5.71 6.18 5.93 1.00 #1

Free Skate

Pl. Name Nation TSS
=
TES
+
PCS
+
SS TR PE CO IN Ded.
StN.
1 Max AARON USA 176.58 96.60 79.98 8.21 7.71 8.18 8.00 7.89 0.00 #8
2 Vincent ZHOU USA 176.43 102.35 75.08 7.64 7.29 7.50 7.61 7.50 1.00 #5
3 Mikhail KOLYADA RUS 176.25 90.11 87.14 8.89 8.57 8.54 8.82 8.75 1.00 #12
4 Han YAN CHN 172.39 88.67 83.72 8.54 8.04 8.46 8.39 8.43 0.00 #7
5 Boyang JIN CHN 170.59 92.81 78.78 8.21 7.54 7.89 7.86 7.89 1.00 #11
6 Javier FERNANDEZ ESP 162.49 72.93 89.56 8.89 8.96 8.61 9.18 9.14 0.00 #10
7 Kevin REYNOLDS CAN 162.10 88.16 73.94 7.43 7.18 7.43 7.54 7.39 0.00 #1
8 Keiji TANAKA JPN 159.98 81.40 79.58 8.04 7.79 7.89 8.00 8.07 1.00 #9
9 Grant HOCHSTEIN USA 135.89 63.83 73.06 7.43 7.14 7.11 7.39 7.46 1.00 #4
10 Alexander MAJOROV SWE 121.77 53.63 69.14 7.00 6.79 6.75 6.96 7.07 1.00 #2
11 He ZHANG CHN 120.59 59.15 61.44 6.50 5.86 6.14 6.18 6.04 0.00 #3
12 Alexander PETROV RUS 117.44 56.04 67.40 6.96 6.64 6.32 6.96 6.82 6.00 #6

Total

FPl. Name Nation Points SP FS
1 Mikhail KOLYADA
RUS
279.38 1 3
2 Boyang JIN
CHN
264.48 2 5
3 Max AARON
USA
259.69 5 1
4 Vincent ZHOU
USA
256.66 8 2
5 Han YAN
CHN
254.61 6 4
6 Javier FERNANDEZ
ESP
253.06 3 6
7 Keiji TANAKA
JPN
247.17 4 8
8 Kevin REYNOLDS
CAN
226.50 10 7
9 Grant HOCHSTEIN
USA
216.44 7 9
10 Alexander MAJOROV
SWE
186.04 11 10
11 Alexander PETROV
RUS
186.02 9 12
12 He ZHANG
CHN
167.58 12 11

2017 Cup of China Men’s Preview

Two men are making their Grand Prix debut at this event, including World Junior Champion Vincent Zhou.  Out of this group, only Javier Fernandez qualified for the Grand Prix Final last season.  Vincent Zhou is the youngest competitor at 17 years old, while Kevin Reynolds and Grant Hochstein are both 27.  Boyang Jin and Javier Fernandez both have personal best scores above 300.

This will definitely be a quad heavy event.  Fernandez, Aaron, Jin, and Zhou all have two quads in their short programs while Kolyada has one.  In the free skate, Jin and Zhou plan four quads, Aaron and Kolyada have three, and Fernandez has two.  Fernandez and Aaron’s hardest quad is the salchow, while Kolyada and Jin’s hardest quad is the lutz.  Zhou stands alone with the quad lutz and the quad flip in his arsenal.

Javier Fernandez is starting his 9th season on the Grand Prix.  He has won ten medals, including five consecutive golds.  He has qualified for the Final five times, medaling three times, but he has never won gold.  He won gold at the Autumn Classic International to start the Olympic season.  He landed a quad toe + double toe and a quad salchow in his short program with all Level 4 spins and step sequences.  He earned all positive GOEs worth 10 points and had program components in the low to mid 9s.  His one big technical weakness at that event was not landing a quad + triple combo, and not having at least one quad in the bonus.  He finished nearly 12 points behind Hanyu in the short program at the Autumn Classic International.  Hanyu landed a quad toe + triple toe in the bonus that earned 18.86 points, while Fernandez’s quad toe + double toe as the opening element in his program earned 13.60 points.  The five point gap in one element makes up half the difference between their scores.  His free skate included a quad toe and a quad salchow + triple toe.  He had a downgraded triple salchow (with a fall), popped triple axel, and an edge call on a triple flip.  He also only earned a Level 2 for his step sequence but his program components were in the low to mid 9s.  He has the 3rd best short program, 5th best free skate, and 4th best total scores.

Max Aaron is entering his 5th season on the Grand Prix, and has won three medals.  His last medal was a gold at Skate America in 2015.  He won silver at the US International Figure Skating Classic to start his season.  His short program includes a quad toe and a quad salchow + triple toe.  His program components were in the low to high 7s.  His free skate included a quad toe + double toe (likely triple), quad salchow, and a quad toe in the bonus.  He also completed two triple axels in the bonus along with a triple salchow + single loop + triple salchow combination.  His only negative GOE came on the quad salchow and his program components were in the mid 7s to low 8s.  He has the 7th best free skate and 6th best total scores.

Mikhail Kolyada won bronze at Rostelecom Cup, his first Grand Prix medal, with a new personal best free skate score.  A gold medal here would all but guarantee him a spot in the Final while a silver or bronze would keep him in the running.  His cleanest short program this season was at Finlandia Trophy, where he landed a quad toe + triple toe and he earned all positive GOEs.  However, he had much higher program components at Rostelecom Cup, ranging from the mid to high 8s.  He has a quad lutz, quad salchow, and quad toe planned in his free skate but hasn’t landed all three of them in competition yet.  In fact, he had three falls in his free skate at Rostelecom Cup.  As he had done earlier this season, he earned Level 4 on all of his spins and step sequence and his program components were again highest at Rostelecom Cup in the high 8s to low 9s.  These are all the more impressive considering his three falls.  He has the 7th best short program, 4th best free skate, and 7th best total scores.

Boyang Jin will be competing for his third season on the Grand Prix, and has won three silver medals.  He has qualified for the Final one time, in 2015.  He won gold at Finlandia Trophy earlier this season.  His short program there featured a quad lutz + triple toe and a quad toe (under-rotated and fall) in the bonus.  His program components were in the mid to high 7s.  His free skate includes a quad lutz, quad salchow (under-rotated and fall), quad toe + double toe (under-rotated), and a quad toe.  He also under-rotated and missed the second triple in his triple + triple combination  and fell on an under-rotated triple + triple combination late in the program.  He has difficult content, but last season it took him a long time to be able to land everything cleanly.  He lost about a point from his technical score after GOEs were taken into effect.  His program components were in the low to high 7s.  He has the 10th best short program and 10th best total score.

Vincent Zhou is making his Grand Prix debut after winning the World Junior title last season.  He won silver at Finlandia Trophy in his senior debut.  His short program at that event was a bit of a rough go with an under-rotated quad lutz and triple axel, but he landed a quad flip + triple toe with positive GOEs.  After the GOEs were factored in, however, he lost nearly 5 points on his technical score.  His program components were also on the lower side in the high 6s to low 7s.  His free skate included a quad lutz, quad flip, quad salchow, and quad toe.  He popped a triple axel but that was the only major error in the program.  His program components were better, in the mid 7s.  These are likely to improve as the season goes on, as he gets more comfortable and well known on the senior circuit.  He has the 8th best free skate score.

Han Yan is competing for his 5th season on the Grand Prix and has won two total medals, however he had the worst finish of his career last year, placing 10th at Skate Canada.  He qualified for the Final his first year on the Grand Prix back in 2013.  He has not competed in a Challenger Series event this year, but did take home a gold medal from the International Cup of Nice, a Senior B event.

 

My podium predictions:

Gold: Javier Fernandez

Silver: Vincent Zhou

Bronze: Mikhail Kolyada

 

Bios of the competitors:

Kevin Reynolds, CAN: He placed 9th at Worlds and 12th at Four Continents.  He won bronze at Skate Canada last season.  He is the 2013 Four Continents Champion.  His personal best is 253.84.  He is 27 years old.

Boyang Jin, CHN: He is the reigning World Bronze Medalists and finished 5th at Four Continents.  He placed 5th at Skate America and won silver at Cup of China last season.  He is the 2016 World Bronze Medalist, 2016 Four Continents Silver Medalist, and 2015 World Junior Silver Medalist.  His personal best is 303.58.  He is 20 years old.

Han Yan, CHN: He placed 10th at Four Continents.  He finished 10th at Skate Canada and 5th at Cup of China last season.  He is the 2013, 2015, and 2016 Four Continents Bronze Medalist, and 2012 World Junior Champion.  His personal best is 271.55.  He is 21 years old.

