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Originally published Friday, October 12, 2012 at 8:03 PM

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Skate America comes to ShoWare Center in Kent

Many of world's top skaters will compete in the first stop of the six-city International Skating Union Grand Prix series.

Seattle Times staff reporter

2012 Skate America

Skate America is the first of six stops on the International Skating Union Grand Prix series. Subsequent events will be in Canada, China, Russia, France and Japan. Skaters can compete in two of the six events. The six highest scorers in each category qualify for Grand Prix final, Dec. 6-9, in Sochi, Russia.

Friday: Session 1, 7 p.m., pairs short program, men's short program.

Saturday: Session 2, 12:30 p.m., ladies' short program, ice dancing short program; Session 3, 7 p.m., men's freestyle program, pairs freestyle program.

Sunday: Session 4, 11:45 a.m., ladies' freestyle program, ice dancing freestyle program; Session 5, 6 p.m., exhibition, featuring top five skaters in each discipline.

Where: ShoWare Center, Kent.

Tickets: Priced from $15 to $40 for single-session passes, $75 to $350 for all-session packages.

Competitors: Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan, who was third in the 2012 World Championships, highlights the men's singles field. The ladies' competition features Russian Alena Leonova, second in the World Championships, and American Ashley Wagner, who was fourth. The pairs competition features Qing Pang and Jian Tong of China, silver medalists at the 2010 Olympics. American ice dancers Meryl Davis and Charlie White, the 2011 world champions, have won the past four U.S. championships.

More information: www.2012skateamerica.com.

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Best of luck Meryl and Charlie! Can't wait your performances! Vlad, fskating.com MORE

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For the third time, Washington will host Skate America, the first of six stops on the International Skating Union Grand Prix series.

The event is scheduled for Oct. 19-21 at ShoWare Center in Kent. The competition was held in Everett in 2008, setting an attendance record with 30,000 fans in three days. Spokane hosted in 2002, drawing nearly 29,000 spectators.

Competitors in men's and ladies' singles, pairs skating and ice dancing are trying to qualify for the Grand Prix Finals, Dec. 6-9, in Sochi, Russia, site of the 2014 Winter Olympics. The top six skaters or teams in each of the four categories will compete in the Finals.

The American ice dancing team of Meryl Davis and Charlie White, world champions in 2011, are busy preparing in Michigan.

"This is always an interesting part of the year, going through the creative process," White said. "Sometimes when you're in the middle of it, you don't really know what's going to come out the other end. It's always really nice when you get to this part of the year and you love both of your programs. Right now, we are in the midst of training really hard and trying to get ourselves in shape so we can show up and have a top-notch performance at Skate America."

"It's going to be a good early test," said White, who has teamed with Davis to win the past three Grand Prix Finals, the past four U.S. titles and a silver medal at the 2010 Olympics. They are expected to compete together at the 2014 Games. "It's a good way to show ourselves early in the year and set the standard for everyone because it's the first major competition."

While training for the tour, White and Davis are slowing working on degrees from the University of Michigan. They're taking the same course this year, Egyptology.

"We're milking that college experience," Davis joked. "Not just socially on campus, but also the academic side. Charlie and I are academically oriented people, by nature. Being able to attend one or two classes a semester is a joy because we are able to dive into the subject matter."

For now, competition is taking center stage.

Jayda Evans: 206-464-2067 or jevans@seattletimes.com. On Twitter @JaydaEvans.

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