Preview: 2023 NHK Trophy

The 2023-24 ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating series concludes this week with NHK Trophy in Osaka, Japan. 

About NHK Trophy: This will be Japan’s 45th NHK Trophy event: the competition first started as an international event back in 1979, and was added to the series in 1995.

Grand Prix 2023: As with the 2022-23 season, 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. In addition, the fifth Grand Prix event of the series is no longer Rostelecom Cup and instead will be held in Espoo, Finland.

The Medal Hunt: In addition to the final two Grand Prix Final spots, NHK Trophy will provide a glimpse into what the 2024 European Championships could look like in January as the top four teams from last year’s event will compete in Osaka. 

Italy’s Charlene Guignard & Marco Fabbri set new season’s best scores at Grand Prix de France and are the clear favorites for gold in Japan. A medal of any color will qualify the team for their fourth Grand Prix Final.

Like Guignard & Fabbri, Lilah Fear & Lewis Gibson of Great Britain set season’s best scores at their prior event, Skate Canada. A silver or gold medal will send the duo to the Grand Prix Final next month in Beijing. 

Fresh off a bronze medal at last week’s Grand Prix Espoo, Finland’s Juulia Turkkila & Matthias Versluis could repeat that result in Osaka. They could be challenged by Allison Reed & Saulius Ambrulevicius of Lithuania, who won a bronze medal at Skate America in October. 

Current expected qualifications for the Grand Prix final: After four events, Madison Chock & Evan Bates of the United States as well as Canada’s Piper Gilles & Paul Poirier, Marjorie Lajoie & Zachary Lagha and Laurence Fournier Beaudry & Nikolaj Sorensen have qualified for the Grand Prix Final. 

Event info: Teams have official practices on Thursday, November 23. The rhythm dance kicks off at 12:25pm (JST) on Friday, November 24, with the free dance occurring on Saturday, November 25 at 11:50am (JST).