With names like Yuna Kim, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, Evan Lysacek, and Johnny Weir opting out of the series (and in Weir’s case, the season), this is the perfect time for new faces to get on the podium. The World junior champions will be playing in the big kids’ field for the first time.
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On the men’s side, World junior champion Yuzuru Hanyu swept the junior international season last year and is one of Japan’s fresh new faces. 2009 U.S. junior champion Ross Miner is finally making his jump to the senior level after a season of injuries. China looks to have its first serious contender on the men’s side in a long time with World junior silver medalist Nan Song. French champion Florent Amodio made a splash last season by finishing 12th at the Olympics and has all the goods to challenge for the podiums this season.
For the ladies, World junior champion Kanako Murakami, like her compatriot Hanyu, swept the last junior season and could be a major factor this year on the senior circuit. Tenth at the Olympics, her first ever major senior international competition, Russian champion Ksenia Makarova wants to prove that her rookie season was no fluke. U.S. junior champion and World silver medalist Agnes Zawadzki will make her senior international debut.
In pairs, World junior champions Wenjing Sui and Cong Han are the first successors to the Chinese pairs dynasty and will be armed with a throw quad salchow. World junior silver medalists Narumi Takahashi and Mervin Tran seem to be ready to become Japan’s first great pairs team. Russian bronze medalists Vera Bazarova and Yuri Larionov are looking to move up after finishing eighth at Worlds during their first full senior season.
Ice dance also features the senior debut of World junior champions, Russia’s Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov. U.S. junior champions Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani already began their senior season, finishing fifth at Nebelhorn Trophy a few weeks ago with a strong free dance. In addition to Ilinykh and Katsalapov, Russia has a strong contingent of youngsters who are hoping to regain Russia’s former dominance in the event, led by Russian silver medalists Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev.
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