With with the popularity of Yuri!! on ICE!, the figure skating fandom has grown exponentially over the past year, with more people than ever interested in the sport. If you're new to watching, you've chosen well! The men's field is always the most wildly dramatic, and often heartbreaking, corner of the sport for its die-hard fans. Whether you're rooting for Team Japan (who isn't?) or Team Canada (you masochist), here's a quick, totally-biased preview of some of my favorite skaters going into the Grand Prix, and eventually the Olympic season.

Yuzuru Hanyu, JPN

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The elephant in the room when it comes to any and all skating discussions, Hanyu is a force to be reckoned with. He's the reigning Olympic and World Champion, as well as holding the current world record scores for the short program, free program, and combined total event score. He's a goof off the ice but a dead-serious skater - the moment he steps on you can see it in his eyes. Yuzu is poised, practiced, and preternaturally, shockingly powerful, given how slight he looks at first glance. But the guy can jump. His leaps from the ice attain massive height and his landings are uniquely graceful. There's rumor Hanyu is working on a quadruple Axel, the most technically difficult of all figure skating jumps with an added rotation that nobody else has quite landed yet. If there's a name of the game of pushing the envelope in skating, it's Yuzuru Hanyu - the only thing I worry about with him is that sometimes when the pressure builds up and he's not doing well, he gets inside his own head enough that the theme continues. I have to admit it would be wicked cool to see him win another Olympic gold.

Shoma Uno, JPN

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My personal favorite for the podium, and honestly if he doesn't win I'll be at least a little bit distraught. Shoma is a dangerously charming and expressive skater, and for being, like, 5'3" he gets absurd trajectory from the ice in his jumps. He's also adorable and has the most hilariously hashtag-meme off-ice personality - known to complain about being served vegetables and be half-asleep at most times, pre- and post-competition Shoma is like night and day from how he acts during his performances. The vast majority of my soft heart is dedicated to Shoma Uno.

Patrick Chan, CAN

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Ahhh, Patrick. Patrick, Patrick, Patrick. What can be said? Everybody knows who Patrick Chan is - he's so decorated. He came in second to Hanyu at Sochi as well as taking the silver medal with Canada in the team event, and he's probably foaming at the mouth for the top of the podium as he approaches what may be his last Olympic season. I'm dying to see Patrick win a gold, if only because he'd be so goddamn happy about it. He's got beautifully choreographed programs and you can always tell he's skating what he feels - and he covers a ridiculous amount of ice when it's all his, nearly running into the boards half the time. I'd call him the most graceful of the top 6 men - his moves in the field are elegant and impeccable, basically always. And he really loves skating, down to his bones. Patrick's weakness will be stepping up his game with his technical elements and not relying on his age-old prowess.

Javier Fernandez, ESP

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A lot of press surrounding Javier Fernandez tends to focus on his relationships with two other skaters: Yuzuru Hanyu, who he trains with in Toronto under Brian Orser, and Miki Ando, a revered ladies singles skater with whom he has been in a long-term, currently on-again (yay!) romantic relationship with. Both are uber-cute situations, but I think Javier tends to be unfairly overshadowed by Hanyu when really he's as big a contender for any medal as his rinkmate. He is also a two-time World Champ, and hovers just behind Yuzu in all three points records, threatening to break them at any moment. His music is usually great (with a few notable missteps) and he always has visible fun on the ice - tons of personality. Plus he looks really, really hot the vast majority of the time. He's irresistible.

Boyang Jin, CHN

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I'm sorry, if you weren't watching #boyangman over and over last season, where were you!? Boyang's Lori Nichol (of course)-choreographed and Michael Buble-soundtracked Spiderman program got a lot of attention, but he's an incredibly talented and fit skater with a jump repertoire which is frankly terrifying. He could be the first man to land a quad axel if it doesn't end up being Hanyu, and besides that, Spiderman seemed to really show us the personality he'd been hiding away - it seemed to really let him play with the ice, the audience, and it was incredibly exciting to watch. We know now that Boyang can, in fact, dance, and he might dance himself to a gold medal.

Denis Ten, KAZ

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God I love Denis Ten. His skating has brought tears to my eyes over and over again, surprised me over and over again, taken my breath away over and over again. He didn't do so well at Sochi - D10's biggest weakness is his consistency, but he's also breaking boundaries for skating in Kazakhstan, where skating infrastructure has been lacking. He's brought attention and pride to the sport and to his country - and he has the best costumes I've ever seen in my life. If Denis skates clean and hits all his tech, he's a surefire medalist. I'll be holding my breath every time he skates in 2018, crossing my fingers.

Sergei Voronov, RUS

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Any list of figure skating personalities would be remiss without a couple Russians on it, and luckily the field is ripe with men who're both veterans to the sport and skating their first senior season. Voronov (who romanizes his own name with a y - Sergey) isn't as decorated as some of the younger men on the list of Olympic hopefuls, but he's a force to be reckoned with and a fiercely dedicated competitor. He's also incredibly likable to watch, very graceful, a very skilled skater. he's also the #kween of velvet jumpsuits in pretty jewel tones, though in recent years he's favored outfits that are all black and kind of slutty. God bless.

Vincent Zhou, USA

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Vincent is a crazy promising skater. He was really closely watched as a junior and entering his first senior season on an international level is really exciting - he's grown up in the era of skating where everything has changed, so he's ready for the landscape. #spins. #landings. #effortless. He's pretty tall too, and you always gotta look out for the tall ones - remember Lysacek? Vincent could absolutely come outta nowhere and kill this thing, and he's got two Grand Prix assignments in which to prove it.

Nathan Chen, USA

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Can we talk about Nathan Chen? We have to talk about Nathan Chen. This kid is a stormbringer who does up his skates with hockey laces to get them to stick tighter so he can more confidently land his quads. At first, like Boyang Jin, it kinda seemed like Nathan might be someone who preferred to load his programs with impossible-looking tricks rather than the entire package, but now that this current season has started I've gotta say, I'm feeling better about him. He's got a couple really great programs he's ironing the kinks out of, and as the reigning United States champion, he could really compete with any contender on this list.

Junhwan Cha, KOR

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"What an absolutely iconic moment," said me, every single time I've ever seen Junhwan skate. Also an Orser kid, he has the same ultragraceful flow as Hanyu, with his own unmistakable style of expression. I'm a big fan of Team SK, and would love to see someone on home ice take the gold. Junhwan could hit the right marks. Recommended skates include his Peanut Butter Jelly exhibition. Note: Junhwan is also crazy tall.

Watch these guys too!

If only for your own pure enjoyment.

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Junehyoung Lee, South Korea
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Mikhail Kolyada, Russia
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Deniss Vasiljevs, Latvia
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Keiji Tanaka & Daisuke Murakami, Japan
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Adam Rippon, USA
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Jason Brown, USA & Misha Ge, Uzbekistan

So, like... who'd I miss?

This functions as both an Olympic season preview and a men's skating overview, lmao, sorry. Stay tuned for the ladies singles, pairs, and ice dance previews I'll inevitably waste my time writing, and in the meantime, be sure to follow my skating collection here on Weheartit for fun stuff about the sport!

Happy Road to Pyeongchang! xoxo