Gilles, Rippon head to Trophee Eric Bompard

Alexe GillesFormer U.S. Junior Ladies Champion Alexe Gilles and two-time World Junior Champion Adam Rippon are among the Americans headed to the first Grand Prix events of the season, Trophee Eric Bompard, Oct. 15-18, 2009, in Paris.

Rounding out Team USA are 2007 World Junior Champion Caroline Zhang, who finished third at the 2009 U.S. Championships, and 2007 Skate Canada silver medalist Ryan Bradley, who finished fourth at the 2009 U.S. Championships in the ladies and men’s events.

Competing against Gilles and Zhang is a strong field of ladies that have medaled at multiple World Championships. Among the skaters are  2008 World Champion Mao Asada; 2009 World Champion Yu-Na Kim of Korea, who holds the highest score ever record; 2008 European Championship bronze medalist Kiira Korpi of Finland; two-time World medalist Carolina Kostner; and 2008 Skate America silver medalist Yukari Nakano of Japan.

Bradley and Rippon face strong competitors including 2007 World Champion Brian Joubert of France, 2008 NHK Trophy Champion Nobunari Oda of Japan and two-time World Junior bronze medalist Sergei Voronov of Russia.

In pairs, Team USA will be represented by 2009 World Junior Championship bronze medalists Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir, who finished third in junior pairs at the 2009 U.S. Championships and two-time U.S. Champions Rena Inoue and John Baldwin, who finished third at the 2009 U.S. Championships.

International pairs include Canada’s Jessice Dube and Bryce Davison, 2008 World bronze medalists; Russia’s Maria Mukhortova and Maxim Trankov, two-time European bronze medalists; and Germany’s Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy, 2009 World Champions.

The three American ice dance teams competing are 2006 Junior Grand Prix Champions Madison Hubbell and Keiffer Hubbell, who finished third at the 2009 U.S. Championships; 2008 Four Continents bronze medalists Kim Navarro and Brent Bommentre, who finished third at the 2009 U.S. Championships and 2008 World Junior Champions Emily Samuelson and Evan Bates, who finished second at the 2009 U.S. Championships.

Competing against the three American ice dance teams are Great Britain’s Sinead Kerr and John Kerr, 2009 European bronze medalists; France’s Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat, fourth at the Europeans; and Canada’s Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, two-time World medalists.

Trophee Eric Bompard marks the first career Grand Prix event for Gilles, who is assigned to compete next month at Skate America, Castelli and Shnapir and the Hubbells.

Trophee Eric Bompard is the first event of the 2009 International Skating Union (ISU) Grand Prix of Figure Skating circuit. The series, now in its 15th season, consists of six international events in a cumulative, point-scoring format. The top six scoring athletes in each discipline move onto the Grand Prix Final, Dec. 3-6, in Tokyo, Japan, which will be combined with the ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final for the second consecutive season.

The six Grand Prix events are Trophee 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, China; NHK Trophy, Nov. 5-8, in Nagano, Japan; Skate America, Nov. 12-15, in Lake Placid, N.Y.; and Skate Canada, Nov. 19-22, in Kitchener, Canada.

The points toward the Grand Prix Final that are awarded for each place are 15 points for first; 13 points for second; 11 points for third; nine points for fourth; seven points for fifth; five points for sixth place; four points for seventh place; and three points for eighth. In pair skating, only the top six receive points.

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