Grand Prix continues in Nagano, Japan

Release courtesy of U.S. Figure Skating

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The 2009 ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series continues this week at the NHK Trophy in Nagano, Japan. Thirteen athletes from the United States will compete against skaters from 11 other countries, all vying for points and prize money in this fourth of six events in the series.

The NHK Trophy will take place at Big Hat Arena in Nagano, Japan. Competition will begin Friday, Nov. 6, with the compulsory dance and the pairs, men’s and ladies short programs.

icenetwork.com will provide live and on-demand coverage of the event for “Season Pass” subscribers within the contiguous United States. U.S. Figure Skating, via a joint partnership with MLB Advanced Media, has secured the exclusive U.S. broadband rights for the 2009 ISU Grand Prix Series.

icenetwork.com broadcast schedule:

Friday, Nov. 6
12:30 a.m.: Compulsory dance
1:45 a.m.: Pairs short program
3:10 a.m.: Men’s short program
5:05 a.m.: Ladies short program
10:45 p.m.: Original dance

Saturday, Nov. 7
12:15 a.m.: Pairs free skate
1:55 a.m.: Men’s free skate
4:50 a.m.: Ladies free skate
11:00 p.m.: Free dance

In addition, NBC Sports and Universal Sports will provide same-day coverage of select events (all times ET).

Friday, Nov. 6: Universal Sports: 5- 7 p.m./Encore: 8-10 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 7: Universal Sports: 5-7 p.m./Encore: 8-10 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 8: NBC Sports: 2-4 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 8: Universal Sports: 5-7 p.m./Encore: 8-10 p.m.

The Grand Prix Series, now in its 15th season, consists of six international events in a cumulative point-scoring format. Approximately 300 athletes from 30 countries are expected to participate in the series. Each athlete is eligible to score points in two of the six scheduled events. The top six point-earners in each of the disciplines then qualify for the Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final in Tokyo, Japan, Dec. 3-6. Athletes will be vying for a total of more than $1.35 million in prize money throughout the series.

Ladies

Two-time World Junior bronze medalist Ashley Wagner will vie for her second medal in this year’s Grand Prix Series. She captured the silver two weeks ago at the Rostelecom Cup in Moscow, Russia. Wagner placed fourth at this event last season. Becky Bereswill will be making her debut in the Grand Prix Series at the NHK Trophy. Bereswill captured the silver at both of her assignments in the 2008 Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series, in France and Spain, and went on to win the 2008 Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final in Seoul, Republic of Korea.

Men’s

Reigning U.S. champion Jeremy Abbott will compete at NHK Trophy for the second time. The 2008 Grand Prix Final champion just missed the medal platform with his fourth-place finish at this event in 2007. Three-time U.S. champion Johnny Weir won silver at this event last season. The 2008 World bronze medalist finished fourth last month at the Rostelecom Cup. This is the second Grand Prix appearance this season for reigning two-time World Junior champion Adam Rippon, who won bronze last month at Trophée Eric Bompard in Paris, France.

Pairs

This is the third appearance at the NHK trophy for two-time U.S. champions Rena Inoue and John Baldwin, who won silver at this event last season. The team will look to improve on its fourth-place finish at Trophée Eric Bompard last month. Reigning U.S. silver medalists Caydee Denney and Jeremy Barrett will make their Grand Prix Series debut at this event.

Ice Dancing

Reigning U.S. champions Meryl Davis and Charlie White look to continue their winning streak after taking the top prize at the Nebelhorn Trophy in September and at the Rostelecom Cup last month. The reigning Four Continents champions took fourth at this event in 2006. Davis and White are joined by Jane Summersett and Todd Gilles. The pair took fifth at the Finlandia Trophy earlier this season and won bronze at the 2008 Nebelhorn Trophy.

In addition to the NHK Trophy, the Grand Prix Series consists of the remaining events:

Cancer.Net Skate America: Lake Placid, N.Y., USA – Nov. 12-15

Skate Canada: Kitchener, Ontario, Canada – Nov. 19-22

Grand Prix Final: Tokyo, Japan – Dec. 3-6

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U.S. Figure Skating is the national governing body for the sport of figure skating in the United States as recognized by the United States Olympic Committee and the International Skating Union. U.S. Figure Skating is comprised of more than 763 member clubs and Basic Skills Programs representing approximately 179,000 members. U.S. Figure Skating is charged with the development of the sport on all levels within the United States including athletes, officials, sanctioning of events and exhibitions, and establishing the rules and guidelines by which the sport is governed.