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The Gymskate Guide To A Busy October

Victoria Gordon |
September 27, 2012 | 11:19 p.m. PDT

Staff Writer

Reigning US National Champion Ashley Wagner is scheduled to compete at Skate America. (Wikimedia/Creative Commons)
Reigning US National Champion Ashley Wagner is scheduled to compete at Skate America. (Wikimedia/Creative Commons)
It's almost October! Time for jack o'lanterns, Jolly Ranchers and jaegers. Wait, what? Yes, October has tons of sports events, and gymnastics and figure skating fans have many exciting events to enjoy this month. Here, I break down the fun October has to offer. 

The Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating 

The final two JGP events take place in Zagreb, Croatia (Oct. 3-7) and Chemnitz, Germany (Oct. 10-14). At these last two events, the crunch is on for the top skaters, pairs and dance teams to earn the remaining spots at the Junior Grand Prix final in Sochi, Russia (held in December). Junior Grand Prix final success is critical for future international assignments and exposure. 

Names to Watch in Croatia: Nathan Chen and Hannah Miller 

Names to Watch in Germany: Leah Keiser, Miyabi Oba and Britney Simpson/Matthew Blackmer

The Grand Prix of Figure Skating

Unlike the Junior Grand Prix, senior GP events are reserved for the top skaters worldwide, and competitors have to be invited (rather than simply entered, as in the case of the JGP). The Grand Prix kicks off on Oct. 19 with Skate America to be held in Kent, Wash. The following weekend, Windsor, Ontario hosts Skate Canada International. At both of these events, top skaters earn points towards one of six coveted spots in the Grand Prix final (held simultaneous to the Junior Grand Prix final in Sochi, Russia this December). The Grand Prix final produces one of the major titles in the figure skating world. 

Names to Watch in America: Ashley Wagner, Yuzuru Hanyu, Meryl Davis/Charlie White and Tatiana Volosozhar/Maxim Trankov

Names to Watch in Canada: Gracie Gold, Akiko Suzuki, Javier Fernandez, Patrick Chan and Tessa Virtue/Scott Moir 

Senior B Competitions 

Figure skating has many "B" competitions during the fall, which serve as another chance to expose figure skaters internationally and get skating fans incredibly excited. If the JGP Croatia doesn't do it for you, check out the Ondrej Nepela Memorial in Bratislava, Slovakia (Oct. 3-7). Both of these events run simultaneous to Finlandia Trophy, one of the most respected fall competitions (Oct. 4-7 in Espoo, Finland). Also worth checking out: The Cup of Nice held in Nice, France from Oct. 25-28. 

Names to Watch in Slovakia: Tomas Verner, Kaitlyn Weaver/Andrew Poje, Penny Coomes/Nick Buckland and Joshi Helgesson 

Names to Watch in Finland: Richard Dornbush, Mirai Nagasu, Julia Lipnitskaia, Ekaterina Bobrova/Dmitri Soloviev and Anna Cappellini/Luca Lanotte 

Names to Watch in Nice: Sadly, the entries are not yet available. Nonetheless, I assure you that I will find some skaters to follow at this event! 

US Regional Championships 

The main method by which singles skaters qualify to the US National Championships or the US Junior National Championships is by attending regionals. There are nine regions in the United States. On the Juvenile and Intermediate levels, the top four performers at each regional earn trips to the Junior championships. On the Novice, Junior and Senior levels, the top four performers at each regional earn trips to one of three sectional championships (those happen in November). The top four at each sectional then qualify for nationals. 

Regionals have been organized as follows: Northwest Pacific from Sept. 28-Oct. 2 in Eugene, Ore; Eastern Great Lakes in Ann Arbor, Mich. and North Atlantics in Hackensack, N.J. from Oct. 5-9; Upper Great Lakes in Hobart, Wis, Southwest Pacifics in Peoria, Ariz. and New Englands in Warwick, R.I. from Oct. 12-16; Soutwesterns in Littleton, Colo., South Atlantics in Wake Forest, N.C. and Central Pacifics in Murray, Utah from Oct. 19-23. 

Keep an eye on Japan's newest top man, Yuzuru Hanyu (Wikimedia/Creative Commons).
Keep an eye on Japan's newest top man, Yuzuru Hanyu (Wikimedia/Creative Commons).
Names to Watch: Far too many to list! Besides, regionals can be full of surprises, and some fields are significantly deeper than others. It's very hard to predict who'll make it through in certain regions. 

Gymnastics Gone Wild (umm…ish)

Not really actually, but the Federation Internationale de Gymnastique (FIG) holds its biennial conference from Oct. 25-27, and this year, it's going to Cancun! It's more than a big beach party, though (actually, they have a lot of ground to cover): it's time for elections (including the big race, this year: FIG President); to discuss rule changes (in advance of the release of the 2013-2016 Code of Points); and, well, yeah, there will be some beach party time, I'm sure. After all, this is a sports federation going to Cancun for three days. 

Names to Watch: Just stick to the three presidential candidates: Bruno Grandi, Vassily Titov and Adrian Stoica 

National Team Training Camp

Every month, the American Women's National team convenes in New Waverly, Texas (on a 2,000 acre ranch owned by National team coordinator Martha Karolyi) for camp. This month, camp runs Oct. 15-19. The thing about camp is it's often shrouded in some mystery, but there's still plenty of interesting stuff that comes out of Texas each month!

Names to Watch: It's nearly impossible to predict who'll be at camp each month, and with the Kellogg's Tour of Champions well underway and the need to add more girls to the Junior National team, no one will really know until right before camp starts. Nonetheless, I fully intend to clarify all camp information as it becomes available. 

All in all, it's a busy month for a gymskate like myself, but there's so much to look forward to! Even a non-skating fan can appreciate the insane level of talent at, say, Skate America, and anyone who loves a good mystery has to learn about National Team training camp. Whether you've never seen either of these sports in your life or you're a full-on expert in one or both, there's plenty to explore this month in gymnastics and figure skating. 

Reach Staff Writer Victoria Gordon here or follow her on Twitter



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