Preview: 2023 Skate America
This week, 10 teams head to Allen, Texas for the first event of the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating series – Skate America!
About Skate America: The first Skate America (officially called Norton Skate) was held in 1979 in Lake Placid, New York. It was the test event for the 1980 Winter Olympic Games and joined the Grand Prix Series in 1995, the year it began.
Grand Prix 2023: As with the 2022-23 season, the ISU maintained the ban on figure skaters from Russia due to the country’s war with neighboring Ukraine. Skaters from Belarus are also not allowed to compete due to their country’s support of the ongoing war. In addition, the fifth Grand Prix Series event will be held in Espoo, Finland.
The medal hunt: The senior international season started in the late summer and all but one team has competed internationally or domestically prior to the Grand Prix. Madison Chock & Evan Bates, the reigning World Champions, will unveil their new programs in Allen. In last week’s teleconference, they revealed that their rhythm dance is set to “Another One Bites the Dust”, “Who Wants to Live Forever” and “I Want it All” by Queen, while their free dance is set to music from Pink Floyd and the theme of the program is “Time.” The first glimpses of their new programs will be on the practice ice this week.
Chock & Bates are joined at Skate America by fellow Americans Caroline Green & Michael Parsons. The team debuted at Lombardia Trophy where they finished sixth, behind several teams they had previously bested, including training mates Emily Bratti & Ian Somerville (fourth). They withdrew from Nepala Trophy, and it’s no doubt the team returned to Michigan and worked through any roughness in preparation for the Grand Prix Series. As a reminder, Green & Parsons had a difficult start last season, but rebounded to take bronze at NHK Trophy, win the silver medal at the U.S. Championships and finished sixth at Worlds.
Natale Taschlerova & Filip Taschler of the Czech Republic have already medaled twice on the Challenger Series and are contenders to claim their first Grand Prix medal at this event. The Taschler siblings, who train in Bolzano, Italy with a team of coaches including Matteo Zanni and Barbora Reznickova, have grown and improved over the past several seasons and are on track this season to continue to move up the rankings. Their extra special free dance set to “Bluecobalto” by Negramaro, “Terra Rosa” by Havasi and “Son Felice” is dedicated to their late father.
Debuting: Skate America is the senior Grand Prix debuts for World Junior Champions Katerina Mrazkova & Daniel Mrazek of Czech Republic and Korea’s Hannah Lim & Ye Quan, who are the reigning World Junior silver medalists. The new partnership of Olivia Smart and Tim Dieck representing Spain will also compete in Allen.
Event info: Teams have official practices on Thursday, October 19 and Friday, October 20. The rhythm dance kicks off at 2:03pm (ET) on Saturday, October 21, with the free dance occurring on Sunday, October 22 at 1:15pm (ET).