Olympic silver medalist Evgeni Plushenko plans to compete in the next Grand Prix season, according to the list of competitors released over the weekend by the International Skating Union.
The 27-year-old Russian is scheduled to skate at the Cup of Russia event in Moscow Nov. 19 through 21. He did not compete at the world championships in Italy last March and does not have a high world ranking.
Just two 2010 Olympic champions will return for the Grand Prix series, which has six qualifying events that lead to a final in Beijing in December: Kim Yu-Na of South Korea, who trains in Toronto under Brian Orser, and ice dancing champions Tessa Virtue of London, Ont., and Scott Moir of nearby Ilderton.
Grand Prix newcomers Alexandra Paul and Mitchell Islam, the 2010 junior champions in Canada from Barrie, Ont., get an early break in their careers with spots at Skate Canada and Russia.
Virtue and Moir are the ice dancing headliners for Skate Canada in Kingston Oct. 29 through 31, and they will also compete at the Trophée Eric Bompard in France, the final of the six Grand Prix events that begins Nov. 26
Kim will not compete in North America this season, with her Grand Prix events slated for China and Russia. Her archrival, Mao Asada of Japan, will be back, but plans to compete at the first Grand Prix event in Japan in October and in France.
Olympic bronze medalist Joannie Rochette of Île-Dupas, Que., will sit out the Grand Prix season. But 2007 world champion Miki Ando is returning, as is Caroline Kostner of Italy and die-hard veteran Fumie Suguri of Japan.
The United States has not yet assigned its most highly ranked female, Mirai Nagasu, to Skate America, although there is an opening.
Former Canadian champion Cynthia Phaneuf of Contrecoeur, Que., who finished fifth at the world championships in Italy, will compete at Skate Canada and in France.
World silver medalist Patrick Chan of Toronto will compete at Skate Canada alongside Kevin Reynolds of Coquitlam, B.C., and also at Cup of Russia, where he will meet Plushenko as well as Tomas Verner of Czech Republic, Samuel Contesti of Italy, Alban Preaubert of France and U.S. champion Jeremy Abbott.
Former world champion Brian Joubert, encouraged by his world championships results, will be back in China and France.
Olympic men's champion Evan Lysacek is not listed to compete at any Grand Prix events, but there is an open spot for a U.S. male competitor - yet unnamed - at Skate America.
The pairs field is painfully thin this season, although world champions Pang Qing and Tong Jian of China are back for Grand Prix events in Japan and China, and 2006 Olympic silver medalists Zhang Dan and Zhang Hao, who have never won a world title, have returned, too.
Two-time world champions Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy of Germany, who had a disappointing Olympic season, are back, too, at Skate America in Portland, Ore., and in France.
And Skate America will also get another treat: Sui Wenjing and Han Cong, the promising world junior champions from China, will make their only Grand Prix stop in Oregon.