The International Skating Union (ISU) and U.S. Figure Skating have announced the skater selections for the 2009 ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series, including Skate America. Skate America, which historically is the first competition in the ISU Grand Prix Series, occurs later in the calendar this year, as the fifth of six events. This year’s Skate America will take place Nov. 12-15 at the 1980 Rink Herb Brooks Arena in Lake Placid. This marks the 30th anniversary of the event and the sixth time the state of New York has hosted the event and the fourth time it has been held in Lake Placid (1979, 1981-82).
Skate America will welcome 18 top U.S. athletes in addition to its international field. The Americans competing in Lake Placid include current World champion and two-time national champion Evan Lysacek and the five-time U.S. Championship ice dancing team of Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto, also the 2009 World silver medalists and 2006 Olympic silver medalists. This year’s Skate America marks the return of 2006 U.S. Champion, 2006 Olympic silver medalist, and 2006 World bronze medalist Sasha Cohen to competitive skating.
Other U.S. athletes competing at Skate America are 2008 World Junior Champion Rachael Flatt, Ryan Bradley, Brandon Mroz, two-time defending U.S. Pairs Champions and 2007 World Junior Champions Keauna McLaughlin and Rockne Brubaker, and the ice dancing teams of Madison Chock and Greg Zuerlein – the 2009 World Junior Champions and U.S. Junior Champions – and Kim Navarro and Brent Bommentre.
The international field is led by World champion Yu-Na Kim of Korea. Kim is the 2008 Skate America ladies gold medalist and 2008 Grand Prix Final champion. Kim will be joined by six-time French ice dancing champions and 2008 World ice dancing champions Isabelle Delobel and Olivier Schoenfelder. Three-time World pairs champions (2002-03, 2007) and two-time Olympic bronze medalists (2002, 06) Xue Shen and Hongbo Zhao of China will make their competitive debut this season, following a two year absence. For the complete list of international skaters competing at 2009 Skate America, please visit the ISU web site at www.isu.org.
Tickets to Skate America are on sale now at the Olympic Center Box Office in person or by phone at (518) 523-3330. Tickets may also be purchased online through tickets.com. For a complete schedule of events, ticket prices and more information, please log on to skateamerica2009.com.
The ISU Grand Prix Series consists of the following six events: Trophée Eric Bompard Oct. 15-18 in Paris, France; Rostelecom Cup Oct. 22-25 in Moscow, Russia; Cup of China Oct. 29-Nov. 1 in Beijing; NHK Trophy Nov. 5-8 in Nagano, Japan; Skate America Nov. 12-15 in Lake Placid; and Skate Canada Nov. 19-22 in Kitchener, Ont. This is the 15th season for the series.
At the conclusion of the six events, athletes’ points are totaled, and the top six ladies, men, pairs and ice dancing teams are invited to compete at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final Dec. 3-6 in Tokyo, Japan.