From November 17 to 19, Finland will host the fifth round of the ISU International Figure Skating Grand Prix series. Espoo will once again be the arena for competition between top athletes from 13 countries. The main attention will be focused on the fight for medals in the girls’ singles, but other events promise exciting battles as well.
For two-time world champion Kaori Sakamoto, the tournament will be a test: can she hold her lead and reclaim gold to secure a place in the Grand Prix Final? The women’s quad and trixel skaters will be her worthy opponents in this fight.
The men’s single skating promises a tight battle for the podium between France’s Kevin Aimoz, Italy’s Matteo Rizzo and Japan’s Kao Miura and Shun Sato. Silver for Aimoz and Miura, and bronze for Rizzo and Sato in previous stages, make this battle particularly exciting. The stability of American Ilya Malinin and Frenchman Adam Hsiao-Him Fa has already secured them places in the final, but the fight for the remaining four promises to be fierce.
Italian giant Nicolai Memola will attract attention with his fantastic quadruple jump performance despite his impressive height. Former Russian figure skaters, Makar Suntsev and Nikita Starostin, will also add interest to the event.
In the women’s singles, a real battle is expected. Japan’s Kaori Sakamoto, although considered the favorite, faces competition from girls with ultra-complex elements. Amber Glenn of the USA, who successfully landed a triple axel, provides an interesting perspective. However, competing against more difficult elements from other female athletes could be a challenge for Sakamoto.
Figure skaters Mana Kawabe of Japan and Yoo Yeon of Korea can offer their triple axels, but their hopes are not as high. However, Japan’s Ryon Sumiyoshi, who boldly performs a quadruple touloupe, provides the audience with an exciting spectacle. All eyes will be on her performance in Finland.
The pair of 2023 World Championships bronze medalists, Sara Conti and Niccolo Macchi from Italy, are confidently claiming gold in the fifth round of the ISU Grand Prix Pairs Skating. Their silver medal achievement at the previous round in France guarantees their participation in the series final. However, they should remain vigilant given the upcoming competition from the third American pair, Ellie Kam and Danny O’Shea, who are looking to make up for lost time after a forced absence from the previous round in France.
The German pair, Minerva Fabienne Hase and Nikita Volodin, are also targeting the podium. Nikita Volodin, who transferred from the Russian Figure Skating Federation, has been showing great results at international tournaments with his new partner. Another aspirant to medals is Pavel Kovalyov, representing France in a pair with his wife Kamil Kovalyov.
In ice dancing, the Americans Madison Chock and Evan Bates are highly likely to win, but Canadian dancers Laurence Fournier Beaudry and Nikolaj Sørensen intend to provide worthy resistance, aiming to give a fight to the unrivaled reigning world champions.