He Zhang, CHN: This is his Grand Prix debut.  His personal best is 196.20.  He is 20 years old.

Keiji Tanaka, JPN: He placed 19th at Worlds and 13th at Four Continents.  He finished 7th at Rostelecom cup and won bronze at NHK Trophy last season.  He is the 2011 World Junior Silver Medalist.  His personal best is 248.44.  He is 22 years old.

Mikhail Kolyada, RUS: He placed 8th at Worlds and is the reigning European Bronze Medalist.  He won bronze at Rostelecom Cup.  His personal best is 279.41.  He is 22 years old.

Alexander Petrov, RUS: He finished 4th at Junior Worlds.  He placed 7th at Skate Canada and 6th at Cup of China last season.  His personal best is 243.47.  He is 18 years old.

Javier Fernandez, ESP: He finished 4th at Worlds and is the reigning European Champion.  He won gold at Rostelecom Cup and gold at Trophee de France last season to qualify for the Grand Prix Final where he placed 4th.  He is the 2015 and 2016 World Champion; 2013 and 2014 World Bronze Medalist; and 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 European Champion.  His personal best is 314.93.  He is 26 years old.

Alexander Majorov, SWE: He placed 23rd at Worlds and 11th at Europeans.  He finished 12th at Rostelecom Cup last season.  He is the 2011 World Junior Bronze Medalist.  His personal best is 228.97.  He is 26 years old.

Max Aaron, USA: He finished 5th at Rostelecom Cup and 4th at Cup of China last season.  His personal best is 261.56.  He is 25 years old.

Grant Hochstein, USA: He placed 9th at Four Continents.  He finished 11th at Rostelecom Cup.  His personal best is 237.25.  He is 27 years old.

Vincent Zhou, USA: He is the reigning World Junior Champion.  He won silver at JGP Japan and bronze at JGP Estonia last season.  This is his Grand Prix debut.  His personal best is 258.11.  He is 17 years old.

2017 US Nationals Senior Men’s Preview

As a group, these men have won 60 national medals.  They have earned one medal at Four Continents and five World Junior medals.  They won 3 medals on the Grand Prix and 3 medals on the Junior Grand Prix this season in addition to 7 medals in the Challenger Series.  The 2nd-14th and 16th place finishers from last year are returning along with the 1st and 5th place junior finishers.

For these men to compete at the international level, they need a quad in their short program and at least two in their free skate in addition to consistent triple axels, solid spins and program components in the 8s or higher.  Internationally, they need 90+ points in the short program, 180+ in the free skate and 270+ total.  The short program will be held on Friday, January 20th with the free skate on Sunday, January 22nd.

Unfortunately, the US men will only have two spots at Worlds this season, despite the fact that all three US men finished in the top 10 last season.

Nathan Chen is setting the standard internationally on a technical level.  He became the first man to land four quads in a free program last season.  He was attempting as many as five earlier this season.  Only two men in the world have landed a quad lutz + triple toe and a quad flip in competition and he is the only one to do both.  He became the youngest US man to medal at a Grand Prix event this season and he won the silver medal at the Grand Prix Final.  He has the 6th best short program, 3rd best free skate, and 4th best total scores internationally.  This event is truly his to lose as he has the technical scores to outpace the field.  His program components are improving and he is a trained ballet dancer (he performed with Ballet West when he was younger) and has worked with Marina Zoueva on his programs.  His best free skate came at Trophee de France where he landed a quad lutz + triple toe, quad flip and double axel.  The axel is intended to be a triple, but that has always been his most problematic jump.  The base value of the jumps in his short program is 39.55 points.  He has been changing up his free skate layout throughout the season, and his best free skate came at the Grand Prix Final.  He landed quad lutz + triple toe, quad flip, quad toe + double toe + double loop, quad toe, triple axel, triple loop, triple flip + triple toe, and triple lutz to earn a base jump value of 86.02.  He received Level 4, Level 4, and Level 3 on his spins with Level 3 on his steps.  He earned a whopping 12 points from GOE with no elements receiving a negative GOE.  His program components ranged from 8.11-8.79.

Jason Brown has been struggling with the quad, but has received credit for it a few times this season.  After a rough outing at NHK Trophy, he discovered he had a stress fracture and has been off the ice.  He has really only been allowed to train the jumps for a few weeks at this point and it is unclear if he will be healthy enough to attempt a quad.  He has the 6th best free skate and 8th best total scores internationally.  His best short program came at Skate America where he landed a quad toe (fall), triple axel, and triple lutz + triple toe.  His base value for the jumps was 30.13 points.  He received no credit for one of his spins at that event.  His free skate included a quad toe (under-rotated), triple axel + double toe, triple axel, triple lutz, triple flip + triple toe, double axel, triple loop, and triple lutz + single loop + triple salchow giving him a base value of 67.84 in planned jumps.  He received Level 4, 4, and 3 on his spins and Level 4 on his steps.  He earned 11.5 points from GOE and his program components ranged from 8.79 to 9.18.

Max Aaron is coming to nationals with a new matador themed short program.  He has long been known for his speed and power on the ice which gives him great jumps, but he is still working to develop the artistic side of his skating.  The matador should be a perfect vehicle for him as it is all about the attitude and power against a bull.  Even though his program will be different, it is likely his jump content will remain the same.  His best short program came at Cup of China, where he landed quad salchow + triple toe, triple axel, and triple lutz, giving him a base jump value of 29.90.  His best free skate came at Rostelecom Cup, although his scores were very similar.  He landed a quad salchow + double toe, quad salchow, triple axel + double toe , triple loop, triple axel, triple lutz + single loop + triple salchow, triple toe, and double axel.  At Cup of China, he changed the three jump combo to start with a triple toe and did the lutz as a solo jump.  He earned Level 3 on all of his spins at Rostelecom Cup, but Level 4 at Cup of China and he upgraded his steps from Level 2 to Level 3.  He earned between 3.5 and 5 points on GOE.  His program components at Rostelecom Cup ranged from 7.39 to 7.82.

Timothy Dolensky competed at Skate America this season, and currently holds the 28th best international score for juniors and seniors combined.  His short program included a triple lutz, triple axel, and triple flip + triple toe (under-rotated), giving him a base jump value of 24.10.  His free skate included a double salchow (intended quad), triple axel + single toe (intended double or triple), triple lutz, triple axel, triple lutz + double toe, double axel + single loop + triple salchow, triple flip, and triple loop, giving him a base jump value of at least 64.14.  He earned Level 4 on all of his spins, but only Level 2 on the steps and he earned 3.5 points from GOE.  His program components ranged from 7.25-7.57.

Ross Miner skated his best skates at Cup of China.  His short program included a triple flip, triple axel, and triple lutz + double toe, giving him a base jump value of 21.83 points.  His free skate included a double salchow (intended quad), triple axel + double toe, triple lutz + triple toe, single axel (intended triple), double loop (intended triple), triple lutz + single loop + triple salchow (under-rotated), triple flip (edge call), and double axel.  This gives him a base value for planned jump content of

Grant Hochstein finished in the top 10 at Worlds last year and earned two 4th place finishes on the Grand Prix.  He is the reigning pewter medalist, but he has been suffering some setbacks this season.  His best short program came at NHK Trophy where he landed a quad toe (fall), triple axel, and triple lutz + double toe giving him a base jump value of 26.83.  His free skate was best at Skate Canada but he went for a different jump layout at NHK Trophy.  At NHK Trophy he went for a quad toe, triple axel (singled) + double toe, triple toe, triple loop + double toe, triple lutz (edge and under-rotated) + single loop (under-rotated) + triple salchow, triple flip, triple loop (under-rotated), and triple lutz (edge call), giving him a base jump value of 61.47 for his planned content.  He earned Level 4, Level 3 and Level 3 for his spins and Level 3 for his steps.  His program components ranged from 7.54-7.82.

Vincent Zhou has the 3rd best short program, 6th best free skate and 4th best total scores internationally as a junior, and the 29th best score overall.  He won two medals on the Junior Grand Prix circuit and finished 8th in his senior debut last season.  His best international event came at JGP Japan.  He had a triple axel, triple loop and triple lutz + triple toe in his short program.  Juniors are not allowed to attempt a quad in their short program and are required to do a loop as their solo jump.  It is likely that he would upgrade these jumps at nationals to acquire more points.  Zhou went for two quads in his nationals free skate last season, but has not attempted that this season.  At JGP Japan, he had a triple lutz, quad salchow (under-rotated), triple axel + triple toe, triple axel, double axel, triple lutz + single loop + triple salchow, triple loop (under-rotated) + double toe, and triple flip.  He earned Level 3s and 4s on his spins with Level 3 on his steps.  His program components ranged from 6.82 to 7.21.

