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Initial Japan Open 2017 competitors have been announced on TV Tokyo website. Competitors are as follows;

Team Europe: Evgenia Medvedeva, Javier Fernandez, Alina Zagitova, Tomas Verner
Team North America (USA): Nathan Chen, Jeremy Abbott, Karen Chen, Gracie Gold

Team Japan: TBA

Guest skater: Tatsuki Machida
Figure skating fans should be thrilled to learn that 17-year-old Evgenia Medvedeva who became the first woman to retain her title at the World Figure Skating Championships since 2001, will be taking part in Japan Open 2017.

The Russian teen capped a dominant debut season on April with a world title, earning 150.10 points to break Yuna Kim’s record from the 2010 Olympics. She finished with a total of 223.86 points, following in the footsteps of Adelina Sotnikova, who won the Olympic gold medal at age 17 in 2014, and Elizaveta Tuktamysheva, who won last year’s world title at 18. Japan Open will be held on October 7.

She recently toured Japan. Not only does the Russian excel in what has become a national sport in Japan, but she also is a lover of Japanese anime TV series.

On a trip through Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka, Medvedeva was invited to compete on a Japanese TV show. She danced in an outfit inspired by the 1990s anime series “Sailor Moon,” and said she played air hockey and had to balance on one leg, according to Russian media.

Medvedeva dressed as the “Sailor Moon” title character for exhibition skates in Japan the last two years. She was born in 1999, two years after the end of the “Sailor Moon” series. Search “Medvedeva” on YouTube, and those two “Sailor Moon” performances rank Nos. 1 and 2 by view count with more than 2.5 million and 1.5 million, respectively.

Her love for the show is so great that it appears she can recite the lyrics to the opening theme, “Moonlight Densetsu,” upon request. The series aired in the U.S. on Cartoon Network’s “Toonami” afternoon block in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Medvedeva and other top skaters also follow the anime series, “Yuri!!! on Ice,” which has a figure skating theme.