Grand Prix Final Ranking Leaves Public Shocked


Found on Twitter at @ISU_Figure

Carla Barefoot '20, News Editor

Flips, salchows, toe loops, axels, and more. These are just some of the jumps which we saw in Vancouver during the Grand Prix Final, December 6 to 8. In fact, a world record was set by a 16 year-old, which was not the only surprise. Much of the final ranks in the competition left the public stunned, as most of the favorites did not place gold.

For the women’s event, 16 year-old Japanese skater Rika Kihira exceeded everyone’s expectations. Not only was this her Grand Prix senior debut, but she won gold with a total of 233.12 points, beating the Pyeongchang Olympic silver medalist and Russian rising star, Alina Zagitova (who everyone thought was sure to win). Kihira also set a world record for the highest score for a women’s short program, since the judging system was changed (which you can read about here). While her performance was not flawless, it was just enough to award her the top spot. According to, Kihira said, “My failures from the past seasons really motivated me to do well, I promised myself that I would remember them and never repeat those mistakes again.”

In the men’s event, U.S. skater Nathan Chen stood at the top of the podium with a total score of 282.42 points, just seven points higher than silver medalist Shoma Uno (who also won silver at the Pyeongchang Olympics). While this was Chen’s second consecutive Grand Prix win, this time around is even more impressive, he is now a full time student at one of the top universities in the world: Yale. In fact, Chen has been training with his coach over Facetime, making it even more difficult to receive good feedback for his skating. Although the final did not include the showdown between Nathan Chen and Yuzuru Hanyu, the flawless 16-time world record breaker who withdrew early from the competition due to an ankle injury, it was still a beautiful competition to witness.

Possibly one of the most inspiring wins of the competition was the pairs event. Despite their disappointing short program, French pair Vanessa James and Morgan Cipres bounced back with their captivating free skate routine to claim the gold medal with a total of 219.88 points. While the couple was ecstatic that they won, they expressed a dislike with what seems like a vicious cycle for them: a bad short program followed by a great free skate. According to, James said, “The score could be amazing and the experience could be amazing. So we have to really work on the short program, but I am very proud that after such a deception yesterday that we could bring it home strong.”

In the ice dancing event, U.S. skating couple, Madison Hubbel and Zachary Donohue, won gold despite having nearly no time to practice the final routine before the competition. They shared with the public that the five exhausting weeks leading up to the final were spent altering and fixing their short and rhythm dance. Their goal: to skate without fear. According to, they said, “We knew that to reach to the highest level and reach that world championship title, we had to stop being afraid and just start going for it when it counts.”

This year’s Grand Prix Final was most definitely one enthralling competition which left the public mesmerized. It’s safe to say that the costumes weren’t the only things shining on the ice this year.