Six U.S. Skaters Qualify for Grand Prix FinalIce dancers Gilles and Donohue withdraw from Junior Grand Prix Final
Photo by Guang Niu/Getty Images Sport
(12/2/08) - Six U.S. skaters have earned coveted spots at the International Skating Union (ISU) Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final to be held Dec. 10-14 in Goyang City, Republic of Korea. Johnny Weir and Jeremy Abbott will represent the United States in the men's event, while the ice dancing teams of Meryl Davis & Charlie White, and Tanith Belbin & Ben Agosto will also make the trip to Goyang City.
Skaters were invited to the final based on point totals earned throughout the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series. The United States won 18 medals at the six qualifying events: two golds, nine silvers and seven bronzes. The United States' four entries in the Grand Prix Final tie it for the most with Japan and Russia.
Weir won silver medals at both of his Grand Prix Series assignments, Skate America and the NHK Trophy. This is the fourth time Weir, a three-time U.S. champion (2004-06) and the reigning World bronze medalist, has earned a berth in the Grand Prix Final. Abbott, who garnered gold at the Cup of China and placed fourth at the Cup of Russia, joins Weir in Korea. Abbott was the bronze medalist at the 2007 Four Continents Figure Skating Championships and owns consecutive fourth-place finishes at the past two U.S. Figure Skating Championships. He will be making his first appearance at the Grand Prix Final.
Reigning U.S. and Four Continents silver medalists Davis and White are the top-ranked American ice dancing team heading into the Grand Prix Final. Davis and White won gold at Skate Canada and bronze at the Cup of Russia. This will be the first Grand Prix Final appearance for the duo. Rounding out Team USA are 2006 Olympic silver medalists Belbin and Agosto, who brought home silver medals from Skate America and the Cup of China. This marks the fifth time they have earned a berth in the Grand Prix Final.
Seven U.S. skaters will serve as alternates. They include Rachael Flatt (second alternate) and Alissa Czisny (third alternate) in ladies; Evan Lysacek (second alternate) in men's; and Keauna McLaughlin & Rockne Brubaker (first alternate), and Rena Inoue & John Baldwin (third alternate) in pairs.
Junior Grand Prix Final
U.S. ice dancing team Piper Gilles & Zachary Donohue announced their withdrawal from the ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final, to be held in conjunction with the Grand Prix Final, because of an injury she suffered to her lower body.