Andrew Torgashev has the 7th best short program and 9th best free skate scores internationally as a junior.  He took home the silver medal at JGP Russia and won the bronze medal at his senior international debut at Tallinn Trophy.  He has yet to cross the 200 point threshold, however, and it will be tough to find a place on the podium without scoring closer to 220.

There are a few question marks headed into this event.  Will Brown be healthy enough and have enough mileage on his jumps to maximize his element scores?  Will he attempt the quad?  Will Aaron’s new short program boost his program components?  And will any of these other skaters hit the quads or triple axels that have escaped them this season?

Nathan Chen has the three highest short program total element scores out of the men competing here.  He earned 51.74 points for his technical score at Trophee de France.  Vincent Zhou score 44.60 points at JGP Japan with a quad less short program.  Aaron and Brown were within tenths of a point of each other at their best event, but still behind Chen’s worst outing.

For short program program components, Jason Brown has the best mark with 43.43 and his outing at NHK Trophy which was very rough technically, still carries the 2nd highest short program PCS mark.  Chen’s ranked next, ranging from 40-41.

The free skate has the ability to separate the men from the boys.  Chen’s best free skate had an astounding technical score of 113.13, 20 points higher than Brown’s best effort.  Chen’s worst technical outing was Trophee de France where he scored 94.59 but he was attempting five quads at that event and it seemed to be a bit more than he could handle.  Aaron who is known for his quads and has two in his free skate, in his best effort finished 9 points behind Chen’s worst effort on the technical side.

Unsurprisingly, the best free skate components belong to Jason Brown with a score of 90.02.  However, Chen isn’t that far behind, scoring 84.42 points at the Grand Prix Final.  Behind Brown and Chen is Hochstein who was just tenths of a point ahead of Aaron.

So far, Brown has been able to get away without quads on the strength of his grades of executions, program components, spins and steps.  As his coach Kori Ade urged him before Skate America, he is able to go out onto the ice and gobble up points.  However, he starts off at a disadvantage: In the free skate he is nearly 20 points below Chen’s start value on the jumps.  And while the jumps aren’t everything, Chen has the ability to execute with the same quality as Brown.  At the Grand Prix Final Chen earned a GOE of +12 for his free skate.  Brown earned 11.5 points at Skate America.  Chen actually has the ability to outperform Brown on the GOE side and further expand his lead.  With GOE, Chen’s first element, the quad lutz + triple toe, earned him 19.90 points at the Grand Prix Final.  Chen still doesn’t have the program components that Brown does, but they have been steadily improving throughout the season.  He might only lose on program components by 5 or 6 points and it’s not outside of the realm of possibility for Chen to win the free skate by 15 points or more.

Even though he has a quad planned in his short and two in the free, he still could finish behind Brown.  If Brown goes for the quad and receives credit for it, he actually has a base jump value higher than Aaron’s and he’s more likely to achieve positive GOEs.  Brown also has about a 5-6 point cushion on program components over Aaron in the short program.  Again, in the free skate, if Brown goes for the quad and receives credit, his base jump value is better than Aaron’s.

However, not executing the quad is not deadly for Brown. He plans a quad toe in his programs.  If he falls (like he did at Skate America), the jump is worth 10.30 but he receives -3 on GOE making it worth 6.30 points.  After the one point deduction it comes out to 5.30 points.  In the short program, he would likely change this jump to a triple flip which is worth a base value of 5.30 points.  He twice received under-rotation calls on the quad toe, once with a fall, earning him 3.00 points and 6.97 points.  Once he received a downgrade call and a fall, earning a measly 1.20 points.  Even with these failed quads, Brown outscored Aaron, comparing best events to best events.  If he replaced the quad with a triple that could earn him a positive GOE, it could be a net positive for him.  But while it might be enough to get him onto the podium and onto the World team, it will not be enough to compete for a medal at Worlds.

My podium predictions:

Gold: Nathan Chen

Silver: Jason Brown

Bronze: Max Aaron

Pewter: Vincent Zhou

 

Bios of the competitors:

Max Aaron: He is 24 years old and represents the Broadmoor Skating Club.  He placed 8th at Worlds and 7th at Four Continents last season.  He placed 5th at Rostelecom Cup and 4th at Cup of China.  He won bronze at the Lombardia Trophy and bronze at the Autumn Classic International.  He is the reigning Silver Medalist, 2015 Pewter Medalist, 2014 Bronze Medalist, 2013 Champion, finished 8th in seniors in 2012, is the 2011 Junior Champion, 2010 Junior Bronze Medalist, finished 13th in juniors in 2008, 5th in novice in 2007, is the 2006 Intermediate Bronze Medalist and the 2005 Juvenile Champion.

Jason Brown: He is 22 and represents the Skokie Valley Skating Club.  He won silver at Skate America and placed 7th at NHK Trophy.  He won silver at Lombardia Trophy and gold at the US International Figure Skating Classic.  He is the 2013 Junior Worlds Silver Medalist and the 2012 Junior Worlds Bronze Medalist.  He is the 2015 Champion, 2014 Silver Medalist, finished 8th in 2013, 9th in 2012, 7th in 2011, is the 2010 Junior Champion, 2009 Novice Bronze Medalist, 2008 Intermediate Silver Medalist and 2007 Juvenile Champion.

Nathan Chen: He is 17 years old and represents the Salt Lake Figure Skating Club.  He placed 4th at Trophee de France and won silver at NHK Trophy to qualify for the Grand Prix Final where he won silver.  He won gold at Finlandia Trophy.  He is the 2014 World Junior Bronze Medalist.  He is the reigning Silver Medalist, finished 8th in 2015, is the 2014 Junior Champion, 2013 Junior Bronze Medalist, 2012 Junior Champion, 2011 Novice Champion, 201o Novice Champion, 2009 Intermediate Silver Medalist, 2008 Juvenile Bronze Medalist and placed 10th as a juvenile in 2007.  Internationally as a junior he has the 2nd best short program, best free skate and best total scores.

Timothy Dolensky: He is 24 and represents the Atlanta Figure Skating Club.  He finished 8th at Skate America.  He placed 7th at the Nebelhorn Trophy and 6th at Golden Spin.  He finished 7th last season, 14th in 2015, 13th in 2014, is the 2012 Junior Silver Medalist, 2010 Novice Bronze Medalist, finished 15th in intermediate in 2007, 15th in intermediate in 2006 and 9th in juvenile in 2005.

Scott Dyer: He is 25 and represents the All Year Figure Skating Club.  He placed 11th last season, 18th in 2014, 10th in 2012, 13th in 2011, is the 2010 Junior Pewter Medalist, the 2007 Novice Pewter Medalist and the 2006 Novice Pewter Medalist.  He won bronze at Pacific Coast Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  He has the 4th best short program, 6th best free skate and 4th best total score from qualifying.

Tomoki Hiwatshi: He is 16 years old and competes for the DuPage Figure Skating Club.  He is the reigning World Junior Bronze Medalist.  He placed 6th at JGP France.  He finished 9th at Warsaw Cup.  He is the reigning Junior Champion, finished 5th in juniors in 2015, is the 2013 Novice Champion, 2012 Intermediate Champion, the 2011 Juvenile Champion and finished 6th in Juvenile Boys in 2010.

Grant Hochstein: He is 26 and represents the Skating Club of New York.  He finished 10th at Worlds and 8th at Four Continents last season.  He placed 11th at Skate Canada and 11th at NHK Trophy.  He placed 5th at Lombardia Trophy and won bronze at Nebelhorn Trophy.  He is the reigning Pewter Medalist, finished 9th in 2015, 11th in 2014, 15th in 2013, 12th in 2012, 12th in 2011, 7th in 2010, is the 2009 Junior Pewter Medalist, finished 11th in junior in 2008, 12th in juniors in 2007, 8th in novice in 2005, is the 2004 Intermediate Pewter Medalist, and finished 10th in juvenile in 2003.

Alexander Johnson: He is 26 and represents the Braemar-City of Lakes Figure Skating Club.  He placed 6th at Ondrej Nepela.  He finished 6th last season, 11th in 2015, 7th in 2013, 15th in 2012, 17th in 2010, is the 2009 Junior Bronze Medalist, finished 7th in juniors in 2008, is the 2007 Novice Silver Medalist, finished 9th in novice in 2006, 5th in intermediate in 2005, 13th in intermediate in 2004, 12th in juvenile in 2003 and 16th in juvenile in 2002.  He won silver at Midwestern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  Nationally, he has the best short program, 9th best free skate and 6th best total scores.

Daniel Kulenkamp: He is 21 years old and competes for the Sun Valley Figure Skating Club.  He finished 10th last season, 8th in juniors in 2015, 13th as a junior in 2014, 5th as a novice in 2013 and 12th in intermediates in 2011.  He won pewter at Pacific Coast Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  He has the 6th best short program and 10th best total scores from qualifying.

