Rostelecom Cup includes U.S. Champions

Alissa CzisnyThree of the four 2009 U.S. Champions crowned in Cleveland will compete at the Rostelecom Cup, Oct. 22-25 in Moscow. The national titlists — Alissa Czisny, ice dancers Meryl Davis and Charlie White and pair team Keauna McLaughlin and Rockne Brubaker — lead a strong eight-member contingent for Team USA.

Also representing the United States in ladies with Czisny is 2009 World Junior Championship bronze medalist Ashley Wagner, who has a bronze medal from 2007 Trophee Eric Bompard. U.S. silver medalist Brandon Mroz and three-time U.S. Champion Johnny Weir skate in the men’s event.

The stars and stripes have as only one entry in pairs and dance.

Czisny, who was 11th at the 2009 World Championships, has won three medals on the Grand Prix: silver at 2005 Skate America, gold at 2005 Skate Canada and bronze at 2008 Skate Canada. Wagner finished fourth at the recent U.S. Championship but was third in 2008.

The two American ladies will compete against 2007 World Champion Miki Ando of Japan, 2008 World Champion Mao Asada of Japan and 2009 World Junior Champion Alena Leonova. Asada started the season last week with a silver medal at Trophee Eric Bompard in Paris.

Weir is also competing in Moscow for the first time since his fifth place finish at the U.S. Championships. A former World bronze medalist who is currently the reigning Grand Prix Final bronze medalist, Weir has had unprecedented success on the Grand Prix series, including four gold medals.

Mroz broke out at the 2009 U.S. Championships with a second place finish. He was eighth at the Four Continents Championships and then ninth at the World Championships. Last season, he made his Grand Prix debut with a seventh place showing in Canada and a fifth place showing in France. Japan’s Takahiko Kozuka, who beat Weir and Evan Lysacek en route to gold at 2008 Skate America, is also competing in Russia.

In pairs, McLaughlin and Brubaker are going for a fifth consecutive Grand Prix medal collection, which includes three silver and a bronze . The pair won their second U.S. Championship in January then finished fifth at Four Continents and 11th at the World Championships.

Reigning Grand Prix Champions Qing Pang and Jian Tong, the 2006 World Champions from China, are competing in Moscow. Russia’s reigning World bronze medalists Yuko Kavaguti and Alexander Smirnov of Russia are also contending for the Rostelecom Cup gold.

Meryl Davis and Charlie White, the overwhelming favorites in Moscow, are competing for the first time on the Grand Prix as national champions. Last season, they won Skate Canada, took bronze at Cup of Russia and the Grand Prix Final. They were fourth at the Worlds.

Italians Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte were fourth at their two Grand Prix events last season. At the World Championships, Cappellini and Lanotte finished 10th.

Rostelecom Cup is the second 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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