Japan Showcases Brilliance and Depth
With Russian skaters out of the picture and many Chinese skaters out due to unfortunate injuries and COVID restrictions, Japanese skaters stood out across the entire season, with Uno Shoma finally clinching Grand Prix Finale gold now that figure skating legend Hanyu Yuzuru has retired. Current World Champion Sakamoto Kaori took gold at Skate America, only for her compatriot Mihara Mai to beat her to the top stop in the Grand Prix Final alongside pairs skaters Miura and Kihara.
The perfect display of how strong the Japanese roster, especially across the Men's and Women's disciplines could be seen during the NHK Trophy, where multiple medallists from across the rest of the season battled it out for the top spots.
Japan finish the season with three out of four gold medals at the Grand Prix Finale.
Adam Shao Him Fa Dazzles
The French figure skater has showed plenty of promise since his debut on the senior circuit in 2017, but this year's routines have elevated him to another level. He has stolen hearts with his Short Program and Free Skate (both choregraphed by Benoit Richaud), which saw him become the first Frenchman to take home the gold medal at the Grand Prix de France in 16 years.
Chock & Bates Play A Game Of Fine Margins
With Madison Hubble and Zachary Donohue's retirement after the last Olympics cycle, Chock and Bates have been reigning as the USA's best ice dancers. Whilst they went home with gold at Skate America, Canadian pair Beaudry and Sørensen beat them out for the top prize at the NHK Trophy, and they lost out in the Grand Prix Final to another fantastic Canadian pair, Gilles and Poirier. With Four Continents and the World Championships coming up, it looks like we can look forward to more tight battles between the best America and Canada have to offer.
Under-The-Radar Skaters Offer Plenty To Get Excited About
Whilst star names have - as expected - dominated the conversation, other lesser known skaters have provided much delight to viewers around the world. Lee Haein (KR), Miura Kao (JP) and Ji Seoyeon (KR) are but a few of the younger, less starry names have that put on a promising showing across the season. Stars will be stars, but the kids are alright too.
Fan Favourites Cha Junhwan, and Wang and Liu Make An Appearance
Whilst neither Korean skater Cha Junhwan and Chinese ice dance pair Wang and Liu made it to the Grand Prix Finals, both luckily managed to make it to the Grand Prix circuit this year. Despite some unlucky errors in his skates, Cha continues to show off his elegance and talent as a skater and performer. Wang and Liu attracted plenty of fans at the most recent Olympics, and the delight they elicited simply by showing up at both the NHK Trophy and the Grand Prix Espoo made up for errors in their routines.