Jimmy Ma: He is 21 years old and represents the Ice House of New Jersey Figure Skating Club.  He finished 16th last season, 18th in 2015, is the 2014 Junior Bronze Medalist, 2013 Junior Pewter Medalist, finished 5th as a novice in 2012 and 14th as an intermediate in 2010.  He won bronze at Eastern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  Nationally he has the 5th best short program, 8th best free skate and 8th best total scores.

Oleksiy Melnyk: He is 19 years old and competes on behalf of the Washington Figure Skating Club.  He placed 9th at JGP France.  He finished 5th in juniors last season, 7th in 2015, is the 2013 Novice Silver Medalist, 2011 Intermediate Silver Medalist, finished 11th in novice in 2012 and 7th in juvenile in 2009.  He won pewter at Eastern Sectionals to qualify for Nationals.  He has the 9th best short program, 7th best free skate and 9th best total scores.

Ross Miner: He is 25 and represents the Skating Club of Boston.  He placed 14th at Four Continents last season.  He finished 12th at Skate Canada and 9th at Cup of China.  He placed 6th at the US International Figure Skating Classic.  He is the 2012 Four Continents Bronze Medalist.  He finished 5th last season, 6th in 2015, 7th in 2014, is the 2013 Silver Medalist, 2012 Bronze Medalist, 2011 Bronze Medalist, 2009 Junior Champion, 2008 Novice Silver Medalist, 2006 Intermediate Champion and finished 8th in intermediate in 2005.

Jordan Moeller: He is 21 years old and represents the Northern Ice Skating Club.  He finished 13th in 2015, is the 2014 Junior Silver Medalist, 2013 Junior Pewter Medalist, finished 5th as a novice in 2012 and 14th as an intermediate in 2010.  He won gold at Midwestern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.

Shotaro Omori: He is 21 years old and represents the Los Angeles Figure Skating Club.  He is the 2013 World Junior Bronze Medalist.  He finished 12th last season, 17th in 2015, is the 2013 Junior Silver Medalist, finished 9th in juniors in 2011, 9th in novice in 2010, is the 2009 Juvenile Bronze Medalist, and finished 5th in juvenile in 2008.  He won gold at Southwest Pacific Regionals and silver at Pacific Coast Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  Nationally, has the 3rd best short program, 2nd best free skate and 2nd best total scores.

Sebastien Payannet: He is 22 and represents the Rocky Mountain Figure Skating Club.  He finished 14th last season and 20th in 2015.  He won pewter at Midwestern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.

Dennis Phan: He represents the Birmingham Figure Skating Club.

Sean Rabbitt: He is 26 and represents the Glacier Falls Figure Skating Club.  He placed 7th at the Autumn Classic International.  He finished 9th last season, 12th in 2015, 14th in 2014 and 19th in 2013.  He won gold at Pacific Coast Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  Nationally, he has the 2ndd best short program, 4th best free skate and best total scores.

Emmanuel Savary: He is 19 years old and represents the Skating Club of New York.  He finished 13th last season, 12th in juniors in 2012, 5th in juniors in 2011, is the 2010 Novice Silver Medalist, 2009 Intermediate Champion and 6th in Juvenile in 2007.  He won silver at Eastern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.  Nationally, he has the 8th best short program, 5th best free skate and 7th best total scores.

Andrew Torgashev: He is 15 years old and represents the Panthers Figure Skating Club.  He won silver at JGP Russia and placed 4th at JGP Germany.  He won bronze at the Tallinn Trophy.  He is the 2015 Junior Champion, 2014 Novice Pewter Medalist, 2013 Intermediate Men’s Champion, 2012 Juvenile Boys Champion and 2011 Juvenile Boys Bronze Medalist.

Vincent Zhou: He is 16 years old and represents the Broadmoor Skating Club.  He finished 5th at Junior Worlds last season.  He won silver at JGP Japan and bronze at JGP Estonia.  He finished 8th last season, is the 2013 Junior Champion, 2012 Novice Champion, 2011 Intermediate Champion and placed 5th in juvenile in 2010.  He won gold at Midwestern Sectionals to qualify for nationals.

2016 Cup of China Men’s Results

Short Program

 Pl. Name Nation TSS
=
TES
+
PCS
+
SS TR PE CO IN Ded.
StN.
1 Boyang JIN CHN 96.17 57.02 39.15 7.79 7.46 8.11 7.93 7.86 0.00 #7
2 Daniel SAMOHIN ISR 83.47 46.47 38.00 7.75 7.32 7.61 7.64 7.68 1.00 #5
3 Patrick CHAN CAN 83.41 38.92 44.49 9.07 8.89 8.57 8.89 9.07 0.00 #1
4 Sergei VORONOV RUS 82.93 44.36 38.57 7.89 7.39 7.79 7.68 7.82 0.00 #3
5 Max AARON USA 81.67 43.90 37.77 7.64 7.32 7.71 7.46 7.64 0.00 #9
6 Ross MINER USA 76.73 38.74 37.99 7.71 7.46 7.61 7.64 7.57 0.00 #2
7 Michal BREZINA CZE 75.86 36.53 39.33 7.86 7.68 7.89 7.86 8.04 0.00 #10
8 Han YAN CHN 75.04 35.87 39.17 8.07 7.64 7.68 7.82 7.96 0.00 #6
9 Alexander PETROV RUS 74.21 37.35 36.86 7.39 7.11 7.43 7.50 7.43 0.00 #8
10 Maxim KOVTUN RUS 70.10 32.73 37.37 7.61 7.43 7.25 7.54 7.54 0.00 #4

Free Skate

Pl. Name Nation TSS
=
TES
+
PCS
+
SS TR PE CO IN Ded.
StN.
1 Patrick CHAN CAN 196.31 104.31 93.00 9.36 9.18 9.14 9.36 9.46 1.00 #9
2 Boyang JIN CHN 182.37 104.57 78.80 7.86 7.54 8.07 7.93 8.00 1.00 #8
3 Max AARON USA 161.07 84.79 76.28 7.75 7.46 7.61 7.61 7.71 0.00 #6
4 Sergei VORONOV RUS 160.83 81.89 78.94 8.04 7.39 8.14 7.86 8.04 0.00 #7
5 Han YAN CHN 155.15 76.43 78.72 8.21 7.57 7.79 7.93 7.86 0.00 #4
6 Alexander PETROV RUS 154.23 79.85 74.38 7.36 7.25 7.50 7.54 7.54 0.00 #2
7 Maxim KOVTUN RUS 151.33 76.33 75.00 7.75 7.21 7.57 7.54 7.43 0.00 #1
8 Ross MINER USA 136.61 61.75 74.86 7.57 7.43 7.32 7.54 7.57 0.00 #5
9 Michal BREZINA CZE 135.91 60.49 76.42 7.86 7.46 7.39 7.68 7.82 1.00 #3
10 Daniel SAMOHIN ISR 130.04 58.98 73.06 7.50 7.21 7.04 7.39 7.39 2.00 #10

Total

FPl. Name Nation Points SP FS
1 Patrick CHAN
CAN
279.72 3 1
2 Boyang JIN
CHN
278.54 1 2
3 Sergei VORONOV
RUS
243.76 4 4
4 Max AARON
USA
242.74 5 3
5 Han YAN
CHN
230.19 8 5
6 Alexander PETROV
RUS
228.44 9 6
7 Maxim KOVTUN
RUS
221.43 10 7
8 Daniel SAMOHIN
ISR
213.51 2 10
9 Ross MINER
USA
213.34 6 8
10 Michal BREZINA
CZE
211.77 7 9

2016 Cup of China Men’s Preview

Javier Fernandez and Shoma Uno have already taken two of the six spots in the Grand Prix Final.  There are still six men that have a shot of qualifying for the Final here.

Patrick Chan won the gold medal at Skate Canada ahead of Yuzuru Hanyu.  His free skate started with a quad toe + triple toe combination that earned +3 GOEs and netted a whopping 17 points.  He fell on a quad salchow and doubled two jumps at the end of his program at that event as well.  He needs a gold, silver, bronze or 4th place finish to secure a spot in the Final.  He has the 4th best short program, 7th best free skate and 6th best total scores.

Sergei Voronov finished 4th at Skate America.  His free skate doesn’t have anything spectacular on the technical side and he only has one quad, but he receives positive GOEs on almost all of his elements.  At Skate America he earned 11 points in the free skate from GOE alone and only received negative GOEs on a triple flip that received an edge call.  He can qualify with a gold medal.

