Skate America International Lineup Confirmed

Evan Lysacek
Photo by Michelle Harvath

(8/22/06) - U.S. Figure Skating announced today the confirmed international lineup for 2006 Skate America in Hartford, Conn., Oct. 26-29. It includes 65 athletes from 17 countries. Athletes had until Aug. 15 to accept or decline their event assignments, and the 65 skaters listed below are scheduled to compete in Hartford for this first of six ISU Grand Prix Series events. Skaters are subject to change.

Of the 65 international athletes competing in Hartford, five are reigning World champions and more than half competed at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games. The 18 U.S. athletes will look to top last year's showings, when the U.S. Team won one medal in each of the four disciplines.

Following Skate America, Grand Prix events will take place in Canada, China, France, Russia and Japan. Skaters can compete in two of the six events, and at their conclusion, the top six ladies, men, pairs and dance teams are invited to compete at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final. This year the Grand Prix Final will take place in St. Petersburg, Russia, Dec. 14-17.

Ladies
Leading the U.S. contingent in Hartford will be 2006 World champion Kimmie Meissner. Last season was Meissner's first on the senior Grand Prix circuit, and she finished fifth in both of her events. This year marks her first appearance at Skate America. She will compete against 2005 Grand Prix Final champion Mao Asada of Japan, who was too young to compete at the 2006 Olympics and the 2006 World Figure Skating Championships. Japan is also sending 2004 World Championships fourth-place finisher Miki Ando and Asada's older sister, Mai Asada. Representing Switzerland is Sarah Meier, who placed sixth at the 2006 World Championships. Rounding out the U.S. Team are 2006 Olympian Emily Hughes and 2006 Four Continents champion Katy Taylor.

Men
2006 World bronze medalist Evan Lysacek heads into his third Skate America after winning the silver medal at the event in 2005. He will contend with Japan's Nobunari Oda, who just missed the medal stand last year at his first World Championships, finishing fourth after being narrowly beaten by Lysacek. Also competing are up-and-comer Alban Preaubert of France, who finished eighth last year at what was also his first World Championships, and crowd favorite Kevin van der Perren of Belgium, who finished ninth at the Olympics and fourth at last year's Skate America. Lysacek's U.S. teammates in Hartford will be Ryan Bradley and Scott Smith.

Pairs
2006 World fourth-place pairs finishers Rena Inoue & John Baldwin will look to make history once again this year with their famous throw triple Axel. The duo landed the difficult element three times during the 2005-2006 season but have yet to nail it at a Grand Prix event. Top international pairs teams include 2006 World champions Qing Pang and Jian Tong of China, and 2005 World Junior champions Maria Mukhortova and Maxim Trankov of Russia. The additional U.S. teams are those of Naomi Nari Nam & Themistocles Leftheris, and Tiffany Vise & Derek Trent.

Ice Dancing
Three-time World Championships competitors Melissa Gregory & Denis Petukhov will look to lead the U.S. ice dancing teams at Skate America, along with 2005 World Junior champions Morgan Matthews & Maxim Zavozin. The competition will be fierce, as the competition includes 2006 World champions Albena Denkova and Maxim Staviski of Bulgaria, and the young Russian team of Natalia Mikhailova and Arkadi Sergeev, which finished second at the 2006 World Junior championships. Competing in their first Grand Prix event for the U.S. will be Kimberly Navarro & Brent Bommentre

2006 Skate America Lineup
Skaters are subject to change.

Ladies
Joanne CARTER, AUS
Mira LEUNG, CAN
Kiira KORPI, FIN
Miki ANDO, JPN
Mai ASADA, JPN
Mao ASADA, JPN
Viktoria VOLCHKOVA, RUS
Sarah MEIER, SUI
Emily HUGHES, USA
Kimmie MEISSNER, USA
Katy TAYLOR, USA

Men
Kevin VAN DER PERREN, BEL
Christopher MABEE, CAN
Nicholas YOUNG, CAN
Alban PREAUBERT, FRA
Stefan LINDEMANN, GER (withdrawn 10/06)
Yasuharu NANRI, JPN
Nobunari ODA, JPN
Sergei VORONOV, RUS
Ryan BRADLEY, USA
Evan LYSACEK, USA
Scott SMITH, USA

Pairs
Jessica DUBE / Bryce DAVISON, CAN (withdrawn, 10/10, injury)
Anabelle LANGLOIS / Cody HAY, CAN
Qing PANG / Jian TONG, CHN
Marylin PLA / Yannick BONHEUR, FRA
Dominika PIATKOWSKA / Dmitri KHROMIN, POL
Elena EFAEVA / Aleksei MENSHIKOV, RUS
Maria MUKHORTOVA / Maxim TRANKOV, RUS
Rena INOUE / John BALDWIN, USA
Naomi NARI NAM / Themi LEFTHERIS, USA
Tiffany VISE / Derek TRENT, USA

Ice Dancing
Kristin FRASER / Igor LUKANIN, AZE
Albena DENKOVA / Maxim STAVISKI, BUL
Chantal LEFEBVRE / Arseni MARKOV, CAN
Nathalie PECHALAT / Fabian BOURZAT, FRA
Sinead KERR / John KERR, GBR
Alexandra ZARETSKI / Roman ZARETSKI, ISR
Nozomi WATANABE / Akiyuki KIDO, JPN
Natalia MIKHAILOVA / Arkadi SERGEEV, RUS
Ekaterina RUBLEVA / Ivan SHEFER, RUS
Melissa GREGORY / Denis PETUKHOV, USA
Morgan MATTHEWS / Maxim ZAVOZIN, USA
Kimberly NAVARRO / Brent BOMMENTRE, USA