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The Grand Prix series is headed to Japan for the NHK Trophy, but not before an interesting week of figure skating culminating in Beijing at the Cup of China.

First things first, Patrick Chan withdrew from NHK Trophy to concentrate on training for nationals. Although I am disappointed at not seeing Patrick skate in Japan, I fully support his choice to do as he sees fit in these final weeks before heading to Korea in early 2018. Wishing you well Patrick!

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The second is ice dancers Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron breaking the 200-point barrier in total points in ice dance, a new world record, on their way to collecting the Cup of China title. At Skate Canada, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir had established a new world record only to have it broken by the French a week later. In my mind, this is setting up to be an exciting showdown in PyeongChang, with both teams presenting their best material. My money has always and will always be on the Canadians but that doesn’t stop me from admiring the growth over time of the outstanding French team.

In Japan, my attention is focused on the efforts of a couple of skaters; Yuzuru Hanyu for one. You will be interested to hear from World champion and 2006 Olympic bronze medallist Jeffrey Buttle as he talks about the re-org of Hanyu’s short program from two years ago for this season. As much as the skating is important, so is the material, and in my mind Yuzuru Hanyu has gone back to programs that are masterpieces. That Jeffrey Buttle video was recorded about three weeks ago and will be released later this week.

Don’t forget our weekly Facebook Live on Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. in my ‘virtual living room’ on my Pj Kwong (author) Facebook page. The podcast comes out tomorrow and features choreography wizard David Wilson in a casual but very informative conversation with attention paid to Patrick and this season!

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