Michal Brezina finished 4th at Skate Canada.  His free skate at that event got stronger as the program went on.  He stood up on the quad salchow but it was under-rotated and he had his three jump combination downgraded.  The back half of the program was executed well with positive GOEs on all the elements.  He can qualify with a gold medal.

Boyang Jin came into Skate America as a favorite after winning a World medal in his first senior season.  He is the first man to land a quad lutz + triple toe and does them with ease.  However, he finished a disappointing 5th at that event.  He has four quads planned in his free skate, including two in the bonus.  He also has a very difficult triple axel + half loop + triple salchow combination.  Even more impressive is the work he has put into improving his component scores in the offseason.  He still has a lot of work to do in this area, but putting out cleaner programs will help bring these scores up as well.  He needs a gold medal to give himself a shot at the Final.  He has the 8th best free skate score.

Daniel Samohin and Max Aaron both also need a gold medal to give themselves a chance to make the Final after finishing 5th at their first events.  Aaron has won a gold medal on the Grand Prix before but he doesn’t have the technical arsenal of Jin or the performance quality of Chan so they will be a tall order to try and surpass.

Maxim Kovtun cannot qualify for the Final but he could be a bit of a spoiler here.  He finished 7th at Skate America, but had a much better outing at the Finlandia Trophy earlier this season.  His free skate includes a quad salchow and a quad toe in addition to the difficult triple axel + half loop + triple salchow combination.  He has the 8th best short program score.

The top short program score of the season is 98.59 with the top 10 scoring above 86 points.  The best free skate score is 201.43 with the top 10 scoring above 170.  The best total score is 292.98 with the top 10 scoring above 252.

 

My podium predictions:

Gold: Patrick Chan

Silver: Boyang Jin

Bronze: Sergei Voronov

 

Bios of the competitors:

Patrick Chan, CAN: He finished 5th at Worlds and is the reigning Four Continents Champion.  He won gold at Skate Canada.  He is the 2014 Olympic Silver Medalist; 2011, 2012 and 2013 World Champion; 2009 and 2010 World silver medalist; 2009 and 2012 Four Continents Champion and 2007 World Junior silver medalist.  His personal best is 295.27.  He is 25 years old.

Boyang Jin, CHN: He is the reigning World Bronze Medalist and Four Continents Silver Medalist.  He placed 5th at Skate America.  He is the 2015 World Junior Silver Medalist.  His personal best is 289.83.  He is 19 years old.

Han Yan, CHN: He finished 26th at Worlds and is the reigning Four Continents Bronze Medalist.  He placed 10th at Skate Canada.  He is the 2013 and 2015 Four Continents Bronze Medalist and 2012 World Junior Champion.  His personal best is 271.55.  He is 20 years old.

Michal Brezina, CZE: He placed 9th at Worlds and 10th at Europeans.   He placed 4th at Skate Canada.  He is the 2013 European Bronze Medalist and 2009 World Junior Silver Medalist.  His personal best is 243.52.  He is 26 years old.

Daniel Samohin, ISR: He placed 7th at Europeans and is the reigning World Junior Champion.  He placed 5th at Skate Canada.  His personal best is 236.65.  He is 18 years old.

Daisuke Murakami, JPN: He won bronze at Skate Canada and bronze at Trophee Eric Bompard last season to qualify for the Grand Prix Final where he placed 6th.  His personal best is 256.47.  He is 25 years old.

Maxim Kovtun, RUS: He placed 18th at Worlds and is the reigning European Bronze Medalist.  He placed 7th at Skate America.  He is the 2015 European Silver Medalist.  His personal best is 247.37.  He is 21 years old.

Alexander Petrov, RUS: He finished 8th at Europeans.  He placed 7th at Skate Canada.  His personal best is 232.21.  He is 17 years old.

Sergei Voronov, RUS: He placed 4th at Skate America.  He is the 2014 European Silver Medalist and 2015 European Bronze Medalist.  His personal best is 252.55.  He is 29 years old.

Max Aaron, USA: He placed 8th at Worlds and 7th at Four Continents.  He placed 5th at Rostelecom Cup.  His personal best is 258.95.  He is 24 years old.

Ross Miner, USA: He finished 14th at Four Continents.  He placed 12th at Skate Canada.  He is the 2012 Four Continents Bronze Medalist.  His personal best is 248.92.  He is 25 years old.

2016 Rostelecom Cup Men’s Results

Short Program

  Pl. Name Nation TSS
=
TES
+
PCS
+
SS TR PE CO IN Ded.
StN.
1 Shoma UNO JPN 98.59 54.28 44.31 8.96 8.64 8.75 8.96 9.00 0.00 #6
2 Javier FERNANDEZ ESP 91.55 45.47 46.08 9.14 9.11 9.11 9.36 9.36 0.00 #7
3 Mikhail KOLYADA RUS 90.28 48.56 41.72 8.36 8.04 8.50 8.36 8.46 0.00 #2
4 Alexei BYCHENKO ISR 86.81 46.74 40.07 7.89 7.68 8.18 8.07 8.25 0.00 #10
5 Chafik BESSEGHIER FRA 80.68 44.50 36.18 7.36 6.89 7.39 7.25 7.29 0.00 #5
6 Elladj BALDE CAN 76.36 39.18 37.18 7.43 7.14 7.54 7.43 7.64 0.00 #1
7 Artur DMITRIEV RUS 76.06 40.67 36.39 7.46 6.96 7.29 7.32 7.36 1.00 #9
8 Max AARON USA 73.64 37.14 37.50 7.71 7.21 7.43 7.61 7.54 1.00 #8
9 Gordei GORSHKOV RUS 73.37 37.94 35.43 7.18 6.86 7.04 7.21 7.14 0.00 #4
10 Keiji TANAKA JPN 69.13 32.49 36.64 7.43 7.18 7.21 7.50 7.32 0.00 #11
11 Alexander MAJOROV SWE 67.80 33.51 35.29 7.07 6.86 6.86 7.14 7.36 1.00 #12
12 Deniss VASILJEVS LAT 62.40 28.15 35.25 7.14 6.75 6.86 7.21 7.29 1.00 #3

 

Free Skate

 Pl. Name Nation TSS
=
TES
+
PCS
+
SS TR PE CO IN Ded.
StN.
1 Javier FERNANDEZ ESP 201.43 105.73 95.70 9.36 9.39 9.68 9.71 9.71 0.00 #12
2 Shoma UNO JPN 186.48 96.12 91.36 9.21 8.82 9.04 9.32 9.29 1.00 #11
3 Alexei BYCHENKO ISR 168.71 88.57 80.14 8.00 7.71 8.18 8.04 8.14 0.00 #8
4 Max AARON USA 161.94 85.18 76.76 7.82 7.39 7.82 7.64 7.71 0.00 #6
5 Keiji TANAKA JPN 155.78 83.14 72.64 7.39 6.96 7.36 7.32 7.29 0.00 #2
6 Mikhail KOLYADA RUS 155.02 72.04 83.98 8.61 8.14 8.21 8.57 8.46 1.00 #10
7 Gordei GORSHKOV RUS 150.14 76.70 73.44 7.43 7.07 7.43 7.43 7.36 0.00 #5
8 Elladj BALDE CAN 149.09 71.67 77.42 7.75 7.39 7.89 7.79 7.89 0.00 #7
9 Artur DMITRIEV RUS 145.46 75.16 71.30 7.29 6.82 7.11 7.29 7.14 1.00 #4
10 Chafik BESSEGHIER FRA 143.30 70.16 73.14 7.39 7.00 7.29 7.46 7.43 0.00 #9
11 Deniss VASILJEVS LAT 141.37 68.65 72.72 7.18 6.93 7.43 7.39 7.43 0.00 #3
12 Alexander MAJOROV SWE 124.34 60.78 64.56 6.89 6.39 6.11 6.68 6.21 1.00 #1

Total

FPl. Name Nation Points SP FS
1 Javier FERNANDEZ
ESP
292.98 2 1
2 Shoma UNO
JPN
285.07 1 2
3 Alexei BYCHENKO
ISR
255.52 4 3
4 Mikhail KOLYADA
RUS
245.30 3 6
5 Max AARON
USA
235.58 8 4
6 Elladj BALDE
CAN
225.45 6 8
7 Keiji TANAKA
JPN
224.91 10 5
8 Chafik BESSEGHIER
FRA
223.98 5 10
9 Gordei GORSHKOV
RUS
223.51 9 7
10 Artur DMITRIEV
RUS
221.52 7 9
11 Deniss VASILJEVS
LAT
203.77 12 11
12 Alexander MAJOROV
SWE
192.14 11 12

2016 Rostelecom Cup Men’s Preview

Javier Fernandez put together two solid performances to win his second World Championship, defeating his training mate and gold medal favorite Yuzuru Hanyu.  He proves that you can combine the quads with artistry and is one of only two skaters to surpass the 300 point mark in competition.  He only had one loss last season, and that was at the Grand Prix Final.  His personal best is about 35 points higher than the next closest competitor.  He has yet to compete this season.

