Event Previews

Skate America 2021 Preview: Pairs

What to Watch

National Rivalries

At the sharp end of the field, Boikova/Kozlovskii and Tarasova/Morozov are not only facing off for the win here, but for domestic favor back home. Both in the top three Russian pairs and likely secure in an Olympic spot, both teams will want to set themselves up as gold medal threats in the eyes of international judges and the eyes of their countrymen. Tarasova/Morozov already have a win from Cranberry Cup and a silver medal from Finlandia Trophy this season, while Boikova/Kozlovskii haven’t competed since their bronze medal outing at Worlds.

More towards the middle of the pack, Knierim/Frazier and Calalang/Johnson both have plenty to prove in front of a home crowd. Knierim/Frazier need to demonstrate that they can keep up with the top international teams, while Calalang/Johnson need to make their case as the American number two team. They finished behind Cain-Gribble/LeDuc at Finlandia Trophy by just over a point, so are very much in the hunt for the US’s second Olympic spot.

Also battling for national ranking, Canadians Walsh/Michaud have seen their Olympic hopes diminished by the appearance of James/Radford this year and will be looking to have a strong season opener here to put themselves back in the mix.

New Faces

On a meteoric rise following their top 10 finish at Worlds and winning Autumn Classic earlier this year, Miura/Kihara will be making their first Grand Prix appearance outside of the host pick for NHK Trophy 2019. They have the third highest ISU personal best score of any team at this event, so could make a huge statement for Japanese pairs by snagging a medal here.

Also likely to attract lots of attention, for a less pleasant reason, Chelsea Liu and Danny O’Shea will be making their Grand Prix debut as a team, just two weeks after USA Today reported allegations of horrendous abuse against O’Shea’s previous partner Tarah Kayne by their former coach Dalilah Sappenfield. Kayne and O’Shea left their coaching situation as a result of the abuse and he and Liu now train with a different coaching team in Southern California.

The Field

TEAM/COUNTRYBEST SCORESNOTABLE RESULTS
Aleksandra BOIKOVA / Dmitrii KOZLOVSKII
Russia
SP: 82.34
FS: 152.24
Total: 234.58
3rd 2021 Worlds
2020 European Champions
2020 National Champions
Evgenia TARASOVA / Vladimir MOROZOV
Russia
SP: 81.21
FS: 147.29
Total: 228.47
2x European Champions
3x World medalists
3x National Champions
Riku MIURA / Ryuichi KIHARA
Japan
SP: 72.32
FS: 131.74
Total: 204.06
10th 2021 Worlds
1st 2021 Autumn Classic
Alexa KNIERIM / Brandon FRAZIER
USA
SP: 65.68
FS: 133.63
Total: 199.31
7th 2021 Worlds
2021 National Champions
Jessica CALALANG / Brian JOHNSON
USA
SP: 68.20
FS: 128.39
Total: 196.15
4th 2020 4CC
2nd 2020 & 2021 Nationals
Alina PEPELEVA / Roman PLESHKOV
Russia
SP: 67.06
FS: 121.73
Total: 188.79
5th 2019 Junior GPF
Evelyn WALSH / Trennt MICHAUD
Canada
SP: 62.97
FS: 116.83
Total: 177.58
12th 2021 Worlds
2nd 2019 & 2020 Nationals
Chelsea LIU / Danny O’SHEA*
USA
SP: 56.31
FS: 108.89
Total: 165.20
First season as a team
O’Shea 2018 4CC Champion
* Scores from 2021 Cranberry Cup; not official ISU personal best scores

How to Watch

Find your local broadcaster here.

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