The Grand Prix de France 2022 the third event in the 2022 Grand Prix Series, will be held Nov. 4-6 in the ancient city of Angers.
Because of the absence of Russians and on-break or retiring Olympic stars, this figure skating season is the most unpredictable in recent memory. The most visible example to far is this week’s Grand Prix de France, the third of six regular season rounds to qualify for the Grand Prix Final in December.
Belgian global silver medalist Loena Hendrickx headlines the tournament on Friday and Saturday live on Peacock. Hendrickx is the field’s lone Olympic or world medallist, opening up the potential for career-defining results across all four disciplines.
Hendrickx finished fifth at the World Championships in 2021 and fourth at the European Championships in 2022 to establish herself as the best European lady outside the Russians. When the Russians were barred from competing in the world championships last year owing to the conflict in Ukraine, Hendrickx won silver by improving her score from ninth place at the Olympics to 10.91 points.
Grand Prix de France 2022 Schedule:
Following a five-year stint in Grenoble, the Grand Prix de France will be hosted in Angers. The tournament will be held on Friday and Saturday, with the afternoon session lasting until late at night.
- Friday, Nov. 4: Women’s short (8 a.m. ET), ice dance rhythm dance (10 a.m. ET), men’s short (11:45 a.m. ET), pairs short (1:45 p.m. ET)
- Saturday, Nov. 5: Women’s free (8 a.m. ET), ice dance free dance (10:10 a.m. ET), men’s free (12 p.m. ET), pairs free (2:10 p.m. ET)
- Sunday, Nov. 6: Gala (8:30 a.m. ET)
How to watch Live the 2022 Grand Prix de France:
The ISU broadcasts the Grand Prix de France 2022 on its YouTube channel, albeit several areas are geoblocked.
Live Broadcast: Grand Prix de France (It’s free)
The entire list of ISU broadcast partners displaying the action on their TV and streaming platforms for the Grand Prix de France 2022 events can be found here.
Grand Prix de France 2022 Preview and Top Stars to watch:
This week, Hendrickx has a chance to become the first woman to win a full-fledged Grand Prix de France outside of Russia, Japan, the United States, and Canada since Finland’s Kiira Korpi in 2012 as the first Belgian to win a Grand Prix in any discipline. Hendrickx, who turns 23 on Saturday, has a chance to become the oldest woman to win a Grand Prix since American Ashley Wagner at Skate America in 2016.
With 217.61 and 197.59 points, Japan’s Kaori Sakamoto and Rinka Watanabe won the first two Grand Prix events. Hendrickx will attempt to challenge those totals while keeping South Korean Kim Ye-Lim at bay, who won B-level events in September and October with a top score of 213.97.
Other notables competing in Grand Prix de France include Kazuki Tomono, a veteran Japanese men’s singles skater who finished sixth in the World Championships. Tomono has three Grand Prix podium finishes, but no wins.
Canadians Deanna Stellato-Dudek and Maxime Deschamps, who finished second at Skate America two weeks ago, might be the story. Stellato-Dudek, 39, won her first senior Grand Prix medal 22 years after making her Grand Prix debut in singles. Stellato-Dudek, who resigned from singles skating at the age of 17 because of hip issues, returned in pairs at the age of 32 in 2016.
Charlène Guignard and Marco Fabbri of Italy can win their first Grand Prix ice dance title after finishing second or third in their last seven Grand Prix appearances, including the 2018 Grand Prix Final.
Figure skating travels across the Atlantic Ocean from Skate Canada to the Grand Prix de France 2022, which takes place on Friday and Saturday in the western French city of Angers (4 & 5 November).
So far this 2022/23 season, twelve skaters or teams have won their first Grand Prix medals, in what was expected to be a year of surprises. So far, it has been just that – a theme that is likely to continue in Angers, where fields in all four disciplines appear to be open.
In France, Aymoz and Hendrickx are the most well-known players.
While the world of skating is in turmoil following Beijing 2022, reigning world silver medalist Loena Hendrickx begins her Grand Prix campaign as one of the favorites in the women’s field.
Hendrickx became the first woman to earn a Grand Prix gold for Belgium a year ago at the Italian Grand Prix.
Kevin Aymoz will be the home favorite (together with Adam Siao Him Fa) on the weekend, having overcome a slew of obstacles [see video above] on his journey to the Olympics, including many injuries.
Aymoz, 25, won the bronze medal in the 2019 Grand Prix Final after finishing 12th and 11th at the Olympics and World Championships, respectively, last year.
Tomono Kazuki, 24, of Japan, is returning for his ninth senior season on the international arena, having previously shown flashes of grandeur, including a sixth-place performance at Worlds this year. Tomono has already won three Grand Prix medals.
Mae Berenice-Miete of France, a two-time Olympian in 2014 and 2018, will compete. After suffering an ankle injury at Worlds in 2021, she took the painful choice last year to withdraw from contention for Beijing.
Yamamoto and Kawabe want to see more Japanese success.
Japan seeks to maintain its momentum going in singles after excellent performances from Sakamoto Kaori, Watanabe Rinka, Miura Kao, and Uno Shoma to open the year, including the aforementioned Tomono.
Yamamoto Sota, aged 22, is a past Junior World bronze medalist (in 2015), but he remains a talent to watch, while teens Kawabe Mana and Matsuike Rino want to duplicate Watanabe’s breakout success at Skate Canada.
Kawabe finished second at the NHK Trophy last year before winning bronze at the Japanese Championships and qualifying for her first Olympic Games. She came in 23rd place.
Sumiyoshi Rion, 15, is making her senior Grand Prix debut.
South Koreans Kim Yelim (9th in Beijing) and Lee Haein (7th at Worlds) will also be contenders in the women’s singles.
Guignard/Fabbri are attempting to advance.
What about ice dancing in pairs? The pairs field appears wide open, with Skate America medalists Deanna Stellato-Dudek and Maxime Deschamps targeting a spot in the Grand Prix Final if they finish first and second, respectively.
Rebecca Ghilardi and Filippo Ambrosini of Italy finished 14th in last year’s Olympics and won the US International Classic Challenger Series event last month.
Keep an eye on Lombardia Trophy winners Annika Hocke and Robert Kunkel; Karina Safina and Luka Berulava, who finished fourth at Worlds in 2022; and Camille and Pavel Kovalev, the husband-wife pair who finished eighth at Worlds.
All eyes will be on Italy’s Charlene Guignard and Marco Fabbri in ice dance, the Italian duo with their sights set on their home Games in Milano Cortina 2026. The three-time Olympians finished fifth in Beijing before rising to fourth in Montpellier last season.
They have seven Grand Prix medals but have yet to win a gold medal. Canada’s Laurence Fournier-Beaudry and Nikolaj Sorensen could stand in their way, but the Italians are the favorites in this one.