Shoma Uno won Skate America earlier this season with a new personal best total score.  He showed off his quad flip in both programs, the only skater in the world attempting this jump. He has the 2nd best short program, best free skate and best total scores.

After these two skaters, the picture gets a bit muddy as the rest of the skaters are bunched up together but very far away from the top and haven’t had the best starts to their seasons.

Chafik Besseghier leads the pack with his Challenger Series performance, winning gold at Cup of Nice.  His best finish on the Grand Prix was a 5th place showing at Trophee Eric Bompard back in 2010.

Max Aaron is coming off an 8th place showing at Worlds and a season committed to improving his artistry to match the jumps he has been known for.  However, he only won bronze at Lombardia Trophy and bronze at the Autumn Classic International and does not have any top 10 scores.

Mikhail Kolyada came off an impressive 4th place finish at Worlds last season in his first trip to the event.  He started his season finishing 4th at Finlandia Trophy and also does not currently have any top 10 scores.

Alexei Bychenko had the performance of his career last year to win the silver medal at the European Championships.  He went on to finish 13th at Worlds and was surpassed by skaters who finished below him at Europeans.  He finished just 7th at Finlandia Trophy earlier this season.

The best short program score of the season so far is 90.56 with the top 10 all scoring above 80 points.  The best free skate score is 190.19 with the top 10 all scoring above 164.  The best total score is 279.34 with the top 10 all scoring above 239.

 

My podium predictions:

Gold: Javier Fernandez

Silver: Shoma Uno

Bronze: Mikhail Kolyada

 

Bios of the competitors:

Elladj Balde, CAN: He placed 11th at Cup of China and 11th at NHK Trophy last season.  His personal best is 242.36.  He is 25 years old.

Chafik Besseghier, FRA: He placed 20th at Worlds.  He finished 10th at Trophee Eric Bompard and 9th at NHK Trophy last season.  His personal best is 224.19.  He is 27 years old.

Alexei Bychenko, ISR: He placed 13th at Worlds and is the reigning European Silver Medalist.  He placed 12th at Skate America and 10th at Rostelecom Cup last season.  His personal best is 242.56.  He is 28 years old.

Keiji Tanaka, JPN: He placed 6th at Four Continents.  He finished 5th at NHK Trophy last season.  He is the 2011 World Junior Silver Medalist.  His personal best is 234.90.  He is 21 years old.

Shoma Uno, JPN: He placed 7th at Worlds and 4th at Four Continents. He won gold at Skate America.  He is the 2015 World Junior Champion.  His personal best is 279.34.  He is 18 years old.

Deniss Vasiljevs, LAT: He finished 14th at Worlds, 12th at Europeans, and 8th at Junior Worlds.  He won silver at JGP Latvia and silver at JGP Poland last season.  This is his Grand Prix debut.  His personal best is 224.54.  He is 17 years old.

Artur Dmitriev, RUS: This is his Grand Prix debut.  His personal best is 247.57.  He is 24 years old.

Gordei Gorshkov, RUS: This is his Grand Prix debut.  His personal best is 223.25.  He is 23 years old.

Mikhail Kolyada, RUS: He finished 4th at Worlds and 5th at Europeans.  He placed 5th at Rostelecom Cup last season.  His personal best is 267.97.  He is 22 years old.

Javier Fernandez, ESP: He is the reigning World and European Champion.  He won gold at Cup of China and gold at Rostelecom Cup last season to qualify for the Grand Prix Final where he won silver.  He is the 2015 World Champion, 2013 and 2014 World Bronze Medalist; and 2013, 2014 and 2015 European Champion.  His personal best is 314.93.  He is 25 years old.

Alexander Majorov, SWE: He placed 11th at Europeans.  He is the 2011 World Junior Bronze Medalist.  His personal best is 224.86.  He is 25 years old.

Max Aaron, USA: He placed 8th at Worlds and 7th at Four Continents.  He won gold at Skate America and placed 7th at Trophee Eric Bompard last season.  His personal best is 258.95.  He is 24 years old.

2016 World Championships Men’s Preview

This has truly been an exciting season in men’s figure skating with the limits of the sport being pushed.  It is not uncommon to see two quads in the short program and three or four in the free skate.  But more importantly, these difficult jumps are being combined with the artistic side of skating to truly complete the whole package.  There is already talk of revamping the scoring system for next year as the program components can no longer keep up with the technical scores these men are achieving, even when they are virtually perfect.

Since 2011, Patrick Chan, Yuzuru Hanyu or Javier Fernandez have won the World title, and it is fitting that these three are the top contenders going into these Championships.  Despite how gifted all these skaters are, there has still been a clear delineation between them and a good separation between them and the rest of the pack.

No skater had ever passed the 300 point mark in international competition until Yuzuru Hanyu did this season.  Not only did he pass it, he smashed it, twice, setting an astonishing 330 points at the Grand Prix Final.  He hit all of his difficult elements with positive GOEs and nearly perfect program components and truly showed what perfection can look like in an often imperfect sport.  He has scored over 100 in the short program and over 200 in the free skate with over 100 on the technical side.  If he can come even close to the last two marks he set in competition, this should be a cakewalk for him.  However, he did win the silver at Skate Canada with a score of 259 proving that he is indeed human.  He has the best short program, best free skate and best total scores.

Javier Fernandez trains alongside Hanyu and he made history last season when he became the first Spanish skater to win a World title.  He has long been known for his jumps but is really starting to show off the finer side to his skating.  His Guys and Dolls free skate in particular plays into his wheel house and when he’s on with his jumps, the crowd really gets into the program.  He enters this event as the four time reigning European Champion and he crossed the 300 point mark at this years Championships, becoming only the 2nd skater to do so.  Like Hanyu, he can score over 100 in the short program and over 200 in the free skate with over 100 points on the technical side.  He has the 2nd best short program, 3rd best free skate and 2nd best total scores.

Patrick Chan considered retiring after his 4th place finish at the Grand Prix Final, but stuck with it and won the title at Four Continents last month.  His short program has been his nemesis this season and he’s had to dig himself out of a hole in the free skate to try and make it on to the podium.  Even after a stellar overall performance at Four Continents, he still does not have a short program score that even ranks in the top 10.  This could be very dangerous for him, as he’ll want to be in the final warmup group at Worlds and not competing earlier in the free skate.  He is capable of scoring over 200 points in the free skate with 100 on the technical side, and is one of only three skaters this season to do so.  However, his personal best is still a whopping 7 points lower than Chan’s and 35 points below Hanyu.  He has the 2nd best free skate and 3rd best total scores.

Outside of these three veterans, there are several youngsters knocking on the door and hoping to land their way on the podium.

Boyang Jin has some of the most impressive jumps in skating, landing quad lutz + triple toe combinations with ease, something no other man has done before.  He’s also one of only two skaters attempting four quads in his free skate (the other is Nathan Chen who is out for the rest of the season).  His short program has a quad lutz + triple toe plus a quad toe in the bonus.  His free skate has four quads, including two in the bonus.  His focus is mostly on the jumps and he needs to work on developing transitions, choreography and a connection with his music and the audience.  He made up some ground at Four Continents, setting new personal bests in all segments of competition and nearing the 290 mark, putting him within 5 points of Chan.   He can easily score over 100 points on the TES in his free skate, but it’s the program components that are holding him back from reaching the 200 point mark for the program as a whole.  He has the 3rd best short program, 4th best free skate and 4th best total scores.

Shoma Uno had a great start to his senior debut season, winning the bronze medal at the Grand Prix Final, ahead of Patrick Chan.  While he has yet to score 200 points for his free skate, he has scored over 100 on the technical side.  His short program includes a quad toe in the bonus and his free skate includes two quads, one in combination and one in the bonus.  What Uno does really well, especially for a young skater, is balance the artistry with his technical performance.  He’s already shown signs of the dynamic performance style that the Japanese are becoming known for.  He had a bit of a meltdown at Four Continents, finishing 4th, however, he wasn’t far off of his personal best.  He has the 5th best short program, 5th best free skate and 5th best total scores.

Han Yan is in his third senior season, but has experienced some ups and downs in his career.  He had a solid if unimpressive Grand Prix campaign, finishing 4th and winning bronze.  He was a surprise bronze medal finisher at Four Continents where he set new personal bests in the free skate and total score.  He still has a ways to go to catch the top tier of men at this event, but he could put out another set of strong performances to finish in the top 6 here.  He has the 6th best short program, 7th best free skate and 7th best total scores.

