Nathan Chen and Vincent Zhou, the U.S.’ top two male singles figure skaters, are not entered in the autumn Grand Prix Series after both said they will return to university studies and may not compete again.
None of the reigning Olympic gold medalists are entered in the Grand Prix Series: Anna Shcherbakova and all of the Russians are banned indefinitely for the war in Ukraine, the Chinese pair of Sui Wenjing and Han Cong have not publicly said why they are sitting out and French ice dancers Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron previously said they are taking this season off.
None of the U.S. singles skaters from the Beijing Olympics are on the entry lists — Chen, Zhou, Jason Brown, Alysa Liu, Mariah Bell and Karen Chen — though skaters can still be added to fields.
Chen, a 23-year-old who won Olympic gold in February, plans to return to Yale late this summer and said in May that he doesn’t think he will compete next season and doesn’t know if he will ever return to competition.
Zhou, a 21-year-old who could not compete individually at the Olympics due to COVID, has said he will go back to Brown University this summer and did not know if he could balance competitive skating and classes. Zhou took bronze at March’s world championships, which Chen skipped.
Brown, a 27-year-old who was sixth at the Olympics, is on “a mini break from the competitive grind of training” and will reevaluate next steps in the fall, a representative said.
The top returning U.S. men’s skater is Ilia Malinin, the 17-year-old world junior champion.
Bell, 26 and the reigning national champion, hasn’t made any future decisions other than not competing in this year’s Grand Prix Series, a representative said.
Other U.S. Olympic skaters previously announced retirements — ice dance bronze medalists Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue and world bronze medalist Liu. The pairs’ team of Ashley Cain and Timothy LeDuc said they are stepping away from competitive skating.
The other top Americans who are entered in the Grand Prix Series include world pairs’ champions Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier, three-time world ice dance medalists Madison Chock and Evan Bates, world junior champion Isabeau Levito and 2018 U.S. Olympian Bradie Tennell.
The Grand Prix Series begins with Skate America from Oct. 21-23 in Norwood, Massachusetts.
Russia and China, which are normally stops on the six-event circuit, will not stage events this season — Russia stripped for the war in Ukraine, and China after its figure skating federation said “it was no longer feasible” to hold an event this year. In late March, Russia’s Match TV reported that the International Skating Union intended to replace the China stop for a second consecutive year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Instead, Great Britain and Finland will host, along with the U.S., Canada, France and Japan leading up to December’s Grand Prix Final, which is in Italy this season.
OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!Follow @nbcolympictalk