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Event Preview: Ice Challenge - A Literal Name!

  • Event Preview: Ice Challenge - A Literal Name!

The Ice Challenge, held in Graz, Austria, is another long-running Senior B event, this year elevated to Challenger Series status. This year it does clash with Skate Canada, which provides a mixed but substantially weakened field.

By no means, however, does this indicate a poor competition - if anything, it is likely to be a more unpredictable and exciting event, with many skaters wanting to improve their National standing or acquire Europeans or Worlds technical minimum scores.

MEN

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Jason Brown from the USA will be the favourite going in here, even if it is likely that he will be suffering jet lag - he competed at Skate America only a few days ago. It is an unusual step for Team Brown, but one that may yet pay off.

Mikhail Kolyada is my other favourite for this event. With strong, secure jumps, excellent presentation, and youth on his side, he is certainly a future star for Russia. And with Artur Gachinski in a wrist cast and Rostelecom Cup fast approaching, Kolyada will want to stake his claim as Gachinski's replacement if required.

Another skater to watch is Brown's teammate Jordan Moeller. Moeller trains under the same coach as Brown and shows signs of being a pleasantly musical skater, who may yet even be more technically advanced than his older training-mate. Other skaters to watch include Artur Dmitriev Jr (Russia), Jorik Hendrickx (Belgium), Martin Rappe (Germany), and Phillip Harris (Great Britain).

LADIES

For this event I'm picking Maria Artemieva of Russia, who had a strong outing at Ondrej Nepela earlier this month and seems to be in good form. After picking up a silver medal there, a win here could see Artemieva's stock rise ahead of the cut-throat Russian Nationals.

Her compatriot Serafima Sakhanovich is also likely to figure very strongly in the final standings. Sakhanovich is the reigning World Junior silver medallist and is making her debut as an international Senior at this event, hoping to capitalise on her Junior success.

Mirai Nagasu from the USA is a difficult skater to place, but will likely be a contender for a good result here. Her scores will rest heavily on whether or not she is able to rotate her jumps, which is a chronic problem, and if she will attempt a triple Axel here. Other skaters to keep an eye out for include Nathalie Weinzierl (Germany), Roberta Rodeghiero (Italy), Dasa Grm (Slovenia) and Tyler Pierce (USA).

TEAM AUSTRALIA

Kailani Craine will continue her season at this event, and will be looking to skate herself into good form. With the Australian National Championships only four weeks away, a strong outing here could work in her favour heading into her hotly anticipated rematch with Brooklee Han.

PAIRS

If all goes to plan, Skate America silver medallists Alexa Scimeca and Chris Knierim should walk away easily with this one. Their strategy here will likely be centered around building consistency and turning out two clean programs, with perhaps some harder elements thrown into the mix.

I wouldn't count out Mari Vartmann and Ruben Blommaert, though. The German pair are coming off a strong fourth place at the Nebelhorn Trophy and a superb win at the Coupe de Nice and are in real form going into this event. 

DANCE

I am picking Russian couple Alexandra Stepanova and Ivan Bukin to win this one. The reigning National bronze medallists will be hoping to use it as a step towards firming up their position among the Russian dance program, and a good score here would be an excellent start.

Newly-formed US couple Danielle Thomas and Daniel Eaton will also be looking to improve their position on the scoreboard here. They have been steadily improving since the start of the season and another improved score here would be a promising sign.

SCHEDULE

All times are AEDT.

Live streaming will be available via a link from the official website here.

MEN

Short program - Friday 30 October: 5:45am

Long program - Saturday 31October: 5:15am

LADIES

Short program (Kailani) - Friday 30 October: 10:00pm

Long program - Saturday 31 October: 9:30pm

PAIRS

Short program - Friday 30 October: 4:30am

Long program - Saturday 31 October: 4:00am

DANCE

Short dance - Friday 30 October: 9:00pm

Free dance - Saturday 31 October: 8:00pm

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