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Event Preview: Skate Canada Autumn Classic

  • Event Preview: Skate Canada Autumn Classic

The confusingly-named Skate Canada Autumn Classic (not to be mixed up with the Grand Prix event, Skate Canada) is another quite young event, with this Senior B now in its second year. Held this year in Barrie, Ontario from October 13-15, it has drawn quite a number of high-profile competitors, being one of the last B events before the Grand Prix season starts (next week, folks!).

In figure skating there is no bigger drawcard than the name Yuzuru Hanyu, from Japan. The reigning Olympic Champion has a fanbase so large and passionate that over 200 Japanese fans are travelling to Barrie specially to watch him compete. For Hanyu, this is close to a home event, as he trains with Canadian Olympic medallist Brian Orser, and he will be the overwhelming favourite to take out the title here.

The other big name in the men's event is Canada's Nam Ngyuen, who also trains with Hanyu under Orser and made a considerable splash in his first Senior season last year, culminating in a fifth place at Worlds. He will now be looking to capitalise on those early performances and establish himself as a regular on the Senior stage. The field here also includes Alexander Johnson and the ever-popular Sean Rabbitt from the USA. Johnson is returning from a long injury layoff and will be hoping to recapture some of the magic from last year, while the delightful Rabbitt will be making his Team USA debut at 23 years old.

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Kazakhstani pocket rocket Elizabet Tursynbaeva will be the hot favourite to take out the gold here, particularly after her performances in Salt Lake City just a few weeks ago. The tiny 15 year old has made quite the impression on the Senior circuit in her first year, and will be looking to build momentum going into the Grand Prix.

The experienced Japanese competitor Haruka Imai will almost certainly be in the hunt for a medal, and with the Japanese ladies' field hotting up will be keen to make a move. The USA has sent in Angela Wang and Tyler Pierce, and both ladies will have a point to prove, particularly Wang after a disappointing finish at Salt Lake City.

The pairs event here is an all-North American affair, with pairs only from the USA and Canada. Canada has, however, rolled out the big guns, with Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford set to begin their season here. After sweeping all before them last season - winning both Grand Prix events, the Grand Prix Final, Four Continents and Worlds - they will be hoping for a repeat performance this year.

US team Marissa Castelli and Mervin Tran will also be a pair to watch, hoping to shake up the US pairs field, and looking to improve on their performances in Salt Lake City, while Canadians Brittany Jones and Joshua Reagan will be hoping to establish themselves as the second Canadian pair by starting their season strongly here.

In spite of a lack of "big names", the ice dance field is where the tightest and most intriguing battle of the event is likely to be, with several young couples all seeking to establish themselves and reposition themselves among their National rankings. My pick for this event is the American couple of Danielle Thomas and Daniel Eaton, who though very young, have a certain stylish quality about their skating. Canadians Nicole Orford and Asher Hill will also be in the mix, and expect Team USA debutants Karina Manta and Joe Johnson to be hungry for a strong debut.

TEAM AUSTRALIA

Emily Pike and Patrick Adderley will return for their second Senior B of the season here. The couple laid down a joyful, extremely promising outing at Salt Lake City and will be one to watch. This will be their last international outing prior to the Australian National Championships and they will be hoping to make a strong impression.

EVENT SCHEDULE

All times AEDT.

Official live stream is available here.

MEN

Short Program - Thursday 15th October - 10:55am - 12:15pm

Long Prorgam - Friday 16th October - 11:25am - 1:05pm

LADIES

Short Program - Thursday 15th October - 6:05am - 8:00am

Long Program - Friday 16th October - 7:15am - 9:30am

PAIRS

Short Program - Thursday 15th October - 9:55am - 10:30am

Long Program - Friday 16th October - 6:10am - 7:00am

ICE DANCE

Short Dance - Thursday 15th October - 8:35am - 9:30am

Free Dance - Friday 16th October - 10:05am - 11:10am

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