Press Release

Eight U.S. skaters qualify for Grand Prix Final

Numerous Americans to take the ice in Tokyo

Johnny Weir is one of three American men to nab a spot in the Grand Prix Final.
Johnny Weir is one of three American men to nab a spot in the Grand Prix Final. (Getty Images)

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(12/02/2009) - Colorado Springs, Colo. -- Eight U.S. skaters have earned coveted spots at the 2009 International Skating Union (ISU) Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final to be held Dec. 3-6 in Tokyo, Japan. Ashley Wagner will represent the United States in ladies, Evan Lysacek, Jeremy Abbott and Johnny Weir will compete in the men's event, and the ice dancing team of Meryl Davis and Charlie White will also make the trip to Tokyo. Ice dancers Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto earned a berth to the competition but were forced to withdraw because of illness.

Skaters qualified for the Grand Prix Final based on point totals earned throughout the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series. The United States won 16 medals at the six qualifying events: six golds, five silvers and five bronzes. The United States' five entries in the Grand Prix Final are the most of any country.

Icenetwork.com will provide live and on-demand coverage of the event for "Season Pass" subscribers within the contiguous United States. U.S. Figure Skating, via a joint partnership with MLB Advanced Media, has secured the exclusive U.S. broadband rights for the 2009 ISU Grand Prix Series. Visit icenetwork.com for the complete broadcast schedule.

LADIES
Wagner won silver at the Rostelecom Cup and bronze at the NHK Trophy. She is the reigning World Junior bronze medalist and the 2008 U.S. bronze medalist. Wagner will be making her Grand Prix Final debut.

MEN
Lysacek won silver at the Cup of China and then brought home a long-awaited Skate America gold medal. He won bronze at the 2007 Grand Prix Final and was an alternate for last season's event. This is the fifth time Weir, a three-time U.S. champion (2004-06), has earned a berth to the Grand Prix Final. He collected bronze at last season's event in Goyang City, Republic of Korea. Abbott, who garnered gold at Skate Canada and placed fifth at the NHK Trophy, will join Lysacek and Weir in Japan. Abbott was last season's champion of this event. He is the reigning U.S. champion and was the bronze medalist at the 2007 Four Continents Figure Skating Championships.

ICE DANCING
Reigning U.S. and Four Continents champions Davis and White are the second-seeded ice dancing team and the top-ranked American ice dancers at the Grand Prix Final. This season they won gold at both of their Grand Prix assignments, the Rostelecom Cup and NHK Trophy. This will be the second Grand Prix Final appearance for the duo. They won the bronze medal last season in Goyang City.

Four U.S. skaters will serve as alternates. They are Rachael Flatt (first alternate) and Alissa Czisny (second alternate) in ladies, and Keauna McLaughlin and Rockne Brubaker (third alternate) in pairs.

JUNIOR GRAND PRIX FINAL
The United States will be represented by 13 skaters at the 2009 ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final, which will also take place Dec. 3-6 in Tokyo. Kiri Baga, Angela Maxwell, Christina Gao and Ellie Kawamura will vie for the ladies' title; Ross Miner, Richard Dornbush and Grant Hochstein will compete in the men's category; and pairs team Britney Simpson and Nathan Miller, and ice dancing teams Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani, and Isabella Cannuscio and Ian Lorello, will also compete in the Junior Grand Prix Final.

LADIES
Baga won gold at both of her JGP assignments, in Germany and Turkey, during her debut season in the series. Maxwell won silver at JGP Hungary and JGP Germany en route to the JGP Final, where she placed fifth in 2008. Gao, the reigning U.S. junior bronze medalist, won bronze at her JGP assignments in Poland and Turkey. Kawamura, the reigning U.S. junior silver medalist, took fourth at JGP Hungary and won bronze at JGP Croatia

MEN
Miner topped the podium at JGP Lake Placid and then won silver at JGP Croatia. Dornbush won gold at JGP Hungary and placed fifth in Germany to qualify for the Final, where he won bronze last season. Reigning U.S. junior pewter medalist Hochstein won silver at JGP Hungary and placed fourth at JGP Germany.

PAIRS
Simpson and Miller placed fourth in Lake Placid and won bronze in Germany en route to the Final. The pair won the junior pewter medal at the 2009 AT&T U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Cleveland, Ohio.

ICE DANCING
The Shibutani siblings topped the medal platform at both of their JGP assignments, in Lake Placid and Croatia. The reigning U.S. junior and World Junior silver medalists placed fourth at the JGP Final last season. Cannuscio and Lorello won bronze medals at JGP Poland and JGP Turkey. The team placed fifth in the junior category at the 2009 AT&T U.S. Championships.