Two Americans will be looking to hold on to the US’s three spots at Worlds for next season in front of their home crowd.

Max Aaron put out two relatively clean programs at US nationals but still settled for a silver medal.  He showed at Skate America that he has all the goods to be a top contender with lightning speed, great jumps and a focus on artistry and performance.  However, he has been chasing that performance all season and hasn’t quite lived up to it again.  He has the 10th best short program, 9th best free skate and 9th best total scores.

Adam Rippon is all artistry all the time and his spins and edges along with his choreography and well renowned in the sport.  However, he took home the US title in January despite not attempting a quad in the short program and botching the quad attempt in his free skate.  He is capable of landing a quad lutz, but it is wildly inconsistent and in his case, not worth the risk.  He doesn’t attempt any other quad jump so he’s banking on that one jump going well to get the points he needs.  His triple axel can also be a bit shaky but he is known for his signature Rippon triple lutz.

The wild card in this event is Denis Ten.  He is the skater most often counted out, but who comes through at the end of the season. He is on the season’s best list, although these scores come from a Challenger Series event which are often slightly overscored.  He withdrew from Four Continents and had a disappointing showing at a Senior B last week.  While it’s hard to count him out, since he’s pulled through so many times in the past, I think this might be the year that he can’t rebound in time to be in top shape for Worlds.  He has the 4th best short program, 6th best free skate and 6th best total scores.

Other skaters looking to factor into the top 10 are European medalists Alexei Bychenko and Maxim Kovtun (who also has the 8th best short program score).  Nam Nguyen was 5th at this event last season, but hasn’t been able to have the same results this year.  He didn’t even qualify to compete here, but another Canadian skater turned down his spot in favor of Nguyen in hopes of Canada being able to earn three spots for next year’s Worlds.

With only two spots available for the Japanese men at this event, two top ten finishers are staying at home. Takahito Mura has the 8th best score of the season, while Daisuke Murakami currently holds the 10th best score of the season.

 

My podium predictions:

Gold: Yuzuru Hanyu

Silver: Javier Fernandez

Bronze: Patrick Chan

 

Bios of the competitors:

Denis Margalik, ARG: He finished 17th at Four Continents.  He won bronze at JGP Slovakia and placed 8th at JGP Spain.  His personal best is 193.44.  He is 18 years old.

Slavik Hayrapetyan, ARM: He finished 31st at Europeans.  His personal best is 164.03.  He is 20 years old.

Brendan Kerry, AUS: He finished 20th at Worlds last season.  He placed 19th at Four Continents.  He finished 8th at Skate America and 12th at NHK Trophy.  His personal best is 203.48.  He is 21 years old.

Jorik Hendrickx, BEL: He finished 9th at Europeans.  His personal best is 233.47.  He is 23 years old.

Patrick Chan, CAN: He is the reigning Four Continents Champion.  He won gold at Skate Canada and placed 5th at Trophee Eric Bompard to qualify for the Grand Prix Final were he finished 4th.  He is the 2014 Olympic Silver Medalist; 2011, 2012 and 2013 World Champion; 2009 and 2010 World silver medalist; 2009 and 2012 Four Continents Champion and 2007 World Junior silver medalist.  His personal best is 295.27.  He is 25 years old.

Nam Nguyen, CAN: He placed 5th at Worlds last season.  He placed 5th at Skate Canada and 7th at Rostelecom Cup.  He is the 2014 World Junior Champion.  His personal best is 242.59.  He is 17 years old.

Boyang Jin, CHN: He is the reigning Four Continents Silver Medalist.  He won silver at Cup of China and silver at NHK Trophy to qualify for the Grand Prix Final where he placed 5th.  He is the 2015 World Junior Silver Medalist.  His personal best is 289.83.  He is 18 years old.

Han Yan, CHN: He finished 10th at Worlds last season.  He is the reigning Four Continents Bronze Medalist.  He placed 4th at Skate America and won bronze at Cup of China.  He is the 2013 and 2015 Four Continents Bronze Medalist and 2012 World Junior Champion.  His personal best is 271.55.  He is 20 years old.

Michal Brezina, CZE: He placed 15th at Worlds last season.  He placed 10th at Europeans.   He placed 7th at Skate Canada and won bronze at Rostelecom last season.  He is the 2013 European Bronze Medalist and 2009 World Junior Silver Medalist.  His personal best is 243.52.  He is 25 years old.

Chafik Besseghier, FRA: He placed 18th at Worlds last season.  He finished 10th at Trophee Eric Bompard and 9th at NHK Trophy.  His personal best is 224.19.  He is 26 years old.

Franz Streubel, GER: He finished 14th at Europeans.  His personal best is 196.17.  He is 24 years old.

Phillip Harris, GBR: He placed 18th at Europeans.  His personal best is 184.51.  He is 26 years old.

Alexei Bychenko, ISR: He placed 17th at Worlds last season.  He is the reigning European Silver Medalist.  He placed 12th at Skate America and 10th at Rostelecom Cup.  His personal best is 242.56.  He is 28 years old.

Ivan Righini, ITA: He placed 25th at Worlds last season.  He placed 6th at Europeans.  He finished 10th at Cup of China and 8th at Rostelcom Cup.  His personal best is 236.36.  He is 24 years old.

Yuzuru Hanyu, JPN: He is the reigning World Silver Medalist.  He won silver at Skate Canada and gold at NHK Trophy to qualify for the Grand Prix Final where he won gold.  He is the 2014 Olympic Champion, 2014 World Champion, 2012 World Bronze Medalist, 2011 and 2013 Four Continents Silver Medalist and 2010 World Junior Champion.  His personal best is 330.43.  He is 21 years old.

Shoma Uno, JPN: He placed 4th at Four Continents. He won silver at Skate America and gold at Trophee Eric Bompard to qualify for the Grand Prix Final where he won bronze.  He is the 2015 World Junior Champion.  His personal best is 276.79.  He is 18 years old.

Denis Ten, KAZ: He is the reigning World Bronze Medalist.  He placed 9th at Skate America and 4th at Trophee Eric Bompard.  He is the 2014 Olympic Bronze Medalist, 2013 World Silver Medalist and 2015 Four Continents Champion.  His personal best is 289.46.  He is 22 years old.

Deniss Vasiljevs, LAT: He finished 12th at Europeans and 8th at Junior Worlds.  He won silver at JGP Latvia and silver at JGP Poland.  His personal best is 214.43.  He is 16 years old.

Julian Zhi Jie Yee, MAS: He placed 15th at Four Continents.  He finished 7th at JGP Latvia and 4th at JGP Spain.  His personal best is 197.42.  He is 18 years old.

Michael Christian Martinez, PHI: He placed 21st at Worlds last season.  He finished 9th at Four Continents.  He placed 6th at Cup of China.  His personal best is 220.36.  He is 19 years old.

June Hyoung Lee, KOR: He placed 19th at Worlds last season.  He finished 16th at Four Continents.  He placed 12th at Skate Canada.  His personal best is 203.92.  He is 19 years old.

Mikhail Kolyada, RUS: He finished 5th at Europeans.  He placed 5th at Rostelecom Cup.  His personal best is 247.97.  He is 21 years old.

Maxim Kovtun, RUS: He placed 7th at Worlds last season and is the reigning European Bronze Medalist.  He won silver at Trophee Eric Bompard and placed 10th at NHK Trophy.  He is the 2015 European Silver Medalist.  His personal best is 247.37.  He is 20 years old.

Javier Fernandez, ESP: He is the reigning World and European Champion.  He won gold at Cup of China and gold at Rostelecom Cup to qualify for the Grand Prix Final where he won silver.  He is the 2013 and 2014 World Bronze Medalist; and 2013, 2014 and 2015 European Champion.  His personal best is 302.77.  He is 24 years old.

Javier Raya, ESP: His personal best is 179.37.  He is 24 years old.

Ivan Pavlov, UKR: He placed 15th at Europeans.  He placed 8th at JGP Slovakia and won bronze at JGP Austria.  His personal best is 202.32.  He is 17 years old.

Max Aaron, USA: He placed 7th at Four Continents.  He won gold at Skate America and placed 7th at Trophee Eric Bompard.  His personal best is 258.95.  He is 24 years old.

Grant Hochstein, USA: He placed 8th at Four Continents.  He placed 4th at Cup of China and 4th at NHK Trophy.  His personal best is 235.63.  He is 25 years old.

Adam Rippon, USA: He placed 8th at Worlds last season.  He placed 4th at Skate Canada and 4th at Rostelecom Cup.  He is the 2010 Four Continents Champion and 2008 and 2009 World Junior Champion.  His personal best is 248.63.  He is 26 years old.

