Hosted by the Skating Club of Boston (SCOB), 10 teams head to Norwood, Massachusetts for the first event of the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating series – Skate America!  

About SCOB: SCOB is no stranger to hosting events, as it organized the 2014 U.S. Championships and 2016 World Championships. However, those events were held at T.D. Bank in Boston rather than the new three-rink facility located down the highway in Norwood. 

Since it opened in the Fall of 2020, the facility has hosted a number of events including SCOB staples Cranberry Cup and Boston Open, as well as the U.S. International Figure Skating Classic and the Lake Placid Ice Dance International.  Skate America is the first larger-scale event the venue has hosted. It’s limited seating of 2,500 sold out quickly and should create a cozy atmosphere for fans.  

Grand Prix 2022: This year, the Grand Prix has a different look for several reasons.  First, the top two teams from the 2021-22 season are not in the mix. World and Olympic champions Gabriella Papadakis & Guillaume Cizeron choosing to take this season off and World silver medalists Madison Hubbell & Zachary Donohue retired from competitive skating at the end of last season. Also, 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. 

The medal hunt:  The senior international season started in the late summer and all but three teams have competed internationally or domestically prior to the Grand Prix. Madison Chock & Evan Bates, the reigning World bronze medalists and U.S. champions, decided in the off season to continue competing and will unveil their new programs in Norwood. The first glimpses of their new programs will be on the practice ice this week. 

Chock & Bates are joined at Skate America by Team USA training mates Kaitlin Hawayek & Jean-Luc Baker. The team debuted at Finlandia Trophy where they won the silver medal and set a new personal best total score (197.45). Hawayek & Baker skate with increased confidence after finishing 11th at the 2022 Winter Olympics.   

After last season, Japan’s Kana Muramoto & Daisuke Takahashi had a decision to make. Although they didn’t reach their goal of making the Olympic team, they won the silver medal at 2022 Four Continents Championships and finished 16th at the World Championships in their first attempt. Takahashi, at 36, is likely the oldest ice dance competitor on the international scene. His switch to ice dance after a successful singles career that included a World title and Olympic bronze medal has been remarkable and ultimately the team decided to continue this season. like Chock & Bates, Muramoto & Takahashi will debut their programs at this competition. Coached by Marina Zoueva, Ilia Tkachenko and Johnny Johns, they are a medal threat in Norwood. 

Lorraine McNamara & Anton Spiridonov of the United States have had a busy, yet successful season thus far, winning the Lake Placid Ice Dance International in August, a bronze medal at the U.S. International Classic and finishing fifth at Nebelhorn Trophy. The team is entering its third season, having formed their partnership in 2020. McNamara & Spiridonov have been consistent this season, scoring as high last 179.03 at the U.S. Classic and could put together the performances to land on the podium here and create a U.S. sweep.

Event info: Teams have official practices on Thursday, October 20 and Friday, October 21. The rhythm dance kicks off at 2:41pm (ET) on Saturday, October 22, with the free dance occurring on Sunday, October 23 at 1:08pm (ET).