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

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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.

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“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 On Twitter @JaydaEvans.

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