Nationals Competitions and More News from Mid-Season 2023-24
Following the 2023 Grand Prix Final last week in Beijing, China, there was little downtime as many skaters hurried to their National Championships around the globe. We cover the French, German, Swiss, and Spanish Figure Skating Nationals, as well as the Four Nationals multi-country competition.
We also look back on British Nationals, the South Korean ranking event, the Junior Grand Prix Final, and quite a bit of news from around the skating landscape — including the nominations for the ISU Awards. All that to say: there are really no real off-weeks during skating season!
News, Injuries, other things
There’s been a lot happening outside of competitions that we want to catch up on. From the unfortunate news of Niina Petrakina breaking her leg to the confirmation that both the teams of Riku Miura & Ryuchi Kihara and Hocke & Kunkel are out of their respective nationals due to injury, we’re seeing some assumed medal contenders in question for the rest of the season.
We also discuss the long-missing-from-competition Daniel Grassl, who’s looking at a potential two-year suspension based on the recommendation of Italian anti-doping agency.
On a lighter note, we dig into the ISU Award Nominations that just came out — and some of their questionable categories. Regardless, your can vote for your favorites until Jan 7, 2024. Winners to be announced Feb 11 at the Art on Ice event in Switzerland.
The Many National Competitions
Since there was so much happening, we stuck to the highlights and most newsworthy at each competition:
French Nationals: We dig into the landslide victory of Adam Siao and the devastating free skate of Kevin Aymoz.
British Nationals: Fear & Gibson won big, but did it cost them the podium at GPF?
German Nationals: Hase & Volodin continue their winning streak with their first German National Title — winning by 90 pts!
Swiss Nationals: Lukas Britschgi soared in short program on his way to victory, and Kimmy Repond successfully returned to competition following her break due to injury to win the title.
Spanish Nationals: The first trip to their national championship for Olivia Smart & Tim Dieck proved victorious. (Though—and this didn’t make the episode recording—they were weirdly NOT named to the Spanish World team. More to come here!)
Four Nationals: Skaters from Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, and Hungary competed with the most notable winners being Ekaterina Kurakova winning her 6th national title, Katerina Mrazkova & Daniel Mrazek taking dance, and Maria Pavlova & Aleksei Sviatchenko dominating the pairs.
South Korean ranking competition: Jun-hwan Cha was forced to compete while injured to qualify for Four Continents, and did so with a win. Yelim Kim and Haein Lee continued to struggle this season.
Junior Grand Prix Finals
While we broke down the Senior Grand Prix last week, this episode we talk about a few of the highlights from the Juniors competition.
In dance, we were overwhelmingly impressed by an outstanding US ice dance team — Leah Neset & Artem Markelov — who came out with a gold medal and a lot of momentum. Keep an eye on them in seniors soon!
Also very noteworthily, the continued rivalry between two incredible young women – Mao Shimada from Japan and Jia Shin from South Korea. In what promises to be a competition we’ll see replayed over and over again in coming years, Mao Schimada overtook the gloriously musical Jia Shin for gold — but had to come from behind her after the short program.
Expect a lot of back-and-forth for the top podium spots between these two if they stay this good in Juniors for now, and Seniors when they get there.