Misha Ge, UZB: He finished 8th at Cup of China.  His personal best is 238.05.  He is 24 years old.

2016 Four Continents Men’s Preview

Even with a top name like Yuzuru Hanyu electing not to compete in this event, it should still be very competitive with six of the top ten scoring skaters of the season participating.  This promises to be an extremely technical event with quads galore.

Shoma Uno qualified for the Grand Prix Final in his first senior season and even took home the bronze medal.  With neither Hanyu nor Fernandez at this event, he enters as the front-runner.  His short program includes a quad toe in the bonus and his free skate includes two quads, one in combination and one in the bonus.  What Uno does really well, especially for a young skater, is balance the artistry with his technical performance.  He’s already shown signs of the dynamic performance style that the Japanese are becoming known for.  He has the 5th best short program, 4th best free skate and 3rd best total scores of the season.

Denis Ten had a very rough start to his Grand Prix season, but this is par for the course for him.  Despite winning an Olympic medal and two Worlds medals, he has only medaled on the Grand Prix once.  He enters this event as the reigning Champion.  While his Grand Prix season wasn’t what he hoped, he did well enough at the Golden Spin of Zagreb to put himself on the season’s best scores list, although Challenger Series events tend to be slightly over scored.  He has the 4th best short program, 5th best free skate and 4th best total scores of the season.

Patrick Chan considered retiring after his 4th place finish at the Grand Prix Final.  After long having the technical and performance advantage in the sport, he missed out on Olympic gold in 2014.  He was the only one attempting two quads in a free skate for years, but now that is the standard and others are attempting three and four.  His short program has been his nemesis this season and he’s had to dig himself out of a hole in the free skate to try and make it on to the podium.  His short program has a quad toe and his free skate has one quad in combination.  He has elected to go for one quad in the free skate to focus on the artistry and skating clean.  That approach worked at the Final as he earned all positive GOEs and Level 4s on his elements, but he still finished 9 points behind Fernandez in the free skate and nearly 20 behind Hanyu.  He has the 3rd best free skate and 5th best total scores of the season.

Boyang Jin has some of the most impressive jumps in skating, landing quad lutz + triple toe combinations with ease, something no other man has done before.  He’s also one of only two skaters attempting four quads in his free skate (the other is Nathan Chen who is out for the rest of the season).  His short program has a quad lutz + triple toe plus a quad toe in the bonus.  His free skate has four quads, including two in the bonus.  His focus is mostly on the jumps and he needs to work on developing transitions, choreography and a connection with his music and the audience.  While his base value in the free skate for technical elements is 7 points lower than Hanyu’s, his technical score was 19 points lower due to lower levels and GOEs.  Plus his program components were 20 points lower.  Skaters like Chan and Ten don’t need as many quads as they have the program components, levels and GOEs to make up the difference.  He has the 3rd best short program, 6th best free skate and 6th best total scores of the season.

Max Aaron put out two relatively clean programs at US nationals but still settled for a silver medal.  After a season where he put renewed focus into his artistry and performance, he seemed to take a bit of a step back and was focusing more on the elements.  If he can regain the performance level he had at Skate America, he should be very competitive here.  He has a quad in his short program and two in his free skate.  He has the 9th best short program, 7th best free skate and 7th best total scores of the season.

Ross Miner put out a stellar performance of his short program to New York State of Mind at US Nationals and had the crowd on their feet before his program even ended.  He lost some steam in the free skate, but he has all the qualities to compete with the best if he can skate two clean programs.  He has the 10th best total score of the season.

Also of note are Takahito Mura who has the 6th best short program score of the season and Han Yan who has the 10th best free skate score of the season.  Grant Hochstein is making his ISU Championship debut after taking 4th at two Grand Prix events this season and at US Nationals.

 

My podium predictions:

Gold: Shoma Uno

Silver: Patrick Chan

Bronze: Denis Ten

 

Bios of the competitors:

Denis Margalik, ARG: He finished 16th at Four Continents and 12th at Junior Worlds last season.  He won bronze at JGP Slovakia and placed 8th at JGP Spain.  His personal best is 193.44.  He is 18 years old.

Andrew Dodds, AUS: He finished 25th at Four Continents last season.  His personal best is 159.77.  He is 24 years old.

Brendan Kerry, AUS: He finished 20th at Worlds and 17th at Four Continents last season.  He finished 8th at Skate America and 12th at NHK Trophy.  His personal best is 203.48.  He is 21 years old.

Patrick Chan, CAN: He won gold at Skate Canada and placed 5th at Trophee Eric Bompard to qualify for the Grand Prix Final were he finished 4th.  He is the 2014 Olympic Silver Medalist; 2011, 2012 and 2013 World Champion; 2009 and 2010 World silver medalist; 2009 and 2012 Four Continents Champion and 2007 World Junior silver medalist.  His personal best is 295.27.  He is 25 years old.

Liam Firus, CAN: He finished 14th at Four Continents last season.  His personal best is 200.27.  He is 23 years old.

Kevin Reynolds, CAN: His personal best is 250.55.  He is 25 years old.

Boyang Jin, CHN: He is the reigning World Junior Silver Medalist.  He won silver at Cup of China and silver at NHK Trophy to qualify for the Grand Prix Final where he placed 5th.  His personal best is 266.43.  He is 18 years old.

Nan Song, CHN: He placed 26th at World last season.  He placed 9th at Cup of China.  He is the 2014 Four Continents Bronze Medalist and 2010 World Junior Silver Medalist.  His personal best is 236.09.  He is 25 years old.

Han Yan, CHN: He finished 10th at Worlds last season and is the reigning Four Continents Bronze Medalist.  He placed 4th at Skate America and won bronze at Cup of China.  He is the 2013 Four Continents Bronze Medalist and 2012 World Junior Champion.  His personal best is 259.47.  He is 19 years old.

Chih-I Tsao, TPE: He placed 19th at Four Continents and 27th at Junior Worlds last season.  His personal best is 178.46.  He is 18 years old.

Leslie Ip, HKG: His personal best is 144.78.  He is 20 years old.

Harry Hau Yin Lee, HKG: He finished 24th at Four Continents last season.  His personal best is 134.10.  He is 21 years old.

Takahito Mura, JPN: He finished 16th at Worlds and 7th at Four Continents last season.  He placed 10th at Skate America and won bronze at NHK Trophy.  He is the 2014 Four Continents Champion.  His personal best is 255.81.  He is 25 years old.

Keiji Tanaka, JPN: He placed 5th at NHK Trophy.  His personal best is 234.90.  He is 21 years old.

Shoma Uno, JPN: He placed 5th at Four Continents last season and is the reigning World Junior Champion.  He won silver at Skate America and gold at Trophee Eric Bompard to qualify for the Grand Prix Final where he won bronze.  His personal best is 276.79.  He is 18 years old.

Abzal Rakimgaliev, KAZ: He finished 20th at Four Continents last season.  His personal best is 185.81.  He is 23 years old.

Denis Ten, KAZ: He is the reigning World Bronze Medalist and Four Continents Champion.  He placed 9th at Skate America and 4th at Trophee Eric Bompard.  He is the 2014 Olympic Bronze Medalist and 2013 World Silver Medalist.  His personal best is 289.46.  He is 22 years old.

Julian Zhi Jie Yee, MAS: He placed 22nd at Four Continents and 19th at Junior Worlds last season.  He finished 7th at JGP Latvia and 4th at JGP Spain.  His personal best is 197.42.  He is 18 years old.

Michael Christian Martinez, PHI: He placed 21st at Worlds last season.  He placed 6th at Cup of China.  His personal best is 220.36.  He is 19 years old.

Se Jong Byun, KOR: He placed 23rd at Junior Worlds last season.  He finished 9th at JGP Latvia and 14th at JGP Spain.  His personal best is 161.25.  He is 17 years old.

Jin Seo Kim, KOR: He finished 15th at Four Continents and 9th at Junior Worlds last season.  He placed 9th at Skate Canada and 9th at Trophee Eric Bompard.  His personal best is 207.34.  He is 19 years old.

June Hyoung Lee, KOR: He placed 19th at Worlds and 18th at Four Continents last season.  He placed 12th at Skate Canada.  His personal best is 203.92.  He is 19 years old.

Max Aaron, USA: He won gold at Skate America and placed 7th at Trophee Eric Bompard.  His personal best is 258.95.  He is 23 years old.

Grant Hochstein, USA: He placed 4th at Cup of China and 4th at NHK Trophy.  His personal best is 235.63.  He is 25 years old.

Ross Miner, USA: He placed 7th at Skate America and won bronze at Rostelecom Cup.  He is the 2012 Four Continents Bronze Medalist.  His personal best is 248.92.  He